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Once Upon a Time, There Was a Magical Forest

Vibes. What you put in, you get out, maybe even tenfold. No festival knows this better than Enchanted Forest Gathering.

Let's start with the name of the event, which is meant to conjure up the wondrous, magical times of childhood, when storybooks and playgrounds gave way to woodsy worlds of fantasy and adventure where anything can happen. Start with a premise of imagination and play, and out comes fearless princesses, chattering oak trees, and fireflies you can ride to the moon.

It's not too different at Enchanted Forest Gathering, except in this case the storybook setting is the Black Oak Ranch up in Mendocino county. The etched-wood stages certainly look like they could have come out of a fairy tale. Fresh greenery, flowers, crystals and vibrant colors adorn the Mighty Oak main stage and the wet River Stage, while the Live Lounge has lush velvet curtains and Grecian columns. Interactive spaces and art installations everywhere beckon for a closer look. Towering green oak trees watch it all from above.

A Cosmic Vortex of Healing and Creativity

Not only do participants make their own magic here for one weekend each summer, but there's a history to this land that haunts it like the spirit of Jerry Garcia — no, really. In 1992, Black Oak Ranch hosted the Electric on the Eel festival, a springboard for Garcia's solo career, which, as the lore goes, imbued the whole place with a "cosmic vortex of healing and creativity." Garcia's space jams created a vibe that would be nourished by many subsequent performers at the ranch, at events like Hog Farm's Rock N' Roll Picnic, the Kate Wolf Music Festival, EarthDance Global Peace Party, and the Gaia Festival. Today, Enchanted Forest Gathering manages this energy as if it were the Olympic flame.

And then there's the size of the festival — it's small. Year One, in 2011, had just 250 people. Attendance now clocks in at 4,000 but Enchanted Forest founder Tulku vows to keep it under 5,000 in order to maintain its tight sense of community. Families are welcome, and parents even have the option of signing up for childcare for one 6-8 hour slot during the weekend.

This kind of intimate atmosphere is crucial to festival organizers, and they're quite intentional about how it's to unfold during the event. To that end, they've developed four overarching tenets—sacred, sexy, silly and saucy—that every aspect of the festival must fit into. These qualities come through in the music lineup, the performance and visual art, the many wisdom shares and workshops, and all the micro-environments that invite participants to explore and play. From shower foam parties, to an entire stage devoted to talks like the "Conscious Carnivore" and "The Sensual Art of Spanking," to live music and thumping booty bass stretching into the wee hours, Enchanted Forest provides a no judgment zone for you to do you and to figure out what that even means.

“It has been incredible to witness the growth and evolution of this event” says Tulku. “A few years ago it really felt like this event took on a life of its own and since then, we have been crafting it and shaping it to fulfill the desires of the community.”

"People who come away from Enchanted Forest, they always talk about this intangible quality to the vibe. I have friends who say it's the vibiest festival they go to," Tulku explains. "People make conscious connections. Women feel safer. (I get that comment every single year.) We have a zero-fight track record; you never see aggressiveness around the festival. It helps to create this really nice, clear energy amongst the participants."

"Dancing is at the heart of our festival," says Tulku, admitting that it was a desire to dance closer to home (versus always having to travel to San Francisco), in the natural beauty of his county, that was the inspiration for the festival in the first place. To fuel your ability to get into the groove, Enchanted Forest offers herbal elixirs, a tea lounge, Kombucha on tap, cacao drinks and all kinds of other healthy stimulations, such as yoga, hooping, juggling, dance and flow workshops.

But did he ever imagine dancing, all slippy-slidey, to a killer DJ in a giant tub covered in Dr Bronner's suds?! Yeah, that happens. This party within the party, known as the Saucy Spa, is classic Enchanted Forest—silly, saucy, sexy and sacred (you know what they say about cleanliness...) all at once. It is the heart of the vortex, the intersection of the vibes, the magical place in the forest.

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From the Organizer

Celebrated as NorCal’s premiere music, art, movement and conscious living festival, Enchanted Forest Gathering creates close-knit community experiences within a fairytale setting of majestic Oak trees at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA. Returning earlier this year with a new weekend of June 9-11, the 2017 gathering will showcase over 70 internationally-acclaimed live and electronic musical acts performing atop four stunningly-constructed stages, as well as performance & visual art, workshops & wisdom shares, immersive environments & experiences for the whole family! Top notch stage production, quality sound, and showcasing the freshest of local and international talent have been focal points for our team since Enchanted was but a sprouting acorn. We strive to bring you the absolute best experience possible and truly outdo ourselves each year, so let’s just say that we are thrilled to release our Most Enchanted Music Lineup in our seven years together in 2017. From the throbbing bass of The Grove stage to the soulful roots of The Knoll, whether splashing to the grooves at the Lazy River or sudsing up to the booty bouncing beats of the Saucy Spa, your ears will have plenty to snack on and your dancing feet will be really, really sore by the end of the weekend.

From The Festival
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