6 Wild and Wacky Workshops You Should Attend at What The FestivalArticle by: Laura Mason|@masonlazarus
Wed June 08, 2016 | 00:00 AM
We love the opportunities many festivals give us to learn and grow, through thoughtfully curated workshops and talks. But a lot of times, wading through troves of heady topics and awkwardly titled gatherings makes it difficult to decide how to allocate your precious festie schedule. Thankfully, Oregon's What The Festival's lineup of "Easy Speak Talks" in 2016 makes it delightfully easy to have a ball in between the music, the splash pool, and the Illuminated Forest.
Below are a few of the lighthearted-yet-informative workshops that'll have you expanding your consciousness and forging new friendships in no time. Be sure to check your festival guide for the times and locations of these to fit them in with your festival adventures.
Peter McCoy is a mycology whiz (translation: Mushroom Whisperer). Not only will he teach you the fascinating biology behind mushrooms (for instance, did you know they are more genetically similar to humans than they are to other plants?), he'll also teach you how to grow edible and medicinal mushrooms for practically pennies. Turns out you can grow them on anything from coffee grounds to old wood – basically stuff you already have around your house. But don't take our word for it, let Peter McCoy guide you on your own mycological journey. This super hands-on workshop will conclude with an onsite installation of an edible mushroom patch that will likely be fruiting at next year’s festival. You'll also go home with goodies: materials to take home and repeat the same process in your own backyard.
Don't forget your costumes for this one – you'll need to be decked out to stand next to Lazercorn, the one and only unicorn lord of the lazers. Born of the playa dust and now a magical, fun-loving pal to everyone she meets, Lazercorn strives to inspire creativity and love through collaborative storytime. At this workshop, you'll work together in an improv setting to bring whimsical stories to life. It'll get you out of your head and feeling like a playful kid again, which is exactly what most of us attend festivals for in the first place.
You, as a devoted and fun-loving festie, have always know. that the festival world has the power to teach us invaluable lessons that stay with us through all aspects of our lives. You've always felt deep in your core that festivals, when done right, could change the world. But how and why does that magic occur, and how do you take advantage of it? The workshop entitled Wizard School, led by the Sparkle Wizard himself, Karl Funhouse, aims to illuminate that crossroads, where the spiritual world and the festival world intersect. What are the links that tie the ancient concept of spirituality to these modern gatherings, and how can the combination of the two help benefit not only festival culture but the world as a whole?
The workshop will conclude with a Light Armor Activation Meditation, which will unify your physical and spiritual bodies, create a protective shield to deflect negative energy, and align you with your highest truth and purpose in life. So while you might not learn to be a wizard, you will learn how to be your best self.
There are two types of people in this world: huggers and non-huggers. Many of us in the festival realm are experienced in the art of embrace, especially upon meeting and greeting one another, while many in the non-festival world don't as easily gravitate towards that kind of welcoming touch. With the help of Hug Life, a short workshop led by Spades, a fire and flow artist from Portland, Oregon, you'll learn how your penchant for sweet embraces fits into the sociology and psychology of hugging in American culture, and also about the healing powers of platonic touch. And of course, there will be no shortage of hugs in this workshop, so get ready to forge new friendships and add fresh, creative hugging methods to your repertoire.
What if you've chosen a spirit animal for yourself, and then found out that it wasn't rightfully your spirit animal at all? Intergalactic Space Cadet Chel*c Starsee is here to guide you to your true power animal through guided meditation. So, no more worshipping unicorns and ligers over, say, sharks and platypuses. Chel*c has spent years studying animal shamanism and astrology, and is an expert in mental, spiritual and emotional space travel, meaning you will find your actual protective animal guide, and learn how these animals help us and what aspects of ourselves need attention.
The meditation workshop ends with an amplifying protection ceremony so you can continue through the festival and on into daily life knowing your true animal protector will never leave your side.
Trouble between the sheets? Professor Unicorn, the sex-ed teacher you never had, is at your service. And you'll be in good hands, because unicorns are known for their legendary sex lives? Facilitated by Erika Ryn, this workshop will have you LOLing and learning as its host leads a cheeky "conversation about improving your sex life with magic, communication, and consent." Although Professor Unicorn is a hand puppet (just don't tell him that), you will have a great time developing better communication to achieve your romantic desires.