MAGAZINE

8 Ways to Keep Your Festival Family Alive in the Off-Season

Photo by: Stephen Ironside
by Jonathan Akbari Fri September 01, 2017 | 01:00 PM

As festival season in North America comes to a close, everyone is finally returning home to decompress and relax from the year’s adventures. But once the dust has settled, missing your festival family – which sometimes extends from California to New York to Costa Rica – can become a real problem. Keeping everyone together and feeling like a unit can be challenging to every crew in the festival community. Here are nine tips to help keep the vibe strong all year-round, and your festival family alive in the off-season.

Arrange Gatherings

Woogie Weekend 2015 Daniel Zetterstrom   13

Whether you live in the same city or across the nation, there is no substitute for physical presence. Holy Ship! keeps its famous, far-flung Ship Fam solid by creating its own theme parties, arranging meet-ups at favorite Holy Ship! artists’ sets, or rocking fabulous Ship Fam robes whenever they gather. There’s nothing better than a new city, a fresh scene, and your squad in tow exploring, bonding and vibing.

Create Year-round Projects

Lockn Festival 2015 Matt Urban 02

Photo by: Matt Urban

Burning Man and the transformational festival scene are known for year-round community contribution to the once-a-year experience. Whether you are building a massive, fire-breathing unicorn art car for the playa, or crafting your peacock-feathered, sequined costume for a different festival, get your fam together and create a space that fosters creativity so you can marvel at the talents and hidden skills your crew has. Creating, welding, building, and crafting with your collective brings a sense of togetherness to the process, and can make the finished product even better. Fostering creativity amongst your peers and getting together also strengthens your bonds through the investment of blood, sweat, tears and love that are put into your project.

Give Surprise Gifts

Envision Festival 2017 Jamieson Mulholland    1 Of 6

People love surprises and gifts. Try sending your festie friends thoughtful gifts in the mail without telling them. Let them call and text everyone trying to figure out who sent them their dream poncho that they’ve been talking about for months. Half the fun is the hunt to figure out who sent the gift, which keeps them reaching out to the family. Listen to their needs and desires, take note, and pleasantly shock them with unsolicited gifts.

Be A Planner

If you have a festival mom in your family, planning can be one of the most unifying conversations you have with your crew in the off-season. Creating a festival calendar, or a shared events document with your squad keeps everyone informed and on the same page. Not only do these things give everyone a chance to learn about new artists, acts, events and festivals, it also allows your friends to express their interests and provide new parties, gatherings, and events to expand your own experiences. Arranging theme camps, costumes, your crew's birthdays, or trips gets everyone excited and in the conversation.

Write Letters

Burning Man 2015 Camps   6
Photo by: Curtis Simmons

In the age of social media and ephemeral communication, a handwritten letter is a great way to show your festival family you care. Take some extra time to pick out special paper, throw some glitter and love into the note, and send it to someone you've yearned to reach. Not only will it wow your friend, but you’ll most likely get some love back. Nothing makes a person feel special like knowing their friend put love and intention into making them smile.

Create Your Own Festival

Lightning In A Bottle 2015 Conner Coughenour   46

Take a page out of the Desert Hearts crew handbook on how to create your own festival. What started as a gathering of a few hundred people a hundred miles east of San Diego has now turned into one of the most sought-after boutique festivals on the West Coast circuit. Devoted to creating an infectious, close-knit vibe, the fest's family extends from curators Mikey Lion, Porkchop and Lee Reynolds, to everyone in the crowd. The Desert Hearts crew also throws events in the SoCal area as well as New York to keep the love going in the off-season. Take the opportunity to book your favorite local artists in an open space and gather your posse. Not only will you have the opportunity to plan together and convene for partying purposes, projects like these give your crew an opportunity to have new people experience your vibe. 

Exchange Music

Firefly 2015 Joepapeo Guitars

Photo by: Joe Papeo

Since music is such a large part of the festival experience, creating a forum to share new music, old favorites, or artists to watch out for is a great way to connect long distance. Trading music gives you deeper insight into your friend’s tastes and allows everyone to expand their existing musical knowledge, which ultimately could lead to new festival experiences. 

Use Social Media

Levitation 2016 Steven Ruud Photography Animal Collective

When all else fails, take to your favorite social network to see what your festival family is up to. Use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other network you love to your advantage to keep everyone in the loop. Sometimes the easiest way to reach a friend is on the internet.