What Exactly Does “Festival” Mean?

I have many friends and family members that ask me what I “do” for my business. I Explain that I make Festival Fashion. This inevitably leads to the second question “what do you mean when you say Festival?!” When trying to describe my experiences around Festivals, I find that most people have a loose idea of what I’m taking about. And then there are some that have inaccurate assumptions that I try to dispel. In this post I want to give readers a foundation of what a festival is from my perspective. The term FESTIVAL is generally used to describe the event itself: a gathering of likeminded people that strive to collectively create an environment that is an alternative reality (escape) from the default world of our everyday lives. Most people think of MUSIC festivals like Coachella, EDC and Woodstock. There are also events around ART, like Burning Man and Art Basel. You also have CELEBRATION festivals like Carnival, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year. Not to mention endless ENTHUSIAST festivals that focus on one specific thing, like Beer, Garlic, or hot air balloons. These are modest examples so you get the idea that there are different genres of Festivals.

Oregon Eclipse Festival 2017. Sunrise, just before the Eclipse started later that morning! Photo Credit: Honey Jayne

Festivals happen worldwide and throughout the year. Most take place in warmer months and around holidays. They can be single day events, or two weeks long. The majority of these events that I talk about are more extreme, and take palce over an extended weekend. They are remote, pack-in events, where you bring all the things you need with you. This includes sleeping accommodations, water, and anything else you want/need to survive. Often times, events try to focus on the principle of LEAVE NO TRACE. This means you pack-out all of your trash and grey water. There are events that have such luxuries as pop up hotels, vitamin B shots and shower areas. Some events sell food/clothing/supplies while others are completely decomodified. This is where those scouting “always be prepared” skills come in. It is better to error on the safe side. Bring things like a few extra gallons of water, a full gas can or even a spare pair of shoelaces to cover your ass. Besides, if you don’t use it, someone you meet at the event may be in need…and you get to save the day!

Which brings me to the culture of Festivals. The Festival Community is a very diverse group of people that hug you hello. Dreamers, creatives, misfits and party people to name a few. There is almost always an instant bonding between event attendees. People connect and share a common experience of being at the same festival together. Some people, including myself, have Festival Families, Camps or Squads. A designated group of friends that you plan to camp and hang out with while at the festival that provides a sense of security that someone always has your back if things go sideways. Often times, it equates to getting a handful of your best buds together and doing that epic weekend camping trip out in no mans land. Group dinners/meals, miscellaneous Shenanigans, planned meet up times for Music sets, someone to make sure you don’t die…

Sunrise Tuesday morning at White Ocean, Burning Man 2014. Photo Credit: Honey Jayne

Another big aspect of Festival culture is creating a sense of belonging. This can involve practices like PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity & Respect) Radical Inclusion and Gifting. You could go to a festival solo or with one other person and have an amazing time without being apart of a group or festival family. The community is big on taking care of each other. There are a handful of times I have “adopted” people for one reason or the other. Usually it’s someone newer to the scene, they got separated from their friend and are trying not to panic. They need a little help. It goes without saying that you help a fellow Festi friend in need because one day, it could be you or your buddy that needs a hand. Plus, good karma! I have also been adopted and had people let me camp with them as a solo festival goer so I wasn’t a lone tent in the wind! In the end, it renews your faith in humanity, and reminds you that people are inherently good.

Published by Honey Jayne

Imagine if Lisa Frank, Las Vegas and Halloween had a baby with Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n Roll...thats me in a nutshell!

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