What the Festival 2016 has come and gone. Sigh.
No one could have expected the rain and the cold, except anyone who's lived in Oregon for more than a year. As soon as we set up our tent on Friday afternoon, the raindrops began to fall and only stopped intermittently until Saturday afternoon when the sun muscled its way through the clouds. That, however, turned out to be a minor blemish in an otherwise incredible weekend.
BEHOLD, SOME RANDOM OBSERVATIONS!
- The Splash Pool—actually three separate pools surrounded by a wooden boardwalk and sand—was hands down the best part of the fest. And when the sky finally cleared Saturday afternoon and the sun broke through, a joyous cheer rippled through the crowd. Whether it was the warmth or the music itself, JackLNDN's set at the splash pool that afternoon that was killer.
- The music was so damn good. As someone who's grown tired of the same lazy drops and recycled hits, WTF really is about exploring the diversity and originality of electronica. Hearing DJs you'd never heard of before move crowds is a special experience. The atmosphere, the production, the grounds are all great, but if there's a reason to go back year after year, it really does come down to the music.
- The crowd overall was young, but warm and welcoming to unhip old-timers in their 30s. A bewildered young woman in the campsite next to me patiently explained to me that the vitamins she had offered me were for "rebuilding your serotonin levels" not for "hangovers" as I had guessed.
- We were posted up in general camping, almost at the edge of the property. While crowded, it was actually kind of pleasant. A canopy of trees covered almost every site, and the noise levels were never very high. But since you couldn't pull your car up to the general camping sites, we had to make several trips back to the parking lot to retrieve our gear and cooler.
- Shout out to the two ladies in full T-Rex suits, my favorite outfits of the fest. And there were some elaborate ones.
- Two things the organizers take deathly seriously: smoking only in designated areas and no glass. Foot and ATV patrols caught surreptitious smokers in campsites almost immediately, and every car was searched for glass coming into the festival. That said, the staff was extremely friendly and we had no negative interactions with them.
- Taking a shower in the Oasis Spa was the best decision I made all weekend. $8 plus $3 for a towel, no regrets.
- Things I will bring next year: a car camping pass and a rain jacket.