Tag Archives: festival season

Sweet September Summertime Magic

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s late September already. This year has truly flown by… I suppose that happens when you’re living the dream!

This weekend James and I embark on our last festival adventure of the year, and our second flow arts retreat this year, Pacific Fire Gathering. We went for the first time last year and it was one of our favorite weekends ever. I am so ready to finish up a packed festival season with one final family reunion ~ an intimate, flow arts focused retreat of our spinnerd flowmies on the beautiful Oregon coast. We can’t wait!

We are still recovering from Enchanted Forest… Wow. My heart swells with the memories made, the hard work and little sleep, the bonds cemented and the family found. I am so ridiculously grateful that even thinking about it brings me to tears… Just… Wow. Thank you.

Flower of Life at the Dance Temple

I have truly busted my ass this year, but it doesn’t always feel like work, even when I’m going from one job to the next to the next and staying up late working. Some of it has been familiar territory, but most of it has been completely new to me. It’s been a steep learning curve and I still have so much more to learn and explore. Thankfully I have been able to work with inspiring people and branch out to social media marketing and event production while keeping my part-time web design contract with PETA, providing some stability while I expand my skill set in new areas after hours. But quite honestly, I’m ready to hibernate for the winter and catch up on my web design training and flow arts practice again! After a decade of doing design work, getting into a new field and getting involved with producing some of my favorite events has been a breath of fresh air to my life and I am so excited to keep doing ALL THE THINGS!

Enchanted Forest marked the culmination of working on three consecutive festival production cycles with three (somewhat overlapping) really amazing teams. In addition to social media and marketing support, I also helped co-coordinate the Flow Zone at EF this year, one of eight workshop areas focused on flow arts and spinning. We had a small workshop area near the main stage shaded by beautiful oak trees, and every time I walked by, the area was full of happy people learning new moves and props. I was SO proud to see so much play and joy happening in that space, well attended workshops and lots of beginners trying flow arts for the first time.

EF Flow Zone

 

There was a moment on Sunday afternoon that completely made my weekend… I was hanging out with friends dancing to Chali 2na and behind us, in the flow zone, we saw a toddler wearing nothing but a diaper and ear protection rocking out with his dad, both with shiny new flow wands they’d gotten from Aileen Lawlor’s workshop. The dad was practicing his flow to the music while the little guy held his wand in the middle, dancing around clumsily and waving it in his hand with a huge grin on his face. They rocked out together all afternoon in blissful moments of the most adorable flow magic. Just one of many magical memories…

We were posting to social media throughout the event, but since the wifi hot spots onsite were painfully slow, Jonah and I had to drive into Laytonville each day to get posts scheduled, check messages, and update our networks to rally the family to our gates. We still have quite a bit of space at Black Oak Ranch to fill, but we had a bunch of on-site ticket sales especially on Sunday. We had a huge media team, a big expansion of offerings with 8 different workshop areas, 4 stages and a variety of music programming, awesome performance artists, a sexy sauna and bathhouse, and a brand new beautiful venue to enjoy as the fruits of our months of work and organization, so there was a LOT going on and I was running all over the place working on a little of everything (and playing too – one can never be too busy for an impromptu photo shoot).

Photo by Edward Clynes
Photo by Edward Clynes

Though our fire spinning performance time was cut short, I got to fire hoop on the main stage with Liquid Stranger and James and I even got to meet him afterwards. We also got to watch Koan Sound from backstage, get our minds melted by Ott, get serenaded to sleep from the nearby Dance Temple, and we had sound in our camp with Acacia Beats and all kinds of guest DJs playing throughout the weekend. The performances were top notch, the music was amazing, but it was the people I shared the weekend with that really made this one memorable.

Camp Higher Porpoise Peeps

In between running around everywhere and working, I did get to enjoy some of the festival. It was awesome getting to hang out with friends from Lucidity, Once Upon a Festival and other festivals, flowmies from flow fests, local friends, our Enchanted Forest and Camp Mendoland families… but seeing us all coming all together and creating Camp Higher Porpoise this year was simply mind-blowing and heartwarming. James’s DJ crew Acacia Beats and a bunch of our Mendo friends joined forces with the fine folks we camp with at Raindance (which was canceled this year) to create the most amazing glampfest I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. We rented a huge tent, had power and sound, a yoga swing, carpet and squish, lights and a badass lounge area in our camp just behind the Dance Temple. So many friends from various parts of our lives collaborated on a theme camp that was so plush, we had people asking what part of the festival we were and producers and musicians coming back again and again to hang out, play music, or get buffed with the car buffer on the massage table. SO GOOD. My friends are such badasses and DAMN do we know how to have a good time. Camp Higher Porpoise / Mendoland, we fucking rock!

The Raising of the Porpoise

The weekend went pretty smoothly but of course it flew by way too fast. As we worked, played, learned, connected, and danced, my heart swelled. This is where I was meant to be. These are my people. And I actually helped make this magic happen! Like I said, WOW.

But Enchanted Forest was not the last of our summer adventures. For Labor Day weekend, James and I drove up to Boise, Idaho to hang out with my family. We stayed at the family cabin in the beautiful mountains of McCall with my grandparents, parents, aunt, and my sister, her fiancé, and their adorable dog Bisbee.

We ate well, caught up, did a little planning for my sister’s wedding next summer (!!!!!), took a boat ride around Payette Lake and rode bikes in Ponderosa State Park. It was a long overdue and really nice visit, but I’m glad we’ll be going back for Christmas because it wasn’t quite enough family time. James got to meet more of my family and he really bonded with our fur-niece, he and Bis are SUPER tight now. 😉 She was a bit terrified of the boat though…

Family Time in McCall

As we’ve been decompressing and preparing for one last hurrah this weekend, I have enjoyed being home, cooking delicious food from my garden, and playing catch up after a whirlwind production season. I am SO looking forward to this fall, when I can stay home for a while, catch up on design and flow training, clean and purge our house so we can look for a new one, hibernate with my babycakes and just RELAX for a bit. Thankfully the next trip after PacFire will be for Thanksgiving, when I finally get to meet James’s mom in Southern California.

Whew! Life sure has been amazing lately. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living it. Thank you all so much for being a part of this magical journey!

And now I leave you with some inspiring words from Prince Ea, whose videos I’ve been digging lately:

 

 

 

The Next Adventure Awaits, Once Upon a Festival

I have been far too busy finishing up with Lucidity and then jumping right into my new role with Once Upon a Festival to post an update as of late, oh festival season problems!

This past weekend I got to return to FireDrums for my third time. This year was an amazing experience at a beautiful intimate little venue. I took lots of excellent workshops and learned so much from awesome instructors. The talent in the Flowcase was jaw-dropping (OMG WES PEDEN, HOLY SHIT!) and I got to spend time with my flowmily. It was so good to be back after missing last year. But more on that later…

Once Upon a Festival Lineup
Pretty excited about the Once Upon a Festival music lineup!

In less than two weeks I’ll be at Once Upon a Festival, which was called Foreverland last year and was the event that really got me started working behind the scenes in festival production and marketing. This epic event will be a creative collaboration between several of my favorite festivals, sound camps, and production companies (like Envision, Raindance, Enchanted Forest and Lucidity) and once again we’ll be gathering at the beautiful East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, CA. Except this year the lake is FULL and we’ll have even more magic in store for you! Year two will most definitely be a level up!

I am stoked to be a marketing assistant this year, as well as the street team coordinator and the on-site media team coordinator for Once Upon a Fest. As usual, I am wearing lots of hats at once and enjoying the variety. It’s been exciting seeing this event take shape over the past couple of months. We are making some awesome improvements this year and there are a lot of talented, dedicated, and brilliant people involved in producing this event. It is certainly an honor to be a part of this team, and especially to have been a part of its fruition since the beginning. To say that I’m excited to see what adventures and shenanigans await us on our journey this year is an understatement! I hope you’ll check it out and help spread the word!

Once Upon a Festival will feature a variety of workshops covering all kinds of topics like movement, yoga, permaculture, and flow arts. A treehouse stage, pirate ship stage, and floating stage on the lake will provide 24 hour music in a variety of genres and quality sound. Branches Mobile Gallery of Lucidity fame will be setting up a display of inspiring visual art, and several art installations, performance artists and live painters will be in attendance. Lots of shaded chill spaces, a nectar healing temple for self-care, interesting vendors, and colorful characters are sure to make an appearance. Theme camps and creative costumes are highly encouraged – and I may even get to help award prizes for the most clever costumes I spot on site! Fun!

Live Your Own Fairy Tale at Once Upon a Festival

Hope you can join me at Once Upon a Fest! Message me for a discount code good for $10 off your tickets – 3-day, 2-day, and 1-day passes are currently on sale, as are meal passes, early arrival passes, and car camping passes. This festival is on the rise and definitely one to watch. Jump on board and Live Your Own Fairy Tale!

Happy Birthday to Me, Indeed!

D’awwww… I feel like I’ve been adopted into this awesome loving family of brilliant creative jedis of compassion and light and change. Hearing their gratitude totally made me cry at our Lucidity​ marketing debrief meeting last night. My team is just so wonderful! And I’m a total sap.

As the marketing team discussed what worked and what didn’t about our work and Lucidity this year, it became apparent that I have really stumbled into something special here. It has been such an honor to work with you all and I have learned so much in so many ways from this experience.

Working at Lucidity: This is my job. Amazing!
Working at Lucidity: This is my job. Amazing!

I left my first Lucidity Festival feeling very proud of my involvement and my hard work the past few months, but also just simply awestruck and inspired and blissed out by the people, the stories, and the energy that create the event and the community surrounding it. Just WOW. I left saying “yeah, this is something I can feel good about promoting/selling/blabbing all over social media and to all my friends about/dedicating my time to/staying up late working on/etc.” and so very aligned with everything Lucidity is creating.

This is big for me, as this whole marketing / promotion thing is pretty new to me and I refuse to work with organizations I can’t align with and believe in. I invest myself very heavily into my work and everything I am involved in, my inner artist and workaholic just can’t help but pour every ounce of creative energy, heart, and soul into my projects and my work – especially when the project is particularly inspiring or meaningful to me. This one must have struck an artery…

Scenes of Lucidity 2015: Kindred Quest
Scenes of Lucidity 2015: Kindred Quest

I feel like I just went to jedi superhuman badass training camp or something. You are all AMAZING humans. Thank you for trusting me, pushing me, inspiring me, collaborating and sharing and welcoming me into your family. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, for reading all my unnecessarily wordy e-mails and for adapting along with me to new processes. Thank you for spoiling me rotten the moment I arrived on site, a warm place to work, cold pressed coffee on tap, sweet Lucidiswag, and OMG the FOOD!!! Thank you for making it possible for my sweetie to join me for the weekend at Lucidity – I felt like my life was utterly complete getting to spend time with him, some of my good friends, my amazing team, and so many new friends all at once in such a beautiful place. Wait, and I got paid for this?! I must be dreaming… oh wait, we all are… co-creating a stunningly beautiful future that I have only begun to glimpse and am SO excited to help reveal…

I must give a few shout outs in gratitude… Reuben Smith – THANK YOU for contacting me about openings in the marketing department at Lucidity the end of last year and recommending me for a position. I owe you a beer, a bottle of kombucha, and/or a really huge hug! Hope to see you at Once Upon a Festival!

To James ‘Jaymo’ Barnard, who I worked very closely with the past few months – you are a rock star and I’m not sure how you do it all! You were an absolute joy to work with, always easy to talk to, kind, supportive, and brilliant. To Jonah Haas, Noah Crowe, Wolfbear, Sabrina Calderon, Matt (Rodriguez and Rideout), Victory, Meow, and WAY too many other people to finish this list… Thank you for welcoming me into the fold, showing me the ropes, and being your amazingly badass, hard working, inspiring and superhuman selves! I am so impressed and awed by everyone I encountered at Lucidity. I have found a home in the transformational festival community and especially a few small, like-minded and inspiring events that I am lucky enough to work with on a regular basis now. Lucky me!!!

To my partner James, thank you for being so supportive, flexible, and for putting up with my utter failure to cook a proper meal for weeks on end and all my late nights of work and going to bed before me. And I am SO grateful that you got to join me for the weekend at Lucidity last minute and make my week even  more complete! And to all my friends who I have not seen much of these past few months, I miss you! My campmates at Lucidity also helped make it an amazing weekend I’ll never forget… so much gratitude!

Beautiful Lucidity Memories - So Much Love!
Beautiful Lucidity Memories – So Much Love!

I’m here as long as you’ll have me, Lucidity family, and that goes for the larger transformational festival community as well. I thought going to these events for a decade plus would change my life, but WOW does being part of the team producing them do so even more…

On the horizon for work (and play) is Once Upon a Festival in June, which is the same crew as Foreverland last year, with a few new additions and a new name. I will be assisting with the marketing team and doing some street team and media team management this year; I just got up to speed and activated for my new role! And then Northern Nights in July, a local festival in the redwoods on the Mendo/Humboldt county line that I am street teaming for. And my home sweet Mendo favorite, Enchanted Forest, will be returning to Mendocino county this year and I am thrilled to have been offered a position as a Production Assistant for this year. It’s gonna be a busy summer! Hope to see you at one of these stellar events!

As I close in on my 32nd birthday, I feel like this entire year, maybe this entire life, has been one great big beautiful birthday gift. I always was a late bloomer, and I feel like I’m finally starting to create a balance amidst the chaos and variety that is all of my jobs, my projects, my relationships and connections and my dreams. I have been blessed in countless ways over the years, but damn! Life is REALLY starting to get juicy as of late and I feel like I’m hitting my stride!

We are going out dancing Saturday night and meeting friends for brunch with a view on Sunday at Little River Inn to celebrate my birthday this year. I’m looking forward to keeping it simple and having fun with my Mendo friends and celebrating life this weekend. There is certainly much to celebrate this spring!

Boy is this getting good or what?! I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend…

Reflecting on an Amazing End to Festival Season

Almost a month has passed already since Foreverland, which marked the end to our festival season this year. Since we started off early with Envision in February, it felt like a really LONG season. We only went to seven festivals, but with a couple back to back festival weekends and street teaming, volunteering, and working at over half of them, it was a very busy festy season. And a seriously amazing year in general… wow.

It has been hard to come up with the words to describe the past couple of months – they have flown by and the only way to summarize is to say that I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way), extremely busy, and of course, overflowing with inspiration and ideas to keep me very very busy through the winter and into 2015.

One thing I must say is that I am in complete and utter AWE at some of the people I have been working with and surrounded by lately. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming because of how amazing life is. The transformational festival community, and especially the flow arts community, have recently opened up even further to me, filling me with a massive dose of inspiration, creative energy, and motivation to hustle my ass off and share this magic light we are co-creating with the world.

It’s kinda blowing my mind that I don’t just go to festivals any more, I help create them. As someone who has been going to barter faires, festivals, gatherings, burns, etc. etc. for about a dozen years now, this represents a pretty massive shift for me. And makes me ridiculously excited.

I am now helping the marketing & media teams for Enchanted Forest and Foreverland, wearing many hats and assisting however I can, but mostly maintaining social media accounts, creating marketing materials, and working with some very talented people to get the word out about these beautiful events. I have learned a LOT from some of the masterminds involved in events like Envision and Lucidity, and it has been a great way to gain experience in marketing and social media management. I get to build upon my design skills and learn new ones, all while helping the production team and getting a peek at how some of my favorite festivals are created. But I don’t just see events being created here, this community is building a new paradigm, testing out new ways of life, creating an amazing variety of art, circulating ideas, and bringing many divergent communities together to create something beautiful. This experience has made it even more clear to me that the transformational festival community can and is changing the world and shaping a more healthy and whole way of being. It’s electrifying watching this all take shape, and even more amazing playing a small role in making it happen. Like I said, wow.

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We finished off festival season with our only flow festival this year, Pacific Fire Gathering, on the Oregon coast, followed by Foreverland the very next weekend. We got to have a fun little flowmily sleep over at our friends’ house in Eugene before and after PacFire, and in addition to getting to spend time with friends we haven’t seen much of lately, we met many more spinner friends. Oregon was good to us and we didn’t want to leave! We worked at the fuel depot, took tons of workshops (I got to take two from the very inspiring Mary Jane Schroeder – such a badass!), watched all kinds of mind-blowing performances (and a very silly renegade show), spun fire all night, brought mega hoop out to play on the beach, got some new toys, learned a lot, and laughed so much our faces hurt. So much silliness, spinning, and love!

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I have never felt more at home among a group of people as I have at flow arts festivals. FireDrums and PacFire are definitely both on the must do list next year. These are our people and we were so tickled to be welcomed into our Oregon spinner crew at Camp Lookout at PacFire. FLOWMILY!!!

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The above poster was in the lodge at PacFire. It was my favorite. ONE OF US! If by “us” you mean this crazy family of circus freaks, fire benders, ninjas, jugglers, spinners, dancers, performers, object manipulators, and clowns that I am lucky enough to have stumbled into – then yes, I am in the cult. Sign me up. PacFire was one of those life-affirming weekends that will be fueling my flow practice all winter and then some. Lots to work on!

We were home for a couple of days, just enough time to do laundry but not enough to catch up on sleep, before it was time to head to Foreverland. After working on the event for six weeks, I was really excited to see everything we’d been envisioning manifest. Plus we had a pretty awesome crew gathered to camp with,  friends from our various summer adventures all setting up camp together for one last hurrah of the summer.

I headed to Foreverland with our friend Kolby, and we found a spot to camp and got situated before James and a bunch more friends rolled in. We arrived just in time to catch a beautiful sunset Thursday evening over the lake, and witnessed domes going up, stages being built, and a dusty lakeside being transformed into a pirate’s playground. It was quite an impressive collaboration, and the vibe and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Burning Man, though on a much smaller first-year-event scale, and with a lake, albeit a depressingly low and muddy one due to severe drought.

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We enjoyed perfect weather at Foreverland, hot days good for chilling and floating on the lake, and mild cool nights perfect for dancing and taking in all kinds of art and magic. I worked a bit over the weekend, posting updates to our Instagram and Facebook pages, participating in media team meetings and taking photos. We got to see some great music and performances, hang out with friends, spin some fire on stage, and even go up in the Space Wench pirate ship stage at the lake’s edge. It was an epic weekend and really satisfying to see the event we worked so hard on go so smoothly.

James and his buddies played an Acacia Beats set on a floating stage on the lake Saturday during the day. Their tunes brought out plenty of people to dance on the lake’s edge or float and swim in the water. I rode a floaty out to the stage, carefully taking my camera with me to get some photos during their set.

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Foreverland is a collaborative effort put on by various production companies, Burning Man camps, and other groups such as Enchanted Forest, Fractal Planet, Hookahdome, Sacred Spaces and more. It was a mix of the spiritual new-age hippie crowd, the rowdy pirate party people, local first timers and festival regulars, folks from all over and all walks of life, who came together to celebrate art, music and life harmoniously and beautifully. By the end of the weekend, the local cops were partying with the attendees on the dance floor and holding “Give Thanks” signs for photos at the top of the pirate ship stage… mind blowing stuff and a wonderful way to break new ground for the festival community. It is an absolute honor to be involved with such an inspiring group of people at Foreverland!

We have been slowly winding down over the past month as we clean up and pack away the festival gear, get back into a regular spin jam schedule, and make the most of the autumn abundance here in Mendocino.

I started canning with a friend in Comptche recently, and have been spending afternoons and long nights out there making jam, picking grapes and apples, sharing homegrown food, trying new jelly recipes, and even making salsa and pickles. I’m keeping up with the fermented foods swap group and just started taking belly dance classes again.

James and I have had plenty to practice after PacFire, and hosting regular spin jams and fire practice sessions. James made a Facebook page for his fire and DJ performance and got fire performer insurance. He’s been practicing with his new fire staff and recently got hired for his first professional gig as an insured performer at a birthday party last weekend. I am following suit with insurance soon and we will both be performing on Halloween at a local street party event. Super excited to be leveling up our involvement in flow arts and performing, and I am so proud of my amazingly talented man for taking big steps towards making a living from spinning fire. Wow.

Lots of good things to come as the rains return and our social schedule slows down. I have been enjoying the time at home to work, save money, make delicious food, and go out and about locally. Hibernation  & work made: engaged!