Into the Forest We Go

Festival Babes finally got to attend one of our bucket list festivals this year, Electric Forest. This review was much awaited but this year our summer was so packed and things kind of got away from us. Anyway, you heard right…

WE WENT TO ELECTRIC FOREST.

Was it amazing? Yes! Was it exhausting? Yes! Was it worth it? 100% yes!

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Getting There

The beginning of this story did not start out magical, unfortunately. This is how it all went down: Our airline somehow lost our bags, our bags didn’t arrive until after the shuttle pick-up we had already paid for for the following day, aaand that was the only shuttle pick-up for that day…so we were basically stranded in Detroit Thursday morning when we were supposed to be on our way to Electric Forest. To say we were having a rough start to our journey is an understatement. We ended up renting a truck to fit our things since we all flew with our camping gear (check out our previous post about flying with camping gear) and after all the trouble we finally made it to the venue. 

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Getting In

We have been to a number of festivals both small and large, with very few actually being efficiently organized where you don’t spend hours upon hours to get into the venue and find your camping spot. We had intended on doing walk-in camping with our friends we were meeting so all we had to do was to park our rental car anywhere they’d let us in car camping and then lug our stuff to avoid being closed in or sent far away. I don’t know if we just got lucky with the time we got there Thursday afternoon or if everyone else did early arrival but when we pulled up to the “line” we got in almost immediately. We were ushered to the road that led to group camping and BAM, a spot right by the entrance. All that traveling, and finally we were in!

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Art/Interactive Areas

Electric Forest is about so much more than just the music. There is a whole forest that comes alive at night, just waiting for you to wander. It’s actually hard, with how good the music lineup always is, to establish a fine balance between dancing to sets and exploring the forest! We enjoyed finding the little fairy doors at the base of trees with hidden gifts inside, or spotting random telephones in the forest that you’re supposed to answer if you hear them ringing. Pro tip: Always answer the phone, you won’t regret it 😉  There were so many things we didn’t have time to do, like the scavenger hunt, and are definitely committing to that next time! 

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We loved finding a piano in the forest where random festival-goers could play whatever they’d like. On Sunday night one of us was wandering past the piano and discovered a bathtub set up on the other side of it. I swear we didn’t notice it all weekend, so who knows if it was always there or randomly appeared at some point during the weekend! The bathtub looked pretty cozy with pillows in it, so we just had to check it out. 

Other entertaining areas to check out at Electric Forest included the Hangar, which was this huge covered area that had mini golfing, ping pong, and bowling; it was like a festival-style amusement center! There was also a sound healing dome, however it always had a ridiculously long line so we never got a chance to experience that. Throughout the forest there were also huge statues of wizards, Mother Nature, umbrellas hanging, and colorful twinkling lights to make the forest look like a fantasy land.

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Music

So usually we’d do a breakdown of our favorite artists and diagnose their sets but honestly we saw such good music throughout the festival weekend that we don’t have the time to discuss every set (bravo Electric Forest!) but we will mention who are favorite artists are that we actually saw! Some artists whom we love we didn’t manage to see whether it be: they were on the other side of the festival and we were too tired to walk that way, they were at the same time as someone we hadn’t seen live before, or they were on so early in the day and it was too hot for us to be out there dancing. 

Favorites: Odesza, Alison Wonderland, Kygo, Nghtmre and Slander, Manatee Commune, and Seven Lions. Shout out to Crooked Colours and Shaed for us not being totally familiar with you coming into the weekend but being so in love by the end. And T-Pain…oh the nostalgia. 

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The Weather

Oh man, the weather. So being Northern California girls, summers for us are hot and dry and at night it’s comfortable, unless you’re in the mountains where it does get cold. Electric Forest is interesting though because for a Midwest festival in June you experience three things: spontaneous thunder storms, sunshine, and humidity. Thankfully, we are planners and prepared for the chance of muddy terrain and constantly feeling sticky from heat but it still took some getting used to! We brought fur coats thinking it may get chilly enough at night but nope, the humidity kept it just warm enough that we were running around with little clothes on 😝 The days got warm and humid early on and it actually stormed pretty hard one of the days, but our campsite was safe and none of our stuff got damaged. Biggest advice we can give is to plan for all weather types!

The Gorgeous Nightmare

We were so excited to represent one of our favorite clothing brands, The Gorgeous Nightmare, all weekend! We did a takeover on her Instagram story and wore her festival clothing for the festival. Out of all the festival wear we own, Gorgeous Nightmare’s sets and pasties definitely make us feel the sexiest while still being so comfortable and unique. Look out for our official blog post dedicated to her festival clothing brand!

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Final Thoughts

We had the most fantastic time at Electric Forest. It lived up to its hype and all the stories we’ve heard of other people’s experiences. It is a well set up and organized festival and we can see why so many people travel far (including us) to get to witness this lovely festival. The big 10 year anniversary is next year, and you already KNOW these babes will be there. Expect a full report on what new adventures we went on the next time, because we can only imagine what craziness they’re going to bring for the 10th year!

P.S. if you’re on the fence on whether you’d be interested, check out this now well known social media drone picture of just PART of Electric Forest. ❤ Happy Forest, y’all.

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~Simply Serenity~

This should have been done so long ago but this past month has been pretty hectic and this review/recap kind of escaped us. Apologies!

Our lady group was driving on a dirt road zigzagging through grassy hills, not entirely sure if we were on the right path, until BAM, we heard the sound of electronic music playing loudly in the distance and a box office in our view with people waiting in line. Serenity Gathering is a 3-day electronic music festival that occurred April 26-28th this year in the beautiful Woodward Reservoir, which is about an hour and a half southeast of Sacramento, California. The festival included a range of music from Troyboi, Yheti, to Kaminanda and an array of workshops to attend throughout the day.

We figured we would have to wait in a long line to get into the venue and have to fight for the size camp we needed, but we were actually shocked to find out neither were the case! We drove straight in with no backed up traffic, almost no line at the box office, and a great spot! While there were already plenty of people that had gotten in before us (they provided early arrival camping for an extra fee), our campsite was still only a mere 10 minute walk, if that, from the center of the festival grounds! We knew this festival was about small-medium size but were so happily surprised with how quick and easy everything came in terms of arrival and set up. The lake was only a couple camps over from ours, and we took full advantage of spending our afternoons relaxing in our floaties while enjoying some drinks.

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Something that my fellow festival babe and I do have to be honest about is the fact that there weren’t a lot of art installations or interactive art like we were anticipating. We are by no means throwing shade, simply just stating what we observed and what we wished there was more of. We have been to our fair share of festivals on both ends of the size spectrum and were definitely expecting more items that attendees could gawk at and/or climb on given the vibe that Serenity was promoting.

There were a few pieces, though, that we did enjoy! The first was a giant art car that was actually an old bus designed to look like a willow tree; you could actually climb up to peer out from a deck that was atop the car. There was also the Frick Frack Blackjack table where festival goers could play their hand at blackjack while using items they have on their person to use for bets (since they don’t allow any cash). I have to admit that was probably one of our favorite spots to be at since there were always people playing with such joy and excitement as more and more obscure items were brought on the table as the betting continued throughout the night.

They did do a good job with the stages! There were 5 stages each styled with very intricate designs and structures that promoted its vibe of music: Serenity, Psyrenity, New Moon, Heart of Serenity, and The Cove.

Serenity stage was the main stage and that is where the headliners of the festival performed, like Blunts & Blondes, Emancipator, and Mr. Carmack. What we liked about the Serenity stage was that it was big, had a great view of the other stages across the land’s many peninsulas, and all throughout the crowd there were flow artists moving to the music while their LED toys lit up the darkness. Of course our favorite headliners were Minnesota, Emancipator, Medasin and Troyboi; each had amazing sets that kept us wanting more, and we had a great time grooving to their energy regardless of whether we were front and center or in the back with the flow artists.

The Psyrenity stage is where, you guessed it, they had psytrance artists performing pretty much all day and all night, so there was plenty of music to go around. We aren’t big psytrance lovers so unfortunately we have nothing to report about that stage since we would only walk by it and never stayed to listen to any artists, don’t hate us! Haha

The New Moon stage was really dope. This stage played different types of dubstep and bass artists. What kept it interesting, besides all the bass heavy goodness, were all the fire dancers and aerial artists that would perform on their own side stages during various sets. One artist I did not know well prior to the festival was Tiger Fresh, and damn did he HIT IT, our group was getting down so hard to his set! Props to you man for getting weird and letting us feel those beats. I wish we had some pictures of this stage and the performers, but we were too caught up in the moment.

Heart of Serenity was another favorite of ours, with anything from experimental beats, psychedelic bass, to world singer-songwriters with haunting voices. The stage was set up more like a traveling performer’s tent with string lights hanging everywhere and foam pads on the ground, so if people wanted to dance barefoot they could do so without problems. Two artists who I’d like to give a shout-out to is Heather Christie and Arula, both I didn’t know about prior to attending, and their performances were so chilling and wholesome. They had the whole tent dancing freely and sensually to their sets. Another good point about Heart of Serenity was the fact they had many workshops held in it, making it a very relaxing yet engaging environment. From a relationship building class to a twerking class, there was plenty to learn, and many ways to open yourself up to new experiences and new people.

The last stage was The Cove, this stage played an abundance of house music and had a very mysterious yet appealing feel about it. We’re not sure if it was the moody lights or the fact it was tucked back on the left side of the festival grounds, but it always seemed to have many people dancing at any time of day. We never got a chance to check out The Cove since we don’t listen to much house music but there were some recognizable names on the schedule.

Another point we wanted to make was that considering this was a smaller festival, similar I’d say to Northern Nights, there weren’t many shop vendors or food vendors. What was nice was the fact the ice vendor also sold popsicles and iced coffee, which was much appreciated during the hotter parts of the day. Killa Dilla, the quesadilla extraordinaire vendor, was there whipping up insanely good ‘dillas into the late hours of the night. The water station was also very easily accessible and at the beginning of the festival grounds so the paths didn’t get too muddy.

Overall, the festival was a solid good time. The lake made for fun and relaxing afternoons with friends, and the festival’s smaller size made crowds nonexistent. This also meant no crazy lines when needing to use the Porto-potties, which by the way were always very clean and close by. Camp setup was not stressful at all and an easy walk from the festival grounds. There were no cops wandering through campsites making people uncomfortable. Everyone we encountered was very pleasant, friendly and open for conversation. The weather was never blazing hot nor freezing cold and most importantly there were different types of electronic music for pretty much everyone!

If you’re looking for a smaller electronic fest closer to you, if you live in Northern/upper central California, and need a body of water to relieve yourself from the warmer temps, this is a festival to check out. This is also a good festival to go to if it’s your first time going to an electronic festival, and even more so if it’s your first camping music festival, since it’s low-key and those with social anxiety won’t be overwhelmed. We hope this festival brings on more art installations so festival attendees have more to interact with, as well as get more food and/or shop vendors so there’s a little more variety in the future, but all in all our lady crew enjoyed our time and are happy we experienced Serenity Gathering for the first time.

The Knocks: NYN Tour

The Knocks. Ever heard of them? If you haven’t, you have been severely deprived of dancey, feel good music! Are they rap? No. Are they rock? No. Are they mainstream? Hellllll no. While many would label under an edm category, they don’t truly fit into any of the predetermined molds, and that’s what makes them so unique and probably one of the most fun duos to listen to, let alone watch perform. Do you like nonstop groovin’, vibin’ music that makes you smile from ear to ear while you’re dancing your ass off? Well that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson make up The Knocks, and they are a powerhouse duo from New York ready to take over the world.

We first discovered The Knocks at Northern Nights Music Festival in Piercy, CA in the summer of 2016 and we were instantly hooked to their music, however these guys had been in the music scene many years prior to this festival. Fast forward to fall of 2018 and The Knocks released their highly anticipated album “New York Narcotic” and of what we have been able to notice, the US has been very into it. When they released their “New York Narcotic” tour dates and one of their stops was at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento, us Festival Babes just had to see them perform. What was going to make this tour even more special was that they were also including a live band experience! Like, wow, they really did that for us! We’d also like to point out that their bassist babe, Blu DeTiger, was one of their openers as well as Young & Sick, who was an artist we got familiar with when looking up the M3F festival lineup. Both artists are exceptional and we highly recommend you check them out too.

Ok…back to the show! We showed up to Ace of Spades and made our way to the front and center (which was surprisingly easy to do since everyone was still very spread out throughout the venue) as we got ready for them to come on. The lights start flashing, individual platforms start glowing, the band was in position, and The Knocks started off the night with “New York Narcotic,” a fun, upbeat song that truly seems to embody their whole vibe for this album: addictive highs and lows that you can’t shy away from because of the excitement it gives you. I’d also like to point out that their fashion sense: sooo on point! The girls in the band, guitarist/singer Katie and bassist Blu, showed off everything from flame designed pants to silk dresses and studded white jackets, while The Knocks rocked everything from sequins jackets to jerseys and of course their recognizable black studded, stapled up, skull faced New York Narcotic jacket that we are both obsessed with and need pronto.

The scene was beautiful: smoke machines constantly going off, lights moving in all directions, giant mascot pigeons in tow, and The Knocks and band nonstop dancing, smiling, and just having a good ass time on stage while seeing all of us dancing and singing along to every song. You know how hard that is to do as an artist? To create such satisfying content that your audience does not stop until you walk off the stage?! We were very impressed with their show, and genuinely impressed and ecstatic about the performance they brought for us.

Young & Sick came on stage during the DJ set of the show and it was so entertaining to see him singing and rapping “Wizards of Bushwick” on stage with JPatt in his cheetah and dalmatian outfit! Respect. And yes, The Knocks really do rap and sing, and these boys got some range. Did you know they can play instruments too? Well they do, and we loved watching JPatt and B-Roc both take turns on the keyboard during different songs in the live band portion of the show. They kept us guessing and it made the show that much more invigorating.

They ended the show with the ever popular “Ride or Die” but slowed down at first, with JPatt on the keyboard and B-Roc sitting in the front of the stage, lights dimmed, creating the mood for a final song. As they started to get into the song, they brought it up to tempo, the band came out, and the crowd was in a full-on mesmerized state of mind as we all flowed with the music and sang as loud as we could. With that being one of our personal favorites, we couldn’t help but feel enthralled with happiness and satisfaction.

Some of our other personal favorites they played are: “Room for You,” “Shades,” and of course, “Classic”…but, we love every song, and the ones on this latest album are no exception. To be perfectly honest, the album is fire; it’s groovy, it’s refreshing, and we could tell that the guys were pretty stoked about this album and the reaction it was getting from the audience, and from all over. We left feeling high from the energy and the whole performance and couldn’t believe we finally got to witness them again, and this time being in a local Northern California music venue as opposed to a festival. We are so grateful for the experience we received from that show and are so proud of what The Knocks have created. We were pretty bummed out when we realized we didn’t take any pictures the entire show, but I guess that just shows how into it we were and we loved living in that moment. The West Coast still seems to need to get more on board of this train because we had mentioned this show to many people and only half had heard of these guys. Their music is a good time, literally, and we cannot wait to see what other genius music they come out with next.

CA loves you! We love you!

For Funks Sake: For the Funk of It

California has many unique locations to choose from when it comes to festival venues; there’s the redwoods in the east, deserts in the south, and snow capped mountains in the west. With all these locations to choose from, dozens of electronic festivals, bass raves, mainstream mega festivals, and low key jam/folk festivals occur through the year…but not a lot of funk/soul type festivals if you think about it. Well…let me tell you a little bit about a funk festival that is located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains that usually occurs the second weekend of the month of August.

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For the Funk of It Music Festival is California’s only 3 day all funk camping music festival and is located in the Plumas National Forest two hours northeast of Sacramento, CA in a hidden gem of a town called Belden. It took place from August 10-13th this year and celebrated its 5th wonderful year at the beloved Belden Town. With a festival max capacity of just over 1000 people, due to the land space of the town being so small, it makes way for a very intimate and wildly euphoric experience as you are implanted into the mountainside as this lively festival takes place.

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Besides a small motel, restaurant, bar, a few cabin homes, and a tiny post office not much else is there but open land, which makes finding a camping spot for you and your crew very easy. While some people may bring their RVs and camp at the front of the festival grounds there are many beach access locations, tree covered flat land or hammock worthy spots to choose from as you walk down the path to get to the rest of the venue.

The overall vibe of the festival is something I know and love and is probably one of my favorite aspects of the festival. Everyone who goes there, whether it’s families with kids, young adults,  old hippies, unfamiliar festival folk with a love for brass, whoever…everyone gets along and no one puts up with any bad energy, shady behavior, or close mindedness. Every attendee smiles as they cross in passing and you can just feel the accepting nature of those that come to this festival. Every individual who comes to this festival just wants to have a good time enjoying good, live music in a beautiful environment during the summertime!

For the Funk of It, though small in size due to the intimate size of Belden, has 3 stages: the main stage, which sits more towards the front of the festival venue in a cleared out space with trees shading around it; the beach stage, which is pretty self explanatory- a stage on the main beach access part of the river where hundreds of people bring out there floaties while raging to the music; and the bar stage, which is inside the restaurant/bar part of the motel building that allows folks to dance inside while enjoying their cocktails and food. With all the music played at the festival being of funk genre, For the Funk of It does a good job of making sure bands do not overlap too much so the attendees are able to optimize their time at each stage without missing too much.

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Speaking of music, FTFOI always seems to get a lively bunch of artists to be on the lineup. From Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Afrolicious, Nigel Hall Band, and funk bands everywhere in between, FTFOI bring in musicians that the crowd will dance their asses to until the sunrises, literally! There technically is no noice ordinance so the festival is allowed to schedule music to play until sunrises, which of course it does! This year some of my favorites who blessed us all with their talent were: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Smokey the Groove, Mojo Green and Diggin’ Dirt.

When a last minute band cancellation happened Friday afternoon of FTFOI, none other than Smokey the Groove saved the day by gracing us with their lively sound during that Friday evening slot. Their music is unique and one that I thoroughly enjoy listening to every chance I get; their progressive yet upbeat, trippy style funk music has you breaking out in an energetic dance that you are happy to get lost in. Their stage presence is also so fun and memorable! They always bring different signs, toys, props, etc that they decorate the stage with and will sometimes dance around with masks on, to me that brings such an authentic vibe. I truly enjoy their music and get more and more excited about their sets each time they play whether at a festival or show, love you guys! Diggin’ Dirt came on later that night and oh man was that a fun show to witness and dance to. They gave the audience a sexy, smooth funk style whose sound ranges from old school blues to reggae-rock. Diggin’ Dirt is the type of music you can feel your whole body swaying to as you feel the sounds of the drums, brass and vocals flowing through your soul. Jenes Carter from Mojo Green ended up being a special guest during part of their set and hearing her and DD’s lead singer, Zach Alder, vibe together was such a good time.

Ok now for my other favorite sets this year. Mojo Green with Hornmageddon both seem to be a staple group and performance that happen at For the Funk of It. Mojo Green bursts onto the stage every time with such energy in their funky music that it will surely light you up. Their lead singer, Jenes Carter, has a beautiful voice and her spit fire dance moves get you excited as you see her petite self groovin away. A fun surprise during their set this year was that they brought Big Sam, from Big Sam’s Funky Nation, onto their set and let him absolutely kill it on his trombone, hitting these intense brassy notes that had us all vibrating. Now, what is Hornmageddon you’re probably asking? Well during the Mojo Green set they had a large selection of brass players from the various bands that were also performing at this festival come onto the stage and basically rage out all together on their instruments! How crazy is that?! It’s honestly one of the highlights of the festival because that’s just so much brassy, funky goodness all happening in harmony and there’s nothing better than that.

My final favorite set at For the Funk of it was the one and only: Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Big Sam and his band have such a presence to them, both in person and in their music. Their music is both invigorating and smooth, all while blasting you with that true New Orleans jazz-funk that we don’t hear enough of on the west coast. Big Sam’s Funky Nation has a way of getting you to move your entire body in such a way that could honestly only resemble that of a noodle, you find yourself doing endless body rolls all over the place and it’s as if you are under some kind of spell. Big Sam always gives it his all and you can tell him and his band have such a great time performing and dancing to their own music. They also love to engage the crowd in their performance; during part of their set they ended up hand selecting different women from the crowd to come on stage with them and shake all that junk in their trunks; it was so fun and a carefree show!

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For the Funk of It is a wonderful festival experience that I think everyone should go check out; whether you’re a die hard funk music listener, only know of one James Brown song, or enjoy live music but have never gotten around to the funk genre! The venue itself is quaint and perfect for people that want to get away from the large, hectic festival life or just want to enjoy a more intimate camping experience in the woods. Music goes all day and all night and people have the freedom to sleep into the afternoon, run around in the wildest toucan onesie or splash around in a floatie on the river at 4am (while of course being careful and at their own risk). The people who go to For the Funk of It want to enjoy live music in a beautiful part of California and make the most of an August weekend. I have yet to have a negative experience at For the Funk of It and I can’t wait to watch this festival grow even more.

On another note I’d like to thank Tony Dellacioppa for allowing me to share with you a few pictures he took of my favorite bands I enjoyed seeing this year, I only took a couple videos the entire weekend so I appreciate him so much for his quality photography. Thank you For the Funk of It for a memorable 5th year, see you next year!

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😸 Kritter Klips ✨

Alright everyone, the very long anticipated review for the one and only: Kritter Klips! Now, as you all have probably noticed on our Instagram pages, we have recently taken a fully committed liking (more like obsession) to the festival accessory company, Kritter Klips. So here’s the scoop. Kritter Klips is based in the CA Bay Area and is a company that sells high quality, handmade clip-in animal ears! How adorable is that concept? If some of you are thinking ‘what’s the big deal?’ or ‘that’s ridiculous,’ then you have obviously not given it a try and have no idea how fun these accessories can be. If the rest of you are thinking ‘that’s so fun, I want to try on a pair’ or ‘yesss, I love them’ then congrats, you’re on the right side of the world 😉 But honestly, you can wear these ears for whatever occasion you want: concerts, festivals, random outings, etc. These clip-in ears are a fun, durable piece you can add to any look. They are sewn onto a standard hair clip so you just place them where you want them on your head, clip and you’re good to go! Dancing, running, flailing around…they’ll stay put.

I first came into contact with Kritter Klips a few years ago when I first got into attending festivals in 2015 and noticed their vendor booth at festivals like High Sierra, Lightning in a Bottle and Outside Lands. At first glance I was in love with the many styles, textures and colors that Kritter Klips has to offer but also how incredibly soft all the ears are! I think it was the initial factor of them being something different than the standard festival vendor that attracted me, they sell ears! How fun and different can you get? So each festival I attended I’d make a stop at the Kritter Klips booth, chat with the employees, gawk over all the festive ears they had to offer and told myself one day I’d commit and finally be able to rock a pair of festival ears.

So here’s the sappy story on how I finally popped my Kritter Klips “cherry”. It happened this year at Gem & Jam Music Festival 2018. I was checking out the vendors and happened to noticed that Kritter Klips was vending which I was happily surprised, but also not surprised, to see. After chatting with one of the employees for a few minutes and telling him my search for my first pair he pulled out one of the most perfect set of Kritter Klips ears I had ever laid eyes on: the limited edition Red Silk Road ears. The ears were dark brown with light brown tips which perfectly matched my hair and therefore gave a “realistic” look to them when I had them on, but what really sold me was the beautiful red and black silk material on the inner part of the ears. The guy explained how the inside was from Chinese silk gowns and therefore they only had a limited amount available of that kind and color. They were perfect, I was in love, I had to have them. And just like that they were on my head and I was prancing around for the rest of the festival as happy as a kid on Christmas Day. I felt so free, like I belonged to something bigger, like I had found my festival “niche” in a sense. It seemed silly to me that something as simple as clip-in animal ears would give me such joy, but it did, and still does.

Fast forward to now and I love being involved in the Kritter Klips family and love to promote their brand as much as I can, because I want to spread the excitement and love their ears so much. I occasionally chat with them via Instagram and always try to stay in the loop with what’s next for the Kritter Klips brand. What’s even better is that both us Festival Babes got a chance to be a part of their “new faces of Kritter Klips” photo shoot they were holding at Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival this year! We both noticed on their Instagram page that they were looking for people to get involved and we jumped right on it. At Lightning in a Bottle we brought a friend of ours along to the meet up and met the Kritter Klips crew at their vendor booth and were introduced to their talented photographer, James, of James R Photography, who would be shooting all of us. James and the Kritter Klips staff were all so friendly and genuine right from the start, which made it easy to feel excited about the shoot. The crew helped pick out two matching sets of ears to wear with our festival outfits we wore to the shoot and then we got the shoot going. The photo shoot was a relaxed forum and a lot of fun and we got along so naturally with the other three girls that were apart of it. For real, check out James on Instagram, he’s based in the King City, CA area and loves doing creative shoots! Anyways, after we were done taking pictures the Kritter Klips crew told us that as a thank you for our participation we would be able to take a pair of ears home with us, as a gift! How nice is that?! Just another reason why we love this crew and this company so much.

As of now I currently have five pairs of Kritter Klips ears and my fellow Festival Babe partner has two; some as gifts, some from online purchases, some from festivals, and we don’t really plan on stopping. Kritter Klips has such a fun and carefree vibe that the company exudes through their workers and all the styles they create with their ears and we are so glad to be apart of the family. The ears represent more than just a random festival accessory you can wear; you can create a whole new look or persona by putting them on and wearing them at whatever event you choose to. We had a wonderful time at the LiB photoshoot and really appreciated the opportunity to be a face for Kritter Klips. We definitely look forward to many more encounters with the Kritter Klips crew in the future and can’t wait to go to our next festival, ears and all! They’re just so darn cute and a great way to bring excitement to your style and next event! Who wouldn’t want to be a kritter? ❤

Jammin’ in the Desert: Gem & Jam

With the official festival season fast approaching and the temperature getting warmer it’s almost hard to remember that just a few months ago the days were cold and short with not much to do; however, this is precisely why I’m going to tell you a little bit about a lovely event that happens in the middle of winter with plenty for you festival lovers and festival newbies to do: Gem & Jam Festival!

Gem & Jam Festival is hosted by Euphoric Conceptions and is a 4 day camping music festival now located at the Pima County Fairgrounds only 20 minutes southeast of Tucson, Arizona. The desert is probably not a place where you would think to find a festival (except for the legendary Burning Man), let alone one in the winter time, but because of this festival taking place in a desert climate the winter is the perfect time to host a festival, comfortable temperatures during the day time and chilly at night but nothing a jacket couldn’t fix! The venue is a decent size and was comfortably able to fit all the RV passes, car passes, and walk-in camping passes in their designated areas within the campground without feeling cramped. Another feature that I thought was a step up from all the different festival venues I’ve experienced was that because it was on an actual campground there were actual bathrooms/showers! I personally have used one too many port-o-potties in my festival days and, depending on how efficient the company hired is, those bad boys can get pretty nasty and not get stocked up as frequently as they should. There were some port-o-potties in the walk-in camping section of the festival since that happened to be a little further out in the camping layout however there were a few actual bathroom structures in the festival vicinity and that was such a relief for those attending the festival, especially for the ladies (am I right, girls?).

Let’s talk about the set up. This festival brings the two very different worlds of jam and electronic together with a beautiful collection of artists, from longtime groups like STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, and Lettuce to artists like Maddy O’Neal, Russ Liquid Test and Marvel Years who all seem to have exploded into popularity in the festival community within the last five or so years. Gem & Jam I would say is a small-medium size festival and surprisingly can fit a total of 5 stages: 2 big stages, 2 smaller stages, and 1 indoor late night stage.

The festival did a great job not only in physically spacing out the stages so music didn’t clash together but also set up the schedule in a flowing way so there was only about 10 minutes of overlap, and sometimes none at all! It was so satisfying to be able to wander the festival grounds while still being able to hear whatever artists you were interested in based on where you were standing in the festival. The stages themselves are given gem/mineral names, in respect to the gigantic international gem  and mineral festival that occurs in Tucson every year for 2-3 weeks, along with some of the stages having a sort of crystal altar that is at the front of the stages for decoration.

OK…music. Some of the artists on the lineup I was personally excited to see were: Emancipator, Big Wild, Breaking Biscuits, and Russ Liquid Test! Of course there are many more but these are a few of my newer loves. I also had to leave Sunday since I had a long drive ahead of me back to Northern California so I was unable to see Lettuce and Greensky Bluegrass who are two bands I enjoy so much.

Emancipator’s performance was very pleasing to the ears, the instruments linked with the subtlety of the electronic vibes brings such a fulfilling flow and one you can listen to no matter what time of day and no matter how you feel. During his performance I would look around me and see so many people with their eyes closed, totally in peace, while swaying to the music.

Big Wild is someone that I have such a giddy time seeing perform. I was on the other side of the festival, probably wanting more naan or tacos, when he came on stage. As soon as I heard Big Wild begin I jumped in the air, made an embarrassing squeal and dance-skipped all the way to the stage area. I don’t know if it’s the deep vibration of the drums when he plays, or the fact his music in general has such a happy and upbeat tune, but that is an artist I have seen multiple times and plan to continue seeing. Breaking Biscuits was a fun collaboration I was eager to see.

Breaking Biscuits is a side project that brings together the guys of Break Science with the very talented keyboardist and bassist of the infamous Disco Biscuits…honestly what could sound better than that? This group brought all the jammy feels without hitting plateaus in their set, something that is hard to do in 7 minute long songs. Break Science added their hints of hard electronic tones to the songs and all in all everyone couldn’t help but dance around, making friends in the process.

Russ Liquid Test, oh was I so happy when I saw you. This group performed in the late night building and did they kill it. Their live-electro, psychedelic funky sound filled the building with a burst of energy and groovy waves that no one could escape. The late night stage they performed on was made with laser-etched wood framing around the top and sides of it and color changing lights that shown through them, plus a virtual screen that had different images flashing from it. The music and performances provided at this festival were top notch to say the least.

Besides the music and venue set up itself, there were a few different areas within the festival where people could go to explore art installations, participate in workshops, and meditate. This area had a variety of gypsy looking tents set up in grass (i’m in Arizona?!) and within those tents there were pillows, rugs, and other bedding material to make yourself comfortable. There were beautiful cloth style chandeliers hanging from the tents and some had massage tables if you wanted to get a specific type of massage. The workshops included: event sustainability, yoga, being present in the community, consent, and much more. Gem & Jam also included a drum circle area were at various times in the day they would hold drumming ceremonies and classes for any that were interested in participating.

Some of the art installations were pretty trippy and so much fun to discover while I checked out every inch of the festival. In the grass area of the festival they had these large and intriguing alien-like “gods” all set up in a circle each holding different items with foreign letters and symbols written around them in a sort of halo, along with structures shaped like giant crystals popping out of the earth. The festival also had lights hanging from the palm trees scattered throughout the venue and of course an art gallery full of paintings, photos and LED art from pretty big name artists. Gem & Jam also had many live painters that you could find by every stage, painting anything from nature scenery, psychedelic experiences, deity  interpretations, etc.

One of my favorite encounters and pieces of art though was the Trolley Llama, a company owned party bus trolley decorated in clothes, parasols, and festival-gypsy decor and had the most comfortable outdoor living room set up I have ever seen at a festival, plus all the amazing individuals who came with the trolley and made it an experience in itself.

Out of everything that I experienced at this festival, I think the most important factor Gem & Jam had to offer was the people. During the entirety of the weekend I met dozens of individuals who all welcomed me to Arizona and the festival with open arms and positive attitudes. Yes there were many people who were from California, Texas, etc that I encountered but the vast majority of people were from Arizona (duh) and I had no idea how friendly they were until attending this festival. Even the people working security, guiding you to your parking pass spot, or scanning wristbands at the front were all incredibly hospitable and cracking jokes whenever possible. I didn’t see any fights, I didn’t see security making people feel uncomfortable, I saw eyes all around me full of excitement and people ready to help you enjoy your experience at Gem & Jam in whatever way they could. Gem & Jam impressed me whole-heartedly and I cannot wait to go back!