A lot of people plan out their music festival experiences months in advance counting down the days in preparation for their experiences to see their favorite and new favorite artists at festivals like Summer Camp, Hangout and Coachella, but for me and my last experience at a music festival I arrived completely through spontaneity and at the very last minute.
But my last music festival wasn’t just a typical music festival, but it was one of the best musical experiences of my life. It was a weekend full of fun in the woods, magic, camping, theatrical performances, incredible food, even better people, and of course some good music.
I’m talking about the Oregon Country Fair.
It’s nestled into the deep woods just outside of Eugene, Oregon every July and it’s the type of event that locals look forward to every summer, and for good reason. There’s something really magical about this fair because it’s a camping event in the middle of the Oregon woods that transforms into its own small city of hippies and eclectic people for just a few nights. An entire culture instantly changes and you don’t necessarily feel like you’re in the United States anymore, but some magical forest straight out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
And I would know that it didn’t feel anything like America, because I drove across the American west to get there.
My journey just to the Oregon Country Fair was full of crazy experiences that eventually lead me to this great festival. It started in Washington D.C. on the steps of the Capital Building where my friend Travis and I were talking about how we were about to drive his car from his home in Maryland to Boulder, Colorado. We took one stop in Chicago and made it out to Boulder just a few days later where we spent about a week. Then my same friend asked me if I’d like to go camping out in Utah for a couple nights and then stay on his friend’s houseboat with his family on Lake Powell for a few more nights. It seemed like a great opportunity to have some fun and so I accepted the offer and we took his car on another road trip to the neighboring state and explored the mountains and desert of Utah.
But we were just getting started. From Utah we went straight to LA where I locked in the house I live in now, and after LA we went up to Sequoia, then Yosemite, then Redwoods National Parks camping every single night in beautiful locations. Just outside of Redwoods Park my friend called his uncle from Eugene who invited us to come stay at his house for a couple nights. Once we got to Eugene everyone was talking about the Country Fair that was happening that coming weekend, and because everyone was talking about it so much we decided that we had to stay and check it out for ourselves.
And so we went to the fair and it really was the magical experience that everyone talked about. People from all over Oregon and the Pacific Northwest flooded the fairgrounds, which is a stretch of connected woods about 20 minutes outside of Eugene. Inside these woods is multiple stages and pretty much anything imaginable for the fairies to do, and there was no boring moment ever.