By: Anand Harsh
This weekend, the inaugural Foreverland festival sets sail on Lake Ladoga in northern California (about a two-hour drive from the Bay Area) September 19-21. And by set sail, I'm not playing into the event's pirate theme--I mean there's literally a floating stage.
Perhaps I should back up a bit.
The wildly popular Enchanted Forest gathering sold out, once again, this May, despite having to change locations at the last minute. These sorts of twists don't really phase the EF crew; they changed direction a week before the event, created a magical play world, and fans of the transformational scene hailed it as one of the most incredible weekends of the summer.
To balance the early summer festival, the Enchanted crew, along with Burning Man staples Fractal Planet, Sacred Spaces, and Bay Area promoters and presenters like Pulse SF and more joined forces to piggy-back on the success of its predecessor to craft a late summer corollary that blends the same far out event production with the best aspects of the Burn.
Recently, Phutureprimitive was added to the top of the bill, joining Adam Ohana's popular Dimond Saints and An-ten-nae projects. Transformational mainstays Dirtwire, The Human Experience, and Plantrae are joined by French rising glitch-hop star CloZee and Headtron's ChrisB and jOBOT. So many more incredible acts decorate the lineup, but the festival is much more than music.
A floating stage is a great way to set your festival apart. As is an on-site art gallery curated by the one-and-only Android Jones. Primitive camping, is available, and there's certainly space for your RV if you snag the proper pass, but what if I told you a world-class chef could be providing your main meals while you're basking in the shade or swimming your little butt off? You'd be pretty excited right?
Buy your tickets now: http://experienceforeverland.com/buy-tickets/
It's fun for me to hypothesize what a fantastical otherworldly spectacle the organizers of Foreverland are whipping up this week, but as a course of fact, it made far more sense for me to go directly to the lead creative force behind this new event, and let Tulku do the talking.
What made you turn around after all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into Enchanted Forest and say "We gotta do it again!"
Ha! That's funny. It almost seems a little too dramatic, but when I think about it I actually have shed all three over Enchanted Forest. The reason is actually because of Enchanted Forest. The community that has grown around that gathering has become so strong and grown so much. I love what we have created and believe that one of the major factors in making EF what it is, is the intimacy. Therefore I don't want to grow it any larger than it has gotten.
However I do want to continue to grow the community that is drawn to our event. So I decided I would create an event that was intended for a larger crowd. That incorporated a wider palate of flavors. Thus we have come to Foreverland.
What's the hardest thing about organizing a festival that most people wouldn't even dream up?
I would have to say the sheer amount of communication that one has to maintain. I often spend 12-hour days on the phone or behind my computer and will somehow still have a full inbox at the end of the day. My biggest challenge has been people not always getting a timely response from me or no response at all. I have made it my policy to not even check my FB inbox anymore. Some people don't know that, send me a message and take it personally when they don't get a response. Truth is there are so many moving pieces and sometimes I feel like I am in the middle of hundreds of concurrent conversations. Ultimately, I love people and have always been an avid communicator so while it is my greatest challenge ironically it is also my greatest joy.
People come away from Enchanted in a blissful daze. What do you think it is that makes your gatherings so special?
Easy: The community that surrounds it. I really took note of that after this last years gathering. Walking around and witnessing all of the joy and bliss that was transpiring between the programming. So many circles of people, inspired conversations, and affection abound. My approach to event production is to create a strong safe container and send out a specific energetic beacon. The community that has answered the beacon that Enchanted Forest is has blown my heart wide open and eclipsed my wildest dreams.
Aarrrrr, what's the fascination with pirates, matey?
Kind of seems like a silly question; who doesn't love the pirate vibe? I think what I love about Pirates are they represent such an incredible dualistic energy. They were the outlaws of the sea, and yet they lived by a strong, albeit self-regulated, moral code. I believe we all got a bit of pirate energy in us. I am excited to create an opportunity for people to express that safely and respectfully.
A first-year festival is a blank canvas. What do you hope to paint for the fans?
Great metaphor! The idea originally came to me when I was thinking about some of the things that make EF so special and I realized the connection to childlike wonder and faerie tales. So I started wondering what other faerie tale realms were out there and it suddenly occurred Neverland...A place full of pirates, faeries, mermaids, and kids that never want to grow up. That pretty much describes just about everyone I know from the festival community. I am hoping that people will meet us halfway on this one. We will create the faerie-tale container, but what will really make this event special is people embracing the theme and coming out in full costume and character. The larger vision I see for this event will be a cross between a festival and a theme park. I've learned though that gatherings such as this want to have their own creative input and natural evolution. Let's just say that when done right there is a particular magic to first year festivals. Something that inevitably gets lost as the event refines and grows. I think the collaborative effort that is behind this event involving EF, Pulse SF, Fractal Planet, and other established Burning Man Camps will allow us to come out of the gates without the hard growth edge most first year festies experience. However the magic of the unknown will be fully present.