Given the name of the campout, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh my, I wonder how strange it really is..”
If your definition of strange is along the lines of “unusual, not like the norm of society, surreal…” then yes… it gets very strange.
StrangeCreek Campout was held at Camp Kee-wanee in Greenfield, MA on May 24th and ran through the 27th. This was my first time attending the festival and definitely won’t be the last. For the past few years, I’ve been encouraged to go by a few different friends but never made the effort to go because I’ve spent money going to other music festivals like Mountain Jam and Boston Calling. Let me just say, this festival knocks those other festivals out of the park!! It was one of the most unique, revitalizing, and freeing weekends I’ve had in a long time.
What spurred my decision to go this year? Well… I’ve been dating this guy for a little bit and we’ve been to a few concerts together, from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong in Portland, ME to Max Creek in Hartford, CT. He has gone to StrangeCreek a few times and raved about it, so I was very intrigued. We knew that we travel well together and enjoy the same kinds of fun and funky experiences. A good friend of mine also goes every year with his family, and they’re great, so I knew it would be a good time. I hadn’t been camping in a while so I was itchin’ for some quality time in nature with a bunch of like-minded people and fantastic music! What a perfect way to kick off the summer, right?
I was taken aback when we first arrived. We got there Friday morning, the day after most people had gotten there. The phrase tent-city doesn’t even give it justice. I felt like I had landed on a different Earth, one where everyone coexisted, expressed themselves authentically, and loved each other. People would greet one another even if they didn’t necessarily know each other, because there is such a strong community vibe that has been established. “Welcome home!” I heard many times that first day. I was nothing but grins.
The tents and pop-ups were cozied up next to each other, making it very easy to get to know your neighbors. Many of them were adorned with lights, games, art, flags, tapestries, give something/take something boxes, etc… The campers were decorated too, in their finest festival attire. Costumes, hand-made clothing and accessories, tie-dye, toys of all kinds; you name it, it was probably there. There was no shortage of creativity or fun. Everywhere you look there’s something different and exciting. It was easy to get lost along the trails, but that was part of the fun! Two couples even got legitimately married, one on the main stage and one by the creek. How incredibly unique is that?!
A few specific things that I loved about this festival compared to other festivals I’ve been to were the security, the morning yoga, the creek, and the layout of the festival grounds. First off, the security was very much present, but it was the most chill, compassionate security that I’ve ever been surrounded by. They let everyone have their fun, safely. They respected us and we respected them. I didn’t ever really feel a sense of paranoia or intimidation regarding them, which I definitely have felt with other festival security in the past. I feel like they truly wanted to enjoy the weekend as much as us.
On Saturday and Sunday morning, 9am, there was yoga on the grass by the main stage. Both mornings, it was just what I needed. Accompanied with live acoustic music and warm rays of sun, it was a peaceful and rejuvenating way to begin the day. This was actually the largest group yoga session I’ve ever been a part of, which was really cool. If I had to put a number to it, there were probably 40-60+ people participating, depending on the day (Sunday had a larger crowd). I also grabbed a super tasty smoothie at The Solar Cafe after each practice. Made with real, whole fruit and coconut milk, couldn’t have been better! That made me very happy, as I’m somewhat used to many smoothie businesses not using fresh (or even real) fruit without added sugar.
The layout of the festival was new and different to me, as the stages were among the campsites. Everything was mixed together, yet pretty damn organized. There was an area for vendors in the woods among the camping, on the way to the creek. Sober camping was very close to the main stage and family camping also had a designated area. There were food, art, and clothing vendors by the main stage, as well as a “holistic village” which had a variety of events, talks, free water & tea, massages, etc… There weren’t security checkpoints separating the festival grounds/stages from the campsites, which I loved very much. It made it really easy to go back and forth between them or just roam around freely. You could also bring pretty much anything you wanted with you to go see the music, like your own coolers, food, alcohol, hula hoops, etc… Just no glass, understandably. There wasn’t alcohol being sold there, which saves a lot of people money because they can bring their own.
The creek was so beautiful and refreshing. I, and many others, decided to take a dip! It sure was brisk. The weather was perfect enough to gather at the creek like it was the middle of summer. It felt like a watering hole. Someone was offering homemade mud masks (I assume it was good quality clay, not actual creek mud…) I even saw some bare boobs and a naked kid running around, haha! No one was harassed or looked at funny. That’s when you know the people you’re surrounded by are great people.
One of my favorite performances of the weekend was Trichomes at the stage by the creek. They really took me to another dimension. I came up with the idea for this blog post during that performance. I thought about how much this place sparked joy and inspiration within me and how I wanted to write about it and share it. As you may be able to tell, I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I just haven’t been inspired. I haven’t done a whole lot of traveling and haven’t been feeling very creative. My work and education has been my focus, which is great, but of course I felt something missing. This weekend spent at StrangeCreek was the most human I’ve felt in a long time. I feel like I didn’t have any responsibilities… no limitations (besides the fact that my allergies were pretty bad which made me pretty tired), and nothing was holding me back from being my true self (which is usually the case, but it was magnified here). I was filled with love and peace. There was nowhere to rush to. This experience felt like one that people look forward to all year and really prepare for. That inspired me. It inspired me to take that mindset, one where I am always abundant and free, and carry it throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall (when I plan to attend Wormtown, a similar festival at the same location). Wormtown, here I come! I plan on bringing more friends and more creative expression! I definitely want to take more photos next time, as I barely have any, yikes. I’ve even thought of vending there next year, perhaps my upcycled clothing and reiki sessions. The possibilities for this festival and for summer fun are endless.
Inspiration can come in many forms, but traveling and events like these give me the most inspiration out of anything. Experiencing a new place, new faces, new music and art forms… there’s really nothing like it. It’s like a breath of fresh air, especially with the suffocating societal norms, political climate, and frustrations of humanity that have been filling our lungs. It’s important to get away from it all sometimes and just live and dance as if there’s no tomorrow. Take a break from the media, the work, the city, and the expectations. Be here now.
If you have been to or are interested in going to StrangeCreek, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. I’d also love to hear what inspires you! We’re all so different, so you could be inspired by totally different things than I am, how cool!
Peace and love,