This year, I had the opportunity to attend my first-ever festival in Oregon. What The Festival was more magical and amazing than I could’ve ever imagined it to be. Prior to the festival, I hadn’t known a lot of people that had gone to it before, so I arrived to Wolf Run Ranch with minimal expectations and almost no preconceived notions about what I was about to experience. My time at WTF will always hold a special place in my heart; the adventures and connections that I made during my time in Dufur cannot ever be replicated or replaced.
The drive from Eugene to Dufur was not treacherous, but everyone in the car felt like we were on the road forever, mostly due to our overwhelming excitement to reach the grounds. Because we were driving during the night in the middle of nowhere, I became weary of us actually being able to find the festival. Thankfully, the organizers set up road signs and directions for all festival attendees, starting from at least 10 miles outside the festival, all the way to the entrance.
Even though we showed up on Thursday at night, there was minimal traffic when driving into the campgrounds. As we arrived, we were immediately greeted by smiling faces of organizers, who swiftly gave us our passes and searched through our car. Along the way to our campsite, someone stopped us and reminded us of certain safety precautions as well as regulations on the campgrounds. We parked our car, and headed to an old storage container that was repurposed into an information station. We were able to put down a $5 deposit on a wagon in order to take our things to our campground, which was extremely helpful considering the amount of belongings that everyone brought along with them. At this point, we were free to pitch up our tent anywhere that seemed fit.
We all swiftly unpacked our belongings and put up our tent. We heard music playing in the distance, so we decided to go into the festival grounds to see what was happening. It took us about five minutes to walk from our campground to the festival entrance, which was a pleasant surprise. The moment I walked into the festival grounds, I genuinely started to tear up, maybe from the exhaustion of driving for four straight hours, or maybe from how beautiful the grounds were, but I like to think it was mostly because of the latter.
There was art everywhere. And when I mean everywhere, I mean that you could turn your head in any direction and you could possibly find at a giant structure with hanging strings or spot at a disco ball the size of a small room. The details of this festival were more meticulously planned out than I could wrap my head around. Everything about this festival was stunning because the grounds were nothing like I have ever seen before. After roaming the grounds for an hour or two, we decide to go to bed in order to get some rest before the next-day’s festivities.
I woke up to a sunny Friday morning, which quickly turned into gloomy and rainy in about three seconds. Luckily, the rain and glum were fleeting, and everyone, including the weather, got ready in time to hit the festival. Although the weather the first day was disheartening, the weather for the rest of the weekend was nothing short of pleasant and warm.
The stages within the festival were all very unique in their design. The most iconic stages of the weekend were the Splash stage, which consisted of a giant pool, the Groove Qube, which was an enclosure that was built of hundreds of lit up cubes that changed colors along with the music, and the Dragon Stage, which was quite literally a giant metal dragon that breathed out fire during sets. Although I enjoyed every single set that I was at over the course of the weekend, Kittens, Gramatik, Claude VonStroke, Rezz, and Mikey Lion from the Desert Hearts Crew had the most memorable and outstanding performances of the weekend.
If I could recommend any festival to someone who has never been to one before, or to a festival veteran, I would advocate that they go to What The Fest. Whether you want to go to a festival for a laidback weekend or go to party your face off, What The Fest provides a niche experience that could make any music lover happy.
Make sure you keep up with What The Festival’s social media so that you know when the next lineup drops and when tickets go on sale! You wouldn’t want to miss next year’s festivities.