What The Festival 2016 KPSU Recap?!

Written by DJ Nico Troi and DJ Mkulima (The Farmer) on June 28, 2016

What The Festival vibes have really buzzing around Portland and beyond after it’s 5th and biggest year yet! Located on a revitalized homestead, Wolf Run Ranch is nestled on the Eastern slope of Mt. Hood and is now the canvas of Oregon’s premiere boutique electronic music summit. Each year the curators and staff of WTF pour their hearts into bringing Wolf Run Ranch alive featuring a beautiful mix of art, music and the coolest people from around the NorthWest and worldwide. Even if you’ve been going to WTF since it began 5 years ago, you’ll be sure to find new features and experiences to explore such as this year’s (possibly stand out addition) The Groove Qube.

Check out the full WTF’16 KPSU Photo-bucket on FB


Starting out the Early Entry bash was Wolfkin, Mr. Wu, Paranome, Buku, Mihkal and Break Science setting the mood on the Equinox featuring a stunning backdrop of Mt. Adams and the inauguration of the new Groove Qube tucked away down a slope in The Illuminated Forest. A huge square of empty water jugs, colored, lit up cubes with a DJ in the middle and rotating colors synchronized to the music! All of this is caged in with climbable bars and little cubbies to chill out in and rest those dancing legs. What more could you ask for when getting down to dirty bass music such as Mihkal or BC Dubcats!

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Late night explorations in The Illuminated Forest is a WTF signature – an immersive interactive audio-visual art-scape! Taking a stroll in The Illuminated Forest stimulates senses you may have never know you had featuring immersive installations, interactive art pieces, and fun loving people. One such piece down at the bottom of the forest by The Dragon Stage (which breathes fire). Sitting at the back of The Dragon Stage was a Flaming Chandelier with a dangling tug rope – when pulled… the flames bursted from a simmer to a 5-foot blaze! Surrounded by warming globes, The Flaming Chandelier was a fun piece to show off your own flaming style while warming one’s soul and meeting others.


Early Friday a mindful Opening Ceremony to the festival was held at the LOL (Late Option Lounge)  stage which really was a beautiful sight to behold. The speaker promoted love, joy, friendship and just being generally kind; the ceremony ended with a big group hug tying all the positive feels together. When the What The Festival Founders made an appearance an KPSU’s Learning to Grow, they emphasized the all inclusive, friendly and loving atmosphere they strive for. Starting things off right with the opening ceremony is but one example of this ethos which permeates the entire festival. What the Festival without a doubt has a lot of love running through its veins!


Music started at 11am each day at the Splash Stage, kicking it off Friday with Clurk Kent. Next up was some local Portland talent such as Takimba, Lil Clark and BennyRox who all threw down some stellar booty-bumping sets. Jai Wolf closed out day one at the pool washing away everyone’s sins with his melodic sounds as the heavens opened up with refreshing sprinkles and at times more encompassing blessings of purification. Later that night FKJ, Gangsigns, Lettuce, and MR. Carmack all blasted off the Effin and WTF main stages behind a back-drop of the setting sun, Mt. Hood, and a rising full moon to howl at all night! After the main stages it was time to head back into The Illuminated Forest for some full moon madness. Featuring five stages going all night long including a DirtyBird showcase on the dragon stage with The Perfect Cyn, Ardalan, and Claude VonStroke. A Portland favorite monthly Wake The Town took over the Equinox Stage with Barisone, PRSN, and Sam Binga. Solovox, and Mikos Da Gawd held down The Groove Qube. For some down-tempo chill times the Shinto-a-go-go provides a light-free space to find a deeper relaxation and center. The LOL stage provided a wide variety of acts including live bands and stand up comedy such as Festival The Show.

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After a thorough soul cleansing the sun rays progressively started saturating The Ranch steadily building the festival energy. One thing WTF takes pride in is ensuring the community and festival are indistinguishable; rather than a festival and venue for the attendees to experience, it’s the people of WTF which bring this piece of Earth to life! It’s this ethos which drives WTF to bring a strong representation of local artists from Portland and the greater West Coast.  Saturday featured up and coming artist LSV, Lucid Sound Vibrations, some local Eugene Talent. LSV brought some crazy bass vibes to the pool stage with some gnarly crunchy sounds that make you have to move. Other local love included Takimba, Pacific Patterns,, Gangsigns, Matt Wax, Nathan Detroit, Octaban, Mr. Wu, BennyRox, DJ Anjali, Danny Corn, PRSN, Barisone, BOGL, SooHan, EastGhost, Evan Alexander, Solovox, Love Gigantic, Drexler, High Step Society and just too many more to name here. Unforgettable headliners included Thievery Corporation (live), Bonobo (DJ Set), Lido, Lettuce, Mr. Carmack, and Claptone!

Check out the full lineup HERE!


Another inspiring tradition at WTF is the “Easy Speak Talks” which are short Ted-like talks. These talks feature topics such as Empowering the Empath which was a wonderful speech about understanding empathy, Dances of Universal Peace presented by a sweet old couple with a guitar, and DEEPSØNØS sound meditation experience with HÄANA alongside a talk about women in technology and music. To complement the mind building activities at The Ranch are the movement class building the body. Learn Bangra with DJ Anjali, get your Jelly Belly on with LuLu, improve you popping and waving skills with Tod “PopNTod” Breithaupt, or get your flow on at a number of different flow toy sessions.

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To recap What the Festival in a few words is a hard thing to do but we here at KPSU would say that What The Festival sure brings a lot of love! With a full moon empowering the 5th installment of What The Festival it was a perfect chance to foster and expand that pack energy!

Check out more pre- and post-WTF’16 special Podcast episodes on Nico at Nights and Learning to Grow featuring exclusive interviews and music with What The Festival Founders, The Perfect CynHÄANA, BennyRox b2b Pacific Patterns b2b Wolfkin with Doki Doki support, Gangsigns, and two recap special mixes and memories with KPSU’s DJ Nico Troi and DJ Mkulima.

WTF’16 KPSU Photo-bucket






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