It wouldn't be the same Lucidity we know and love without the wonderful crew who puts Branches Mobile Gallery together, the artists who fill in space with their creations and crafts, the musicians and DJ's who produce waves of sound vibrations to get us in motion, and to Melissa Redwood Sprout CommuniTea - for filling us up with the good stuff and looking like a tea boss all day - every day!
"Branches Mobile Gallery is a traveling fine art gallery as well as a stage & shade structure design company. By creating a warm, well-lit, site responsive earthen Gallery environment Branches Mobile Gallery brings artists and event participants together. Utilizing bamboo, branches, lighting and fabrics we showcase the best multi-genre contemporary art being created today."
- 2016 -
- 2015 -
I must admit, I have never been to a fair before. Not in my adult life at least. Do you know how many puns there could be used at a fair?
Okay. I know that's not a fair question. But life's not fair.
I have been hearing all about the Oregon Country Fair for the last 3 year now. From what it seemed, the Fair was going to be full of festivities. 20 minutes West of Eugene Oregon is a town called Veneta. This is where the fair has been held since 1970. (The first fair was officially was held in Eugene in 1969 before moving it to Veneta) Approximately 45,000 people flock to the fair each year. The OCF also has been known as the Craft Fair and the Oregon Renaissance Faire back in the early early to late 70's.
Where to stay
If you were working as a vendor, staff, or volunteer there are major perks in this. At the top of the list - The fair doesn't stop at the end of the work day. As someone that is working, you don't get swept out at 7:00 P.M (open hours are from 11 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.), when the official day is over. People who are working get to stay for the night activities, where performers and musicians stay up to entertain the staff. If you wanted to become a fair worker, it's good to have patience, persistence and a connection with the people who have been going for years.
I wasn't on the staff list for this event, so I stood by, hearing all about it. Maybe I'll be able to work my way in next time I hope!
There are much more than a handful of options on where to camp on the outside of the fair. I choose to stay at a campground nearby, called Quiet Camp.
Quiet camp was 15-minute walking distance to the fair. They had showers, their own vendors and a few bands that played a few sets. This was good use of the space, where an open field turned was turned into a campground for the weekend.
Other campgrounds that were further from the fair offered shuttle assistance along with other amenities.
The Fair Experience - Open Hours
I wasn't sure what to expect before heading onto the grounds. There were many people walking or taking a shuttle. On the way over, almost everyone working for the fair, and a handful of others would cheerily say "Happy Fair! This was the greeting, and everyone seemed to be as happy as could be. As if the Fair hadn't come any sooner.
It was nice being at an event where it is both drug and alcohol free. Substitute the beer for kombucha or tea, which causes less yelling and aggression in the crowds (and more energy!). Marijuana is now legal in Oregon, but they still don't want it to be a huge presence at the fair. There are multiple designated smoking areas, on and off the path, but since 1997 there has been a well-founded effort in keeping the fair a drug-free event.
There are vendors everywhere. From handmade crafts to food booths. If I had a pocket full of play money, this is where I'd be spending it. However, hand crafted items can be pricey, so it's best to look around at all the booths before deciding on what to get.
"Come In Costume" - as first advertised 1969. I think everyone has taken that role on. From stilt walkers, to face painters, to performers to attendees. I saw old women who made their own matching costumes, to little babies and their parents all dressed up.
There is a lot of walking around to do, and to be honest - not enough places to relax and rest. Especially after a long day of walking down path after path, and getting lost quickly makes you a bit weary. There are 22 stages to see, to enjoy and watch a show; from music, puppet shows, comedic, slam poetry, spoken word, juggling, acrobatic and daredevil stunts. However, because there are so many stages, they all seem to be on the smaller size scale. So, if you show up at an act a few minutes after it has started, there is a big chance that you will miss the opportunity to rest and sit down or to get out of the sun for some shade.
Overall it seems like the OCF has a huge presence that keeps showing up year after year. There had been people going from the very beginning, who hold the OCF into their peach shaped hearts.
Located just South of Santa Fe, New Mexico lies a rural farming valley. In that valley is a living history museum called El Rancho De Las Golondrinas. The museum has been opened since 1972, but 44 years later, 2016 Unify Fest brought together a tribe, to celebrate many things, and pray for others.
"Original colonial buildings on the site date from the early 1700s. In addition, historic buildings from other parts of northern New Mexico have been reconstructed at Las Golondrinas. Villagers clothed in the styles of the times show how life was lived on the frontier in early New Mexico." UNIFY FEST
The event was focused on it being a sober festival. What this meant was that no alcohol was being sold at the venue, and because this was a family filled festival, I didn't see anyone walking around and being incoherent of other peoples feelings and space. I like to add that for me, it was nice not see anyone coming out of a K-hole, or any ambulances arriving on scene.
Unify testifies its event to be "a transformational festival dedicated to leaving the land better than we found it". This was no joke. I talked to a blacksmith named Bill, while he was there to show how to shape metals into objects with his man made ovens in his shop, he told me that he has seen many people at this festival pick up trash from the festivals before.
The ranch was so wide spread, it had so many things to offer. There was a space to learn how to become a "Tanner", where you could learn how to make a pair of sandals from the leather and hides that had been worked on. Drop by the Earth Gym where Mick Dodge was teaching many lessons of listening to both the earth and your body. Go sit by the Mill, right next to the pond, where you can learn more about permaculture. Or go up over the Mill, to the apple and grape orchard, where you will find people eating off the floor of the earth and laying beneath the apple trees, soaking in the shade. There is even a place where you can explore your inner child, at the Childrens Village. Where there was a class on how to make adobe bricks, creating a community art piece, and even a animal rescue origination came to show a few of their owls and hawks.
There were ceremonies of every kind, around each corner. From opening to closing, from fire to sacred. Sometimes I knew as I had the camera in my hands, ready to record, there were going to be certain moments that were not going to be filmed, but to be left in the moment. As Lyla June perfectly put it, "This is a prayer, not a performance, please respect that"
The meaning of this festival was brought out once I saw how many tribes were gathering together at this place and space, uniting as one. From the Rainbow Family to Standing Rock, many different tribes were together for love and support.
There was a full list of spectacular artists and performers who not just attended, but found Unify to be one of the best festivals yet, especially as it being its first year.
Desert Dwellers, Fantuzzi, Trevor Hall, Living Light, Tina Malina, Lily Fangz, Porangui, Earth Guardians, Aloka, Kaminanda, Ayla Nereo, Bluetech, SUPAMAN, Mikey Pauker, Mike Love, Tubby Love and One Tribe
and the list goes on..... there was so much shared talent in this space!
On Stage Performances
I took a photo of Lily Fangz a few years back at Lucidity, and it was one of my favorite accidental shots I have ever taken. I have been following this soul sister on social media. She is a role model for me, and for many others. She has a way with turning pain into poetry, and making it something beautiful. I was truly feeling like a fan girl when she reached back out to me before Unify. Lily and I were able to connect a the event, and I had so many questions, but left most of them for the interview we did. |Video Coming Soon|