WTF What The Festival 2013

Placed atop a hill in the middle of Oregon’s rolling hills, cascading vineyards and a majestic view of Mount Hood the setting indicated almost exactly what the lineup suggested; a characteristically Pacific Northwest outdoor music festival envisioned and presented by people who knew exactly what they wanted to do. Some of the most beautiful landscape in the country was home, for three dusty days and long, trippy nights, to amazing regional talent and hand-picked headliners. This was What The Festival 2013.

WTF What The Festival 2013

The Funktion One sound systems, abundance of local as well as big name artists, the quintessentially Portland food trucks featuring all kinds of healthy and locally-made food, the art installations, Alice In Wonderland-Hookah lounges, Vaudeville stage and Burning Man-born Opulent Temple (the latter of which both go-til-sun-rise stages) all pointed to a very well thought out, meticulously organized mission to deliver a high quality festival experience to all who came with nothing left to spare. The flawlessly executed schedules and planning of which acts went on when (making it easy to see artists you knew and liked as well as ones you may not have been familiar with) afforded the viewer ample opportunity to experience what they wanted to see and hear as well as expose themselves to new music and art making for a well-rounded and thoroughly enjoyable festival experience.

WTF What The Festival 2013

A view of the landscape, the amazing food and fantastic atmosphere at What The Festival as the sun begins to set.

While the influence of Burning Man was clearly felt in the art installations and certain aspects of the feel of the festival it was most directly present at the Opulent Temple stage production that originated at Black Rock City itself. It was clear though that the larger vision was to unite those concepts and root them in something more specifically Northwest. Most of the festival’s artists were from the upper west coast region (Odesza; Seattle, Anomie Belle; Portland) and the programming of the bigger headlining acts seem to straddle the spheres of the more obscure and underground (Machinedrum, JETS, Shigeto, Tycho and particularly by the presence of the Decibel Pool Party which featured Seattle’s own Kid Smpl– who did an uncharacteristically and impressive House set and J.Alvarez, a respected Seattle DJ as well as Nordic Soul- Decibel’s founder and curator) to the ostensibly more mainstream A-trak, Flosstradamus, Starkey and Panty Raid. The vision of the festival culminated in highlight moments from acts that belong too much to neither spectrum of categorized music in the performances of Purity Ring, San Francisco’s own (and Dirtybird label head) Claude VonStroke and a surprise Pool Stage Jungle/Drum & Bass set from Machinedrum on Saturday afternoon that brought, in Travis Stewart’s own words, everyone on the hilltop back to 1994.

WTF What The Festival 2013

The WTF Stage.

WTF What The Festival 2013

Tyler Tastemaker.

The different stages seemed to present their own vibe each evening. Panty Raid’s dice driving everyone crazy at the Effin’ stage after Elliot Lipp’s massively colorful set there. It seemed fitting that the giant dinosaur be getting down to Flosstradamus at the WTF stage. That fantastically large construction of prehistoric partying is pretty much what I picture in my head when I think Flosstradamus now. The late night other-worldly atmosphere of Opulent Temple until the absurdly early hours of the morning. The pool stage offered probably the widest variety of crowd and reactions. To watch Octaban make everybody bounce (which was like watching a “Harlem Shake” video for an hour) with his ostentatious and immediately accessible Trap sounds to the more sustained energy of Tyler Tastemakers Disco, there was no shortage of interesting dancing to watch (almost especially the lifeguards).

WTF What The Festival 2013

Giant dinosaur be getting down to Flosstradamus.

WTF What The Festival 2013

The Effin Stage, and it’s glorious visual presentation.

WTF What The Festival 2013

Kastle.

WTF What The Festival 2013

Party time.

The beauty of What The Festival is in its presentation as an outdoor-camping music festival in one of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of the country as an escape from the rigors of the intensity of everyday life (for the audience) and the high pressure of the music scenes themselves that cultivate such artists (for the artists) as well as, in the woods, the luxurious comforts of those very things. That all the artists performed their scheduled time slots and that the equipment (for the most part) held up through some of the weekend’s dustier conditions and everyone seemed to have an amazing time shows the amount of heart and care that went into putting this event together. It would be difficult to write off What The Festival as just one of many music festivals in a part of the country that has many of them. Clearly the people at What The Festival have something to share and there is only to do just that in the coming years. I personally will be looking forward to the announcement of next year’s lineup and trying to take as many people with me as I can.

Thank you WTF! Till next year.

WTF What The Festival 2013

Comments

  • gallen408

    I had a phenomenal time out there, easily some of the most fun I’ve had in some time.
    I do however have a bone to pick with the way they (mis)handled RJD2’s late appearance by sticking him on the OMG(vip) stage and keeping the OMG lounge restricted to OMG pass holders. I was lucky enough to have snuck into the OMG lounge for his set but I know more than a few people who largely came to WTF to see RJ only to be turned away from actually seeing him. I have a friend who sold her tickets to FarieWorlds at a loss in order to see RJ @ WTF and was incredibly disappointed with being told to enjoy his set from the field right nest to the lounge with no line of sight to RJ.
    All things considered I had a fantastic time and will certainly be returning next year, but I really do regret the bad taste left after that incident.

  • <3WTF booOMG

    Totally agree about the OMG experience being a complete let down. I feel guilty because I told everyone in my crew (12 people) that the BBQ would be completely worth the extra access (OMG) only to get to the “Sionara BBQ” an hour after it started and there was cold corn on the cob and sliced bread left. We also tried to use our hooka lounge tickets only to find out that it was not available to use. We got 3 showers and a bag of ice for over $150:( I love this festival but me and my friends were completely duped by the OMG pass.


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