A Surreal Summer Experience: Northern Nights Music Festival

By: Ezequiel Garcia

As I was driving through the majestic forested landscape of Mendocino county, I wondered what the weekend would have in store for me. I knew little about the lineup, the crowd, and the location. You could definitely consider me a first timer. It made me a little nervous, but soon all my worries and tension would fade in a beautiful release and I would be completely immersed in the sublime Northern Nights Music Festival experience.

To start off with, the Cooks Valley campground location is just captivating. Everywhere you turn there’s an amazing scenic view of redwoods. The serene surroundings ignite your better nature. Then, as you walk through the campsites and crowds you can just feel the positive ambience. People are smiling at you as they walk by, laughing and skipping everywhere. Everyone was just so happy to be there and happy to share the moment with each other. No judgements, all love. It felt like a warm hug from the start.

Each day was its own unique episode. There were so many different activities to satisfy. One moment I was in a much needed yoga session at the grove stage, then I was floating on a giant inflatable unicorn on the Eel River, then I was in awe watching someone paint a giant mural of a dragon, then I was dancing my heart out to music I had never heard before while someone with a colorful light up lasso put me in a visual trance. I was never bored. It was just constant euphoria. Something that I had yet to feel in a handful of other California music festivals I’ve attended. 

As I mentioned before I knew little about the artists I would be seeing, but it didn’t matter, all of it was fuelling my spirit throughout the weekend. The crowds were great, you ever go to some festivals and people are standing around bobbing their heads at most, trying to look cool. Well I assure you there is none of that. The crowds were poppin’. 

The standout performances that made me immediately look up these artists when I got home were Crooked Colours, Desert Hearts, and ZHU. I was really into the groovy fusions of psychedelic rhythms and dance beats. Each had eye catching visuals, the production was fantastic. 

Northern Nights Music Festival won my heart in a weekend. I left feeling grateful to have been able to have been a part of something so special, and I hope that in sharing this more people can join me next year. The organizers and everyone involved in the making of Northern Nights should be extremely proud. I could keep rambling about how much I enjoyed this festival but no words or pictures could ever do this magical experience justice. Come and live it for yourself

Northernnights.org For more details on this magical festival 

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