Last month, the Breaking Borders team ventured deep into the heart of Mendocino county to get the full Northern California transformational music festival experience at Enchanted Forest Gathering.
Now in its 6th year, Enchanted Forest Gathering has perfected the art of creating an environment for healing and expression. Enchanted Forest impressively maintains a family-style community while bringing in countless world class performers and state of the art production quality.
Enchanted Forest is its very own brand of transformational music festival. Tucked away in a hidden valley, this festival encapsulated the spirit of the Nor Cal region. Kind and inviting, there was a focus on getting weird without judgment.
Colorful patterns abound, organic food stands dotted the forested river valley, while small temples were scattered throughout the campground designed for yoga and workshops. The scent of palo santo and redwood soaked the air. And vibrations of ground-shaking bass could be felt throughout camp. All senses were engaged for this gathering.
To become an enchanted forest, Black Oak Ranch was filled with not just a couple stages, but dozens of microenvironements.
Small tented areas like the pillow-filled Nectar Temple offered an occasional break from the action. The bass-infused Saucy Spa served as communal showers by day and hosted after-hour DJ sets deep into the night.
Kidslandia provided a safe space for the little ones and encouraged a family atmosphere. The Branches Art Gallery was a home base for dozens of psychedelic artists. Kombucha stations instead of bars encouraged revitalization instead of intoxication. And on site marijuana dispensaries supported an environment for herbal healing.
Yoga was also a staple of Enchanted Forest. The wildly popular Yoga of Bass class even incorporated the main stage’s booming Function One speakers into it’s upbeat yoga routine!
The long hot days were spent chilling by the Swimmin’ Hole stage. Most participants lounged in the small river next to the stage, taking in the liquid bass tunes of SOOHAN, SaQi, Autograf and others. Around nightfall, the crowd would add layers and wander over to the Mighty Oak Stage.
The Oak stage, Enchanted Forest’s centerpiece, had arguably the most impressive stage production we’ve even seen. Audiowaska’s creation combined carved wood and projection mapped visuals with artistic metal work and live flowers. The complimentary glow of twirling fire and mesmerizing lasers glued antendees to it late into the night.
Friday night featured variations of psychedelic trap thanks to PantryRaid and Clozee. Day two saw the stage lit up again with the earthy bass of Love and Light and Nominus, and the genreless headliners, Shpongle and The Polish Ambassador.
With just a few thousand participants, Enchanted Forest felt like a hidden gem – a secret festival specifically designed for the Mendocino community. Rarely is a festival able to combine such world class production with such an intimate and natural environment. Because of this, Enchanted Forest hardly felt like a world renowned festival, but more so a small gathering of old friends getting together to dance.