The festival culture and the Cascadian community were one in the same at this year’s Cascadia NW music and arts festival. Cascadia-local artists set up installations, vending booths, and live paintings around the beautiful Maisonic Family Park in Granite Falls, Washington. For three days and nights, local musicians and DJs filled the forest with music.
Starborne Shows partnered with performers and dance groups like Luma, Gale Force, Zepto Space, Emerald City Hoop Troupe and much more. Musicians and DJs set up at the River Stage, the Dream Dome and The Lodge with lots of space for dancing and for performers to practice hooping and poi.
Performers, musicians and set designers worked together to create a truly interactive and enchanting experience with everyone at the festival. Set design and lights made the forest a magical setting taken straight from the most beautiful dream.
An art gallery tent was set up near the Dream Dome in the center of the camp to showcase artists work from around Cascadia. Contributing artists included Adam One, Michelle Anderst, Zack Verde, Moksha Marquardt, Deana Nguyen, Ferg, Wild Rose, Jeremia Slentinial, Mari Shibuya, Leo Shallat, Justin Rodda, and SIENNA.
Art Installations featured Simon 2.0 modeled after the traditional Simon game. The new version spouted fire after a gamer lost. The CascadiaNow! Sasquatch made an appearance along with Henry the Sasquatch and his octopus.
The Festival kept a forest circus theme that met with the mythical forest and ambient lights. A Flaming Clown Shoe, a giant clown shoe-shaped bus had flame throwing pipes that lit up the scene for fire dancers below. Zepto space set up a circus stage with areal hoop performances, light hoop and poi performances, and fire dancing.
Workshops were held during the day educating campers about the natural world, practicing yoga, crafts, community driven harm reduction and crisis response, awakening fire, and much more. Workshops promoted community understanding, friendship, connectedness, mindfulness, and were all family friendly. CascadiaNow! held a workshop as well as welcomed festival goers to their booth, educating about our fabulous bioregion.
The camp was divided into villages to create a creative and interactive experience where campers were encouraged to help decorate their camp sites and contribute to the community. Each village had an element, a familiar, and themes.
Genesis was the starting point of the campsite and provided a more open atmosphere without form which let campers have a traditional camping experience or to be creative and make it whatever they wanted.
Corpus Crux was the village reserved for the core staff and production team responsible for the infrastructure and logistics with the element air and familiar eagle.
Nu Iceland, formerly named Technosis, celebrated dance, movement, and innovation with the element fire, familiar the mountain lion and themes of celebration, dance, movement, creation, and vision.
Ecotopia is grounded in sustainability and preservation with a deep understanding of nature and reverence for its surroundings and inhabitants with the element earth, familiar the bear, and themes of family, education, preservation, compassion, and reverence.
Mythica village was inspired by performance and expression of mythological tales with the element water, familiar salmon, and themes of inspiration, alchemy, transformation, and performance.
Mythica village held a parade through the campground on the second day that ended in a dance party at the River Stage. Members of all villages were invited to participate and watch the parade of mythical forest creatures, musicians, dancers, and campers. Wotan the faerie smasher ran through camp chasing white and pink clad faeries dancing in the parade.
With a sense of community, welcoming and love like no other, Cascadia NW will be an experience many will remember for a lifetime. The friendships fostered and the beauty of the forest, performance, art and music will last forever in many Cascadians hearts.
Taylor McAvoy is a Junior at the University of Washington pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She has been a writer and photographer for the university's newspaper, The Daily, for more than a year focusing on editorial reporting and arts event coverage. She is currently vice president elect of the Society of Professional Journalist’s (SPJ) University of Washington chapter. She is also working on her own as a freelance journalist and photographer.