Valerie Wang Presents Forever Never LandArticle by: Maddy Ozaetta|@masonlazarus
Fri August 22, 2014 | 00:00 AM
There’s a new festival coming to California, a place for your inner child to break free: Forever Never Land. The creator of this adult-child wonderland is Valerie Wang, a born-and-raised Californian entrepreneur whose experience with music, event production, and marketing has resulted in a new type of festival for music lovers. We sat down and talked to Valerie about what to expect.
Fun For All 21+
Before TomorrowWorld—the only other festival in the US with a minimum age of 21—Valerie Wang recognized the untapped group of people who would enjoy an event geared to a more mature age group.
“The festival crowd has seemingly gotten younger and younger (maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older). I wanted nothing more than to attend an event where I am surrounded by people my age and found that the only 21+ music festival in the US is TomorrowWorld. I realized there was an unaddressed demand in the music-festival industry, and this presented an opportunity for a new event.”
Of course, just because an event is 21+ doesn’t mean it will be fun. What makes FNL different from all the other festivals out there?
“Instead of just focusing on the music, I wanted to also focus on delivering hands-on, interactive experiences.”
Tapping into her past experiences and memories growing up, she tried to mimic these experiences at FNL with four “lands” made up of different activities that fit each theme.
- Pirates Cove: Get wet in our beachside foam party
- International World: Eat & drink your way around the world
- Castle Land: Zip line, rock climb, and glitter bomb your friends
- Futureland: Light up the night with laser tag and a paint party
Keeping with the “you don't have to grow up” theme, Valerie decided to steer away from solely focusing on booking the biggest bands and hottest DJs. Instead, she decided to fill the festival with up-and-coming and retro bands, taking attendees on a journey back to the good ole days.
“We wanted our headliners to be the biggest bands and DJs of today AND of the 90s/2000s. At Forever Never Land, you’ll find a very diverse music lineup that will bring you back to your childhood years.”
Maybe this is a gutsy move, but people are going to festivals these days not only to see their favorite artists, but also for the experience and activities with fellow music lovers.
“We wanted to embrace this trend by throwing even more festival elements to enhance guests’ experience. I don’t think the events will overshadow the musicians at Forever Never Land. With the right lineup and schedule, the activities will only enhance everyone's overall festival experience.
What About Molly?
Festivals that host electronic music have been put under a microscope. The most popular story has been the fatalities at Electric Zoo. Although drug use is a growing concern, it likely won’t be a problem for Forever Never Land, for these reasons: First, they will have an experienced and trained security company and EMS team. Second, the targeted demographic is a little older, more experienced, and more responsible. Third, there will be so many activities to keep attendees entertained, there will be less of an incentive to do any illegal extracurricular activities.
Where, When, How?
South California, North California, and the SF Bay Area already have a number of festivals. In order to spread out, Valerie decided on San Luis Obispo County in Central California, picking the Avila Beach Golf Resort as the epicenter of childhood bliss in mid-September 2014.
Even though this festival is run by a very small business startup and is one of the first festivals in San Luis Obispo County, Valerie and her team have been able to make great strides. Her experience in event production and marketing helped her find partners and vendors, and reach out through radio promotions and sponsorship deals.
The biggest challenge has been getting local residents and County members to warm up to the idea of hosting a brand-new festival. All of these challenges are worth it to Valerie when she imagines Forever Never Land coming to life.
“I can’t wait to see everyone enjoying the 200-foot waterslide, zip line through Castle Land, or rock out to Sublime. Nothing makes me happier than seeing others enjoy an event I’ve put on. I’m equally as excited to see all of the post-event social media chatter and buzz.”
Why Call It “Forever Never Land”?
The name of the festival vocalizes Valerie’s vision. Forever Never Land seems like something straight out of Peter Pan, but the name was inspired by something her father said after she came home from one music festival.
“My dad looked at all of my festival outfits in my suitcase and commented that I’m just like Alice living forever in Neverland. He tends to mix his movies together. Thank you, Dad. His comment inspired “Forever Never Land.”