Good Vibes Abide At The 7th Annual Guitarfish Music Festival
By Nikki Dean
To say that Guitarfish Music Festival is a family friendly festival does not do it justice. Guitarfish is a people-friendly festival, offering an unforgettable experience for people of all ages. There is something for everyone at Guitarfish. I couldn’t have asked for more from my very first family festival.
This is sad to admit, but I can’t remember the last music festival I attended. You know the story, right? Fun, young couple has children and disappears from the social scene. Twelve years ago, dancing ‘till dawn was replaced by being woken at dawn by my first born. My second wasn’t far behind and so went five or six years where excitement consisted of simple pleasures, like drinking a cup of tea while it was still hot or making it to a yoga class. Music festivals moved into the “Too Hard” basket where they were buried under piles of small mittens and Legos before being ultimately forgotten.
While my husband, Dan, and I complement each other well in many ways – he’s water and I’m fire – we both seem to lack the planning gene. Here it was in the middle of July and we hadn’t gone camping yet, with no trips on the horizon. Summer felt like it was starting to slip through my fingers and it was time to clamp down the fist. Then I remembered Guitarfish. Not only is it known to be a family-friendly festival, but Guitarfish offered everything in one package – yoga, music, swimming, camping, and community. Not to mention that it happens practically in our backyard!
I love that it took 8 times longer to pack than to travel to our destination. After four hours of organizing our camping gear, food, and elaborate outfits ranging from sequined bikinis and gold leggings (mine, not Dan’s) to purple velvet tops and leather pants (Dan’s, not mine), we drove less than thirty minutes from our house in Truckee to the Cisco Grove campground. Finally the time had come. When you are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful natural playgrounds in the world, it can seem silly to spend hours driving in order to go camping.
It’s no accident that Guitarfish takes place in the Sierra Nevada mountains. According to Production Slayer, Shanda Kenyon (yes that’s her real title), the festival was born seven years ago from a desire to share the magic of the Tahoe region with others; it was meant to establish an extension of community that could lead the way to lasting, genuine connections. Music being one of the best vehicles to bring people together, the festival also became a way to introduce people to artists they may have never heard of before. In fact, it grew to feature artists of other mediums, like live artists who created paintings that were auctioned at the end as well as an entire oasis of healers.
Each year, the festival has fortunately expanded, but not without growing pains. In order to continue keeping it intimate while maintaining its financial sustainability, this year Guitarfish partnered up with the producers of Joshua Tree Music Festival, whose crew was extraordinary. As a matter of fact, they worked night and day for two weeks with unending smiles and gratitude, while unsure they were even going to get compensated for their hard work.
As a student of life, I know for a fact that intention is the invisible driving force that shapes mood, perception and overall experience. So, it’s no surprise that from the moment we checked in, we felt welcomed by the gracious smiles and uplifting attitudes of volunteers; this overall positivity set the stage for the entire atmosphere and was adopted by all festival attendees. The map/schedule they give when you check in says things like, “Love Everybody” and “It Takes a Village…Be Kind. Respect Others. No weapons, firearms, or hate.” And everyone lived it!
There were seven different areas to camp in, but of course we made our home in the Kids Camp, complete with giant bubble play, henna, craft activities and its own stage. Some people had trailers or RV’s, while others organized with bins and crates. We were housed in "The Condo:" a wondrous tent designed to sleep ten or, in our case, comfortably house a family of four while leaving plenty of space for an explosion of dress up clothes, books, and of course, an essential oil apothecary.
The entire 4-day weekend flowed effortlessly with permanent smiles. I made sure to get my yoga in early, so that the rest of the day left me with the magical freedom to wander and flow with the wind. Classes were offered at every hour between 8am to 5pm, with a wide range of classes including Yin, Kundalini, and Kriya. Due to a snafu on the first day, I ended up teaching the class I initially showed up to attend. It was quite a treat to share from my heart and doing so to a packed pavilion of grateful practitioners was unforgettable. I got to enjoy the next class while live music spontaneously flowed from the adjoining Healing Oasis.
Highlights for me were hands down the connections I made. Quick trips to the bathroom ended in hour-long conversations with new friends. Former neighbors we hadn’t spent much time with before became our new besties. Hours were spent lounging in a creek bed that was just big enough to fully submerge in if you got creative. Friendly debates were had in the marketplace around the authenticity of the New York style pizza from Pie for the People (it passed the test!). Walking through the Artist camp, I was drawn in to a jam session that included musicians on a slack line. The Sound Healing classes with Emily Weer and Breeze-La left my whole body singing. Dancing to the horns of San Francisco band "Smoked Out Soul," killer beats of DJ Disco Terrorist, and our friends' silent disco revived my soul. Plunging into refreshing pools and sliding down natural water slides in the Yuba River with my boys are now lifetime memories.
From start to finish...
We were showered in vibes of joy, friendship, generosity, creativity, beauty, fun, love, gratitude, and bliss, the highest vibrations of all. Our first family festival is now going to be our annual family festival. And we just might have to check out Joshua Tree, too.
To learn more about Guitarfish Music Festival visit http://guitarfishfestival.com/.