Days leading up to Further Future I had one thing on my mind…what exactly am I about to experience?

GQ said it was the “sexier, bougier cousin of Burning Man.” Others called it the “Burning Man for the 1%.” While all those may be quite the attention grabbers to some, I was ready to put my own label on it and open my mind to something I had never experienced before.

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Elena Kulikova Photography

As we traversed across the Nevada Desert we would see nothing but darkness and headlights. That was until the Las Vegas strip was in sight, which meant we were slowly approaching.

With the luminous strip slowly fading away all we could see was more darkness ahead of us. Suddenly, a beam of light appeared before our eyes coming from what seemed like a Mars encampment about 10 miles from where we were. Before we knew it our colorful Jucy RV was exiting the freeway, after six long hours on the road. She held up on the drive like a champ.

Further Future was upon us.

After making our way to the check-in and being greeted by the staff we immediately felt the welcoming atmosphere taking over. Instead of your usual security check, we were handed futuristic sunglasses and a handy, customer water bottle to help us throughout the weekend. Gifts already?!

To answer your question, yes this is far different from what you think you knew about Further Future.

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Peter Ruprecht Studios

We parked, unpacked, set up camp, polished off our boogie shoes and made our way into the festival around midnight on Friday. After traveling the world and experiencing all sorts of festivals, one thing immediately stood out to us which was the fact it seemed relatively empty. This wasn’t your typical “sardine can” festival where you had to nudge and push to get from point A to point B. Instead, we could take our time to explore the entire planet and all it had to offer.

Oh, and lets take a second to appreciate even the sand we were standing on was red-ish, much like Mars.

The entire population inhabiting Further Future was dressed as though they were, in fact, from the future. Gold and silver cloaks, reflective armor, three-eyed sunglasses, platform boots and all sorts of LEDs to accompany their outfits.

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Photo: Jacob Avanzato

As we continued to explore we found ourselves eyeing all of the the gourmet food and craft cocktail tents. If you were feeling particularly fancy you were welcome to join the $250 Nobu-hosted dinner, which took place Friday night. One thing we found from one edge of the festival to the other was the pounding bass radiating through our bones and keeping our feet moving.

Each stage was surrounded by art pieces from Burning Man…and plenty of mattresses. Yes, tons and tons of mattresses, piled up high up for our relaxing pleasure. Maybe you wanted to bounce around and let the inner child inside of you out; both were more than encouraged.

Alongside the carefully crafted art pieces, beautiful people, and mesmerizing lights were towers of wooden palates with space-like pods at the top for a nice view from the top. These pile ups surrounded each stage for our viewing pleasure. Everything you could touch you could climb, and if you could climb on it that meant you could dance on it. There was not a single spot around the stages that lacked groups of people dancing away. Some people even found it convenient to use the cushiony space pods as a little power nap destination.

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Elena Kulikova Photography

Further Future welcomed some of today’s biggest names in technology, well-being, mental health, and art to share their knowledge with those in attendance…and to party. These people made sure that this weekend was as luxurious as possible. They had the option to stay in VIP camping options such as Airstreams for $5,000 and Lunar Palaces  for $7,500. These Palaces were 200 sq ft, 9ft high, custom-made luxury domes with wooden flooring and furnished to sleep four. These Lunar Palaces also offered air conditioning, which is much more valuable once you are actually living in the desert for a period of time. On top of luxurious living, these came with something called an entourage concierge – “a personal, dedicated lifestyle manager and assistant ready to help you with any requirements or desires you may have. No request is ever unattainable.” The lifestyle assistant, who makes sure you the right newspaper uploaded on your iPad, will work with you on anything “from the green juice you enjoy every morning to the old-fashioned cocktail you sip on in the evenings.” I’m sold.

These elite attendees included Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet; Facebook executive Stan Chudnovsky; and Adam Gazzaley, American cognitive neuroscientist and found director of Gazzaley Lab. On a normal day they may seem like your typical “suit and tie” folks, but not at Further Future.

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Photograph: Tomas Loewy for the Guardian

A certain familiar structure stood high above all of the other structures that spanned across the 42-acre extra terrestrial world. That structure is the Robot Heart. This tall, metal, heart-shaped structure was also home to a stage that would welcome the early morning risers or the night owls that have yet to throw in the towel.

From Dixon to Lee BurridgeRampue to Elderbrook, this stage was bringing the heat from dusk until dawn–or dawn until dusk depending on your preferred schedule. The energy emulating from all those in and around the Robot Heart was truly something special that could only be experienced in the moment.

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Photo: Las Vegas Weekly

Unfortunately, the weather took a toll on the event as a whole for a short period of time. Due to the daring desert climate we were thrown right in the middle of a vicious lightening and thunder storm. Brutal, right? Wrong. While this storm may have caused the festival to go on a small hiatus and send everyone back to their tents and RVs it was really an opportunity for strangers to become family. A chance for minds to collaborate, bounce ideas, share stories and bask in the moment where the future of the festival was as unpredictable as the weather itself.

Once the storm passed, it was back to the future…and this return didn’t require a DeLorean.

While most festivals focus solely on the music and who will draw the biggest crowd, Further Future aims to do something very different. It is all about what goes into the “melting pot.” The combination of the people, music, art, and technology all together is what makes this a “transitional festival”, which is something very few people have had the opportunity to experience. This might have only been the second year, but the presence of the people and energy flowing from within each person makes the festival feel like one giant family reunion.

As Further Future grows, so will the impact it has on each and every attendee.  It is a meeting of today’s best and brightest minds all aiming  to change the present and shape the future.  Needless to say,we can not wait to see what is in store for FF003.

Featured Image Photo By Peter Ruprecht Studios