About This Festival
Though it is not quite a fully mainstream genre, many say that EDM has become a bit predictable. Festivals devoted to the genre tend to meld together and thus, it can be hard to separate the devotees from the dilettantes. The NNMF is not just aware of that fact, they are actively trying to provide a more authentic electronic music experience to new fans and avid festival-goers alike. Though the featured producers and DJs at this three-day festival range from the emerging to the internationally-known, there is a marked emphasis on fostering unknown acts to help them build a following. In addition, organizers feel passionately about leaving room for experimentation in the genre, so you won’t just be hearing a Top 40 of electronic music as you might at other festivals. Add in the majestic setting amidst the “Redwood Curtain” as well as some distinctly laid-back Californian and bohemian vibes, and you’ve got an event that stands out from the rest.
The festival is a newbie, founded in 2013. Despite this, they’ve managed to draw respectable headliners to add to the rustic and chilled atmosphere that pervades the four main stages. Last year saw acts like Beats Antique and Justin Martin. Innovative lighting and stage displays are conceptualized by Bay Area production teams, and work to add an impressive visual element that enhances the musical experience. If you’re not ready to stop partying when the action on stage wraps up, there are “silent discos” that continue until dawn where you can let your party animal run free.
It’s Not Just About the Music
It’s not only the approach to music that’s different at NNMF, but also the unique non-musical offerings and emphasis on participation and interaction with other attendees. Fittingly, number one on the “Do Not Bring” list on the NNMF website is “bad vibes,” and the festival does a good job of creating a positive atmosphere that works to include everyone. The daytime activities seem designed to bring out the inner forest child and creative spirit in everyone. Costumes, face paint, and nature-inspired ensembles abound. Swimming holes are dotted along the South Fork Eel River—along with waterfront dancing spots—and the shady redwoods provide a chilled respite from the heavy bass lines of the DJ sets. Yoga classes are offered daily, in addition to wellness workshops. There is also a heavy emphasis on artistic expression, with artists invited to create by drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings and various art galleries exhibiting alternative and locally-inspired art. If that’s not enough non-musical entertainment, there’s also stand up comedy for all festival-goers to enjoy. Organizers invite attendees to volunteer to lead any of the above activities in the lead up to the festival, meaning that participants become leaders and vice versa.
And the Rest…
Given its location, the sustainability aims of NNMF go above and beyond to make sure the event leaves no trace on its amazing location. The website goes into a great deal of detail about the various components of the location’s surrounding ecosystem and what must be done to keep it in its current condition. Participants are encouraged to be preemptive, by checking vehicles that will be brought to the festival for leaks, using only earth friendly personal products while at the site, not urinating in the river, and taking their toilet hygiene to the next level through the humorous ‘Traceless Ass Campaign.’ For those that want to earn some serious ecological street-cred, volunteering to keep the festival green can earn some perks, such as a free ticket (if you join the recycle crew) as well as free water bottles and t-shirts for those that help with the pick-up of cigarette butts and other items.
In fitting with the festivals outdoorsy vibes, camping is permitted; however, hotels are also available nearby for those who don't want to rough it. But chances are once you arrive at this majestic setting, you won’t want to retreat to a hotel and risk missing a truly all-encompassing outdoor experience.