Do you feel that? That euphoric, warm, and fuzzy feeling? The butterflies in your stomach are fluttering again, because WTF?! is THIS WEEK! It’s almost time to be back in the best place in the entire world. However, there is one downside of this festival. What The Festival?! is TOO much fun. So fun in fact, that it makes it extremely difficult to just choose 17 highlights when there are legitimately a million.

 

A little background on myself before we get started. This will be my third year traveling back to this wonderful playground at the base of the Mount Hood. I’ve made some of the best memories, and not to mention friendships, at this place, and I could not be more excited to show you our magical little world. That’s me, right there, in the orange scarf. ‘Sup.

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

Okay, back to what you actually came here to read. Without further ado, here are the top 17 things you should be most psyched about for What The Festival?! 2017. They are in no particular order because everything is equally as remarkable.

 

  1. The food: Alright, I know this is a music festival, but I am 100% confident I would still attend if it solely offered food. Forget everything you’ve ever known about festival food, because the tasty treats you’ll be served here will render all your previous meals inadequate. The vendors at WTF?! are the furthest thing from dealers of low quality, overpriced, junk food. They are creators of absolutely delicious world class DELICACIES. Seriously, prepare your wallet because you’re not going to be able to resist the enticing scent of pizza, fried rice, or dumplings after a full night of dancing. I’m not even ashamed to admit that my diet consists of entirely gyros and sushi burritos for four days each year. Plus, what better way to make it to that 2 A.M set than with a cup of coffee, tea, or kombucha? Check out the food and beverage vendor selection for a sneak peak into the mouthwatering experience that awaits you, and get ready to pedal your way to a smoothie at Moberi when you get there!

Food and Beverage: http://whatthefestival.com/vendor-info/food-and-beverage/

 

  1. The art: One look at these art installations and you’ll immediately understand why this festival is called WTF?!. The first time you lay eyes on these art installations you’ll be taken aback by the sheer creativity and originality of each piece. Every work is a masterpiece, an exquisitely man made compliment to the gorgeous natural gallery hosting its exhibition. Once you’ve made your day trek through the art trail, stop by the Casbah Hookah Lounge near the edge of the woods. That’s right, there’s a hookah lounge. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get anymore spectacular, the sun goes down. Once nightfall washes over Wolf Run Ranch the deep, dark, forest comes to life with bright colors, new sounds, and interactive art experiences. The Illuminated Forest is without a doubt one of the most awe-inspiring things you’ll ever witness. To try and describe it through words would simply not do it justice so I’m just going to stop now. I’ll leave you with this. It’s not every day you get to lie in a glowing clamshell at 2 A.M with your best friend. If you’re too curious to wait until you can set foot into the woods for yourself, check out the background on some of the artists below.

Illuminated Forest: http://whatthefestival.com/experience-2/the-illuminated-forest/

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

  1. The other campers: It’s true, getting to know your fellow campers is something you should be insanely pumped about. Think about how all your favorite people are coming with you, and then remember that this is the case for everyone going! It’s just gonna be a huge party of all the funkiest, funniest, and friendliest people the world has to offer. Don’t be shy; everyone is here to have the time of their lives. You won’t need to worry about having crabby neighbors here. Honestly, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is getting too many hugs or high fives. WTF?! is a great place to get to know people you would probably never have had the chance to encounter in every day life. This place attracts some truly incredible souls. Shout out to the awesome neighbors who shared their watermelon with us last year. I love you!

 

  1. The Movement Classes and Easy Speak Talks: Ever been envious of those wicked talented poi spinners and stage shufflers? Don’t fret, for this year it could be you! Whether you’re into yoga, hooping, spinning, or belly dancing, there’s a class here for everyone. Check out the movement class page below so you can prepare your body for all the new skills you’re going to leave with.

 

Movement Classes: http://whatthefestival.com/experience-2/movement-classes/

 

Once you’ve cooled off after your movement class, sit back and relax at one of the Easy Speak Talks. Informative and engaging, these presentations are undoubtedly one of the most unique things about WTF?! These experts are fit and ready to educate you on the things you would never learn in school. Examples of these subjects include lessons on how to trust yourself, how to live your wildest dreams, and even how to give less f*cks. There’s even a class taught entirely by a unicorn!

Real quick, I’d like to thank Huglife for transforming me into the above average hugger that I am today. Can’t wait for Huglife 2.0! Study up on your schedule so you can be sure not to miss out on anything that interests you!

 

 

Easy Speak Talks: http://whatthefestival.com/experience-2/easy-speak-talks/

 

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

  1. The vendors: Budget for these guys in advance, because you’re not going to be able to keep your hands off this merchandise. The fantastically imaginative vendors at WTF?! are masters of their craft. From leather corsets and animal ears to hula hoops and Third Eye pinecones, the vendors that line the main path are merchants of goods you won’t be able to easily find anywhere else. I assure you that after such a spectacular weekend you’re going to want to bring a piece of this place home with you. It’ll bring back those pleasant memories of you splashing around in the pool every time you look at it. I bought a couple scarves here my first year and they’ve followed me back every time I return.

 

Vendors: http://whatthefestival.com/vendor-info/craft-vendors/

 

  1. The Disco Ball A glittering, glistening, giant orb of beauty, hope, and everything that is good in the world. The iconic disco ball that glimmers under the Oregon sun is a staple for WTF?!, anchored into the soft soil near the base of the mountain. During the day, you’ll find many of the movement classes taking place under the disco ball. It’s also a great place for a picnic! At night, the disco ball does what it does best, reflecting colorful lasers and sparkly lights from the two surrounding stages.

 

  1. The Silent Disco: The disco ball isn’t just decorative; it also serves as an overhead experience for those enjoying the silent disco once the moon has risen high in the sky. Never been to a silent disco? From an onlooker’s perspective, the silent disco just looks like a massive crowd of people breaking it down to complete silence. It may sound bizarre, because it is, but once you put on those glowing headphones you’ll understand what it’s all about.

 

  1. The Jelly: What’s tall, cute, and has a million legs? The WTF?! Jelly of course! Contrary to most scientific evidence, the world’s most harmless giant jellyfish actually happens to inhabit in the festival grounds of Dufur, Oregon. It’s alright to get lost in the tentacles for awhile, you’ll just end up giggling a bit when you meet some fellow explorer friends in the middle. Special props go out to the guy last year who dressed up at a jungle explorer and took “real” notes on this rare species.

 

 

  1. The Shinto A Go-Go : If you like Asian culture and cowboys, this place is gonna knock the wool socks and sandals right off your feet. There is an authentic Japanese Spaghetti Western teahouse built beneath the trees, and I mean built, as in built permanently into the ground. It’s a full-blown wooden structure, complete with tiny rooms, furniture, a stage, and of course, tea. Delicious tea in fact. The soft lighting radiates an inviting glow, producing a gorgeous and alluring ambience. Every time I enter the Shinto my friends have to practically drag me out because apparently it’s “not practical to live here permanently”. Whatever.

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

  1. The volunteers: The. Volunteers. These generous souls dedicate so much of their time at WTF?! to making sure your festival experience is as easy, peaceful, and barefoot friendly as it could ever be. Having spent some time as a volunteer last year I can tell you that these guys are not messing around, they are truly putting in the work for everyone else! So, whenever you encounter a gaggle of volunteers combing the grounds for trash be sure to give them a high five and say thank you. You’re guaranteed to receive a smile in return!

 

 

  1. The Splash Stage: Drop your shoes in the sand and prepare to feel the thump of the baseline beneath your feet. There’s nothing quite like the vibration of a world-class sound system under your heels while you dance on the wooden panels of the Splash Stage. The Splash Stage is a definite highlight of WTF?! hosting the best pool party you’ve ever been to in a one of a kind venue. But how can I swim and dance at the same time? Don’t worry, the pool is only around two feet deep, so you’ll have no problem getting down regardless of what part of the stage you’re at. Still, don’t forget to pack a crazy pool floaty, cause you’re gonna need it. The Splash Stage is home to the galaxy’s premier pool toy extravaganza, and no, I didn’t just make that up. When GriZ preformed two years ago I was gifted a pink inflatable saxophone, and it’s followed me to the pool stage every year since.

Pro tip: bring a disposable camera, this is a party for your real life friends, not your online friends. You also probably don’t want you’re phone getting soaked with water! I also promise that seeing photos after they are developed is ten times more fun than looking at them immediately after they are taken. These photos will serve as nostalgic souvenir that you can carry with you to cherish for years to come. So leave your phone back at camp and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience. Plus there’s a secret headliner this year. I wonder who it could be….

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

  1. The Groove Qube: Okay seriously, who the heck thought up the Groove Qube? I don’t mean that in a critical way, I mean it in a “somebody please find me this revolutionary stage design mastermind so I can personally present them with an award” kind of way. This stage is FREAKING insane. It’s a humungous, glow in the dark collection of water cubes that when stacked on top of each other create the illusion that you’re inside one of those puzzle toys. Except the Groove Qube is way more fun and not frustrating in the slightest. Seriously, people probably see this thing in airplanes from above and are absolutely dumbfounded. Some real ridiculous music goes down at this stage every night, and before you try and compare it to a past festival experience, just know this. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, in your life has ever prepared you for the experience that is the Groove Qube.

 

  1. The Equinox Stage: Close your eyes and picture this. Bright lights against absolute darkness, illuminating the towering pines flickering behind the stage. The earth shifts under you, shaken by rumble of heavy bass beneath your toes. This is pretty much the memory of the Equinox Stage that will be forever burned into my brain. Prepare to have your ‘ish rocked by the signature heavy, and not to mention weird, sound brought to you by of the likes of Woolymammoth, edIT, Lost City, and many more.

 

 

  1. The WTF?! Stage: The crown jewel for live music. The WTF?! stage is the place we all gather to witness some of the finest musicians in all the land do their thing. Though it is the most standard looking of all the stages, the WTF?! stage hosts performances nowhere near the ordinary. Your ears can thank you now, for they are about to be graced by the beautiful sound of legendary artists such as Cut Copy, Gramatik, and Zhu. This is a perfect stage to hit when you need to give your body a break and just sway for a while. Plus, the lights on this stage are really beautiful. Get ready to be bathed in beams of all the colors of the rainbow.

 

  1. The Effin’ Stage: Ah, the Effin’ Stage. Sharing the main clearing with the WTF?! Stage, the Effin’ Stage brings you premiere artists from all over the world and genre pool. The colossal rounded shape of this stage amplifies the crystal clear sound of its resident all the way to the Disco Ball. Keep your eyes open once the sun goes down though, for rumor has it that strange creatures travel beneath the stages at night and sometimes even venture into the crowd. In terms of the musical category you’ll experience here, there is no true label for the Effin’ Stage. The music you’ll hear from this group will range from the cute and carefree tunes of Manila Killa, to the sinister sound of Rezz. Oh, and don’t forget to see Barclay Crenshaw lay down some absolute heaters. That guy is a legend.

 

  1. The Dragon Stage: I’m just gonna be upfront with you guys. This is my favorite stage. I mean, a massive, metal, FIRE BREATHING dragon in the middle of the deep, dark, forest? What The Festival?!, you’ve outdone yourselves once more my friends. Every artist that has played this stage has absolutely blown my mind. Simply being in the presence of this almighty reptile is enough to confirm that coming here was the best decision you’ve ever made. Claude VonStroke’s set at the Dragon Stage last year is without a doubt the top festival experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I promise you that the performances you see at this stage are going to be unlike anything you’ve ever imagined. Don’t believe me? Check out the five-hour Desert Hearts showcase and then get back to me.

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

  1. The music:The reason we are all here in the first place. Don’t let a single stage go unattended. Treat your ears to sounds you’d otherwise never hear! This is an opportunity for exploration, a time to discover new music, new artists, and new friends. If I could give you one piece of advice for this entire festival it would be this. Don’t keep yourself from bouncing between stages just because you aren’t familiar with who’s playing. You never know, they could very well become your new favorite artist! The wonderful creative directors of WTF?! brought us this incredibly diverse lineup for a reason, so please, PLEASE, indulge yourself

Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

 

Schedule: http://whatthefestival.com/schedules/

 

Wow, seventeen paragraphs and I haven’t even covered all the incredible things to see this year at WTF!?! 2017. It’s a shame, but it also leaves a lot more up to your imagination. Plus, you probably don’t need me to describe what the inside of the Oasis Spa looks like. That could get a little weird pretty quick. Anyways, I hope this coverage got you even more psyched than you already were. I CANNOT WAIT to see all your bright, smiling faces. But before I go, let me say one final thing.

For those of you who’ve never been, welcome to your new favorite place on earth.

For those of us who have, welcome home.

WTF!? Website: www.http://whatthefestival.com/