It is no joke when we say that What The Festival at Wolf Run Ranch in Dufur, Oregon, is our new favorite festival of all time. We knew it was super special after attending in 2015, but this last weekend of music, community, art and love has topped our festival chalices to over-flowing levels.
We entered Wolf Run Ranch with no hassle, rented a cart (shout out for the cart rentals–seriously, every festival needs this option) and scored an ample and beautiful camping area for our crew of 20+ that would be arriving throughout the weekend. After the sweet sun set behind beautiful Mt. Hood, Nico Luminous graced us with his heavenly production in the beautiful Fir trees at the Equinox Stage followed by an amazing set from the Break Science guys. This is when the magic truly sank in.
The amount of detailed effort, meticiulous beauty and dedication that went into each square inch of the Illuminated Forest was truly showcased with each work of art we passed by throughout the weekend. From the dozens of creative signs reminding goers to “Leave No Trace,” to the awe-inspiring “Cloud” installation to the craftily placed Hybycozo installations, a randomly placed “Free Advice” stand, to a larger-than-life sized glowing unicorn horn, it’s difficult to express the entirety of beauty WTFest held in it’s illuminated depths. Meaning there was A LOT to engage in, even with staying up all four nights for the sunrise.
YES, there was rain Thursday and Friday. Quit yer bitchin’, pansies. If you decide to go to a camping festival in the Pacific Northwest, RAIN might be a thing…kind of like living in Portland: it comes with the territory. Just be thankful there wasn’t a complete swamp fest filled with thunderstorms, hail and mud. With that being said, the Splash Pool was where it was at all three days from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. if you weren’t checking out some of the AWESOME easy speak workshops or movement classes offered on all topics by super passionate teachers. With Oregon coast sand beneath our dancing feet, beautiful body paint on our glowing skins from by far my favorite vendor at the fest, Treesphinx, and an unlimited amount of talented musicians and producers on the splash decks all weekend, I have got to say that those three days spent by the pool are my favorite EVER in my entire twenty-five, water-filled years.
‘Groove Qube or Dragon Stage?’ was a question I found myself asking myself and others all weekend long. Both stages absolutely nailed their production, sound quality and ‘WOW’ factor. The Dragon Stage literally blew fire, warming our bodies in movement with the rhythm while the Groove Qube took us to a bass throbbing rainbow club in the middle of a beautiful forest. Not in my entire festival career have I been more impressed with stages (did we mention the sultry view of Mount Hood the WTF Stage packed?).
Since I was blown away by almost every set, here are the main musical highlights that really moved me and made my WTFest experience. Friday’s top sets were Jai Wolf, Kasbo, Mr. Carmack’s extended two hour long set (Sorry not sorry you couldn’t make it DJEMBA, DJEMBA!), Gibbz (OMG, new lover? I think YES), FKJ and Soohan. Saturday’s highlights were jackLNDN, Louis the Child, Hippie Sabotage (before indulging in serious bad festival behavior, captured on a video which you can see here), Pacific Patterns (Christopher Petersen – have my babies, please?!), Hermitude, Lido, Alix Perez, Phutureprimitive, Releece, Tom Kha Soup and the High Step Society. Sunday’s favorites included JP Rigaud, Jerry Folk, Champagne Drip, Dimond Saints and our latest musical crushes, Josh Pan and X&G closing out the Groove Qube, with shots of Jameson to boot, courtesy of pan himself. Keep in mind, these are just the sets that really stood out — ALL of the musical acts What The Fest booked were off the charts and now I have 100’s of new producers and bands on my radar, so infinite thanks, homies.
Other huge positives included ample watering holes, designated smoking areas to keep the coveted forest safe, plenty of delicious hot food options 24/7, and unlimited access to the forest and grounds, providing epic wandering adventures as well. To top it off, the Heartbeat silent disco + disco ball never failed to move my tired ass feet, the Shinto A Go-Go Tea Lounge provided the perfect relaxation station with ambient tunes and tea ceremonies, and the Dr Bronner’s spa lounges and most importantly, the constant “Consent is Sexy” reminders posted throughout the festival. Seriously – WTFest thought of EVERYTHING this year and I will never let myself miss a WTFest in the future. We hope you had just as radical of an experience and if you missed out, DO NOT DO THE SAME IN 2017, as What The Festival is a fest that will surely not retire anytime soon.
All photos by Hami Suh for Compose Yourself Mag.
Huge shout out to all the volunteers, vendors, artists, production team, media, Tiffany, Peter and every single person that had any hand in curating year six of this unbeatable fest. We are sure thankful to have been apart of the epicness again.