Enchanted Forest Gathering took place last weekend at this little campground in Northern California called Black Oak Ranch about 3 hours away from the Bay Area. Enchanted Forest featured three music stages, a spa, fire dancers, a mobile art gallery, a kid’s play area, belly dancers, plenty of vendors, boutique camping (and of course, regular camping), ample drinking water, delicious food options, workshops, and hardly any cell service.
Many people, like those who pay thousands of dollars to attend EDC or Coachella, will see a lineup like Enchanted’s, where they don’t recognize most of names, and look right past it.
Here’s a suggestion: go to the shows, concerts, and festivals where you don’t already know half the lineup, even better – go early, catch the openers, and support the local, independent, and underground talent. This is the best remedy for anyone who has self-proclaimed Music-ADHD, like all of us over at KSJS.
At Enchanted Forest, there were certain things that you’d expect – long lines to check in, somewhat unknowledgeable staff on the first day, wooks everywhere, dust (lots of dust), less than ideal restroom situations, you know – the norm for camping festivals, however, there were certain things about Enchanted that stood out.
The Grounds: The camping area was goddamn beautiful. There were tall, sultry, droopy trees. We got a good spot next to one. Ample drinking was available throughout the entire festival and camping areas (YAAAS). There was river access – I would call it a creek, but all technicalities aside, it was the perfect amount of chill for my feet after setting up camp. On Saturday – much to everyone’s surprise – it rained all day. It never really got cold, and the rain cleared up before sundown so, overall, I would call it a successful little storm. Each row of campsites had a name making it easy to tell friends how to find you – we stayed between Oak and Maple. Little things like this make all the difference. Overall, nature was good to us and I would go back to Black Oak Ranch anytime.
The People: A wide spectrum of people were in attendance. Everything from families with children to hipster millennials, middle-aged couples to college grads, rave kids, yogis, people with disabilities, and every race imaginable. I never saw a fight. I never saw security ruffle feathers. I never saw anyone unhappy. Not to say that Enchanted Forest didn’t have to deal any issues, however, they were minimal and respectfully handled. The good vibes were strong and people were so kind. Some standard festival guidelines to follow in case you didn’t know:
To be honest, it was intimidating as hell walking into an amphitheater full of powerful women… Until I realized I was a powerful woman too. As I looked around the room, I thought about a book by Toni Morrison called Home, where a young black girl named Cee works as an assistant to a doctor. Lack of knowledge has her convinced he is a hero because he helps the sick regardless of them being black or poor. But really, he is a doctor practicing eugenics, which involves the manipulation of human breeding, often by sterilizing people without their consent. Long story short–her physical and emotional recovery is aided by several strong women. Women who “took responsibility for their lives, and for whatever, whoever else needed them.” These women are described as having “no excess in their gardens because they shared everything [and] there was no trash or garbage in their homes because they had a use for everything.”
The New Parkway Theater in Oakland was home to the Women In Music Festival’s Panel Day where several phenomenal women in the industry came together to share insight on: Women in Live Music, Women in Artist Marketing, and Women in Media. The panel also included a Live Artist Interview with female powerhouse: Rayana Jay.
It was refreshing to hear some of the conversation around topics and ideas I struggle with. And I felt less alone knowing that other women around me dealt with the same things.
Here’s some notes I jotted down from the Live Music panel:
Practice process over perfection
No person is too high up to reach out and say hello
Go after it–regardless
In your come up, bring other women up with you
Things I took away from the Live Interview with Rayana Jay:
You don’t need to move away to a “big city”–just travel
Be your own marketing team
Do business with your girls
Find your lane and stay in your lane
Be your own biggest critic
Artist Marketing panel take away:
“You’re only as good as your single is”
As important as sisterhood is in this industry, recognize your big brothers because there’s just some shit women shouldn’t deal with
Stay curious and always seek knowledge
If you’re the only woman in the room–boss the fuck up
Don’t be that bitch on the studio couch
And lastly, from the Media panel:
Be creative in your own style
Don’t let middle-aged white men tell you that you can’t
Organize your ideas and thoughts so they are easily accessible to you
Men need us–remind them if you need to
Organic traffic over everything
Listening to all of this, I realized something…
In my role as Urban Music Director at 90.5 FM KSJS, I am constantly surrounded by men. At the panel they referred to radio a “boy’s club”. And I laughed because it’s very true. Thankfully, I’ve managed with hardly any problems getting what I want or need… and although I’m shy around other women, “LET ME TALK TO A DAMN RAPPER,” is usually my attitude when doing business.
Epiphany: maybe other women feel this way. And maybe that’s where things get weird… The women-to-women interaction needs to be less frightening and more welcoming.
The Women In Music Festival sparked a lot of conversation about other themes: race, gender, homosexuality, oppression, equality. But it was comforting knowing that my feelings of empathy were being reciprocated. We were all feeling. And that was special.
The festival didn’t just focus on the panel discussion, in fact, it lasted a total of four days and had a variety of events ranging from an intimate DJ workshop in collaboration with Serato on Thursday, to a discussion showcasing four women from distinctly different parts of the industry, at the Pandora Headquarters on Friday.
Saturday morning was about self-care, which was a huge reoccurring theme throughout the event. Shakira Scott lead yoga classes that incorporated meditation and mindful vinyasa flow to 90’s R&B, alternative music, reggae, jazz with a splash of meditative sounds.
Sunday entailed a “Boss Brunch”–breakfast, mimosas, and women speaking about their wins, losses, and what it really takes to be a girl boss in this industry. Afterwards, an “Eat, Shop, Talk” marketplace went down which showcased local female entrepreneurs, business owners, and queen-ran services like nail design, tarot card readings, and henna artists. Art, fashion, jewelry, and beauty vendors were present alongside food and dessert vendors with sounds by Chulita Vinyl Club and Climaxxx. A seemingly wonderful way to end a weekend full of influential femininity.
Whether you attended one event or all of the events, the Women in Music Festival successfully empowered hundreds of women and intentionally brought awareness to the idea of sisterhood.