A review of Enchanted Forest Gathering 2017
Photos by Sage Thomas
Imagine this- you’re driving from the city packed hills of San Francisco to Laytonville, California. As you slowly start heading North, the scenery changes from densely packed urban areas to rolling forests filled with redwoods and sequoias. This is where the magic of Enchanted Forest Gathering happens.
Enchanted Forest takes place about 3 hours North of the Bay area, but feels like your millions of miles away from any stress that the city life has to offer. This festival opens its gates to the public on Thursday morning, allowing festival goers to be a part of the set-up. You are free to watch the crews elaborately create the stages and sound systems that will inevitably become the focus of the 3-day music festival. Though this festival is on the smaller side, it weaves together the best parts of large festivals with the community feeling of a small one. The festival houses 2 larger stages- The Groove and The Knoll- alongside 2 small stages- The Lazy River and The Saucy Spa. Each of the 4 stages offers different vibes and house different genres of music.
Music genre – The music is “Enchanted”– EDM, Space Bass, Jam Band, Deep House, Trance and pretty much everything in between.
Camping: YES! The great thing about this festival is that you can camp next to your car or you can find a spot in the forest closer to the stages. You’re free to move around as you please and set up your site anywhere on site.
Camping options- car camping, primitive camping, and RV
Capacity: Xtra Small (5-10k)
Crowd type: Hippie vibes and very family friendly! You also will see a ton of dogs roaming the festival with their beloved owners.
Water stations: Yes and they are located all over the place!
For The First Timers –
If you have never been to Enchanted Forest before, you MUST pack layers! I can’t stress the importance of layers enough. Many people think Northern California means 10 hours of sunshine and warm weather, but really it means just about any type of weather and you have to pack for it. For example, the first 2 days of the festival were 75-80 degrees and sunny during the day and 40 degrees at night. The last two days were on and off rain with highs of 40 degrees during the day and low 30’s at night. LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!
Another very important thing to keep in mind is whether or not you want to camp next to your car or haul your stuff into the wooded forest. The camping spaces next to your car are compact and on the smaller side, so if you are going with a large group of friends- I suggest bringing a wagon to move all your EZ-popups/ tents/ coolers/ etc. Plus, camping in the forest gives you great coverage from the sun and allows you to get a little more creative in your campsite set-up.
My last and MOST IMPORTANT recommendation- YOU MUST VISIT THE EMERALD FOREST! Enchanted Forest is only moments away from the infamous Emerald Triangle, which is Northern California’s largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity Country are located within a few miles of the festival and Enchanted Forest Music Festival takes advantage of that. In the festival, there is an Emerald Forest, which allows festival-goers to speak with a doctor and acquire a medical prescription for FREE! Once you’re been approved by the doctor you are allowed to enter the Emerald forest and witness the beauty the Emerald Triangle. Inside the Emerald Forest, there are top notch strains of Edibles, Wax, flower, etc. Not only is everything on display, but in fact, you are encouraged to try the wax using dab rigs and vape pens. If you like what you try- you can purchase! Truth be told- my favorite part of the Emerald Forest was the tea hut. After trying your favorite CBD hybrid blend, you can sit down with a local tea connoisseur and leisurely sip different blends of tea while discussing the importance of culture, music, and organic foods. It truly was a magical place.
Standout Food – Everything! The food at Enchanted Forest Gathering is top notch. Almost everything is gluten free/ organic/ non-GMO and it tastes delicious. I dare you to try and resist the food vendors they have on site….. it’s impossible.
Musical Highlights –
There were SO MANY! I’m going to break down the highlights day by day.
Friday: The first day was a heavy hitter. I found myself running back and forth from The Knoll stage (Jam band stage) to the Groove Stage (main stage). On the Groove Stage, Space Jesus stole the whole night, throwing down some infectious”space bass” music. He has been taking the festival scene by storm, currently being referred to as the next bass music prodigy and living up to the hype. The crowd couldn’t control their bass music passion and pretty simply put- it was EPIC!
On the other side of the festival, Sunsqaubi and The Floozies were holding down the Jam band scene. Sunsquabi played first bringing out their crowd favorites from Odyssey and Deluxe. As the show continued, they drew in more and more festival-goers to the point at which they completely filled their stage area. Next up were The Floozies! As The Floozies progressed through their set, they invited the lead guitarist from Sunsquabi out. Kevin, the guitarist of Sunquabi, and Matt, guitarist of the Floozies, were passing the guitar back-and-forth between rifts and it was insane to witness the collaboration and jam between the different groups.
Saturday: Saturday was all about TIPPER! Everyone from the forest, the campsites, and pretty much every corner of the festival came out to witness what Tipper was going to offer. His music took us on a journey through electronic music that ranged from ambient all the way to trip hop. Before we knew it- Tipper was over and everyone was questioning whether everything we witnessed was even real.
Sunday: Sunday was unexpected. I woke up excited to dance the night away with The Polish Ambassador, but instead, fell head over heels in love with The Funk Hunters. This duo put soul, funk, and hip-hop into electronic dance music. I found myself rapping along to 90’s classic hip hop songs while getting down like I would at a heavy electronic show. I left Sunday craving all things Funk Hunters!
YOU MUST VISIT THE EMERALD FOREST! I previously mentioned how amazing this area is and honestly, it made my festival experience even better! Also, I strongly suggest walking around and visiting all the vendors. I found myself hitting the vendors every day, multiple times a day. My favorite was Third Eye Pinecone— their necklaces are gorgeous!
VIP or Nah — Do not do VIP. You need to immerse yourself in the culture of the festival by camping amongst the crowds and making friends with everyone in the forest.
Story Corner –
“I blame Tipper”—- The title of this article originated from a conversation overheard. As Tipper had finished his set, I looked over and noticed a couple frantically trying to find something. The woman said to her boyfriend, “I blame Tipper for having too much fun that somehow I lost all my belongings”. The couple paced back and forth through the crowd looking for who knows what. Eventually, they returned back to their starting position (next to me) and broke out into laughter saying “what did we really expect…. of course, we lost all our sh*t at Tipper!” This statement pretty much summed up the whole festival perfectly- Enchanted Forest Gather 2017 delivered above and beyond what was expected!