Written by on June 26, 2015

Every Summer Solstice, thousands of music festival enthusiasts gather near Dufur, Oregon at Wolf Run Ranch’s What The Festival!? to celebrate the changing of seasons. Now in it’s fifth year, and second location, What the Festival paid homage to music and art with a three day long party over the weekend of June 19th-22nd. An early entry option granted access to the festival grounds on Thursday, and even had it’s own pre-party featuring the likes of Minnesota, a glitch-hop and dubstep producer, Lindsay Lowend who rocked a hybrid bass/ jazz fusion set, Phily based Louis Futon, and Portland’s own Exodub. Scattered across the grounds were six stages, a healthy mix of vendors, countless pieces of art, and The Illuminated Forest. Blanketed by colorful hues reaching out to the canopy, The Illuminated Forest is stocked with interactive artwork to the nines, and has a giant dragon stage.

What The Festival was born out of the need for a smaller, more intimate festival. Often described as an electronic, grass roots Burning Man, WTF offers a wide selection of electronic music from drum and bass, to house, downtempo, trap, and of course dubstep. Although the lineup boasted a handful of bigger names such as Tokimonsta who play a hybrid half produced half mixed set, GRIZ and his funkstep,  as well as the multi-layered sounds of the duo Odesza, some of the best finds over the weekend were found further down the list. Anna Lunoe  played a solid house set at The Splash Stage and Mr_Wu mixed everything from trap to downtempo. There’s more on the menu than just electronic music; The Lovebomb Go-Go marching band, Luz Elena Mendoza, and Los Estupidos (Below) a lucha libre themed mariachi band were just a few names that diversified the festival’s lineup.

Los Estupidos at the Shinto A Go Go stage

Other highlights from the weekend included Dactyl at the splash stage, who played many of his familiar hits such as “Lazy Suzan” and “Haze”, as well as treating the crowd to a few unreleased tracks. Little People hypnotized the crowd at the main stage as the sun set over Mt. Hood. A cloud of dust floated over the Effin’ stage as thousands of feet shuffled to Sweater Beats, STWO, and Tokimonsta. The energy stayed high all the way through Sunday as The Thomas Jack Pool Party, Manatee Commune, Slow Magic, and Odesza kept the ball rolling well into the night.

Little People at the Main Stage

United under a banner of freedom and, to a degree, escapism, the energy of the some 6,000 in attendance could be felt reeling across Wolf Run Ranch. All donned smiles, bright eyes, and were dressed, or undressed to their comfort level. Somewhere between the dancing and the dust, I felt as if I lost contact with the real world. In a place where my most difficult decision was set selection, it was easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the day to day and get lost in the sound. What better way to usher in the longest days of the season than soaking up the sun, dancing yourself clean, and camping in Eastern Oregon. Due to its accessibility, small size, and prevailing good vibes, What The Festival is truly a festivus for the rest of us.


Big Gigantic at the Main Stage

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