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Davis, California

Monday, December 6, 2021

Fortieth annual Whole Earth Festival takes place this weekend

Attention earth-lovers: it’s time to put on your tie-dye, practice your peace signs and awaken your planetary consciousness.

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of UC Davis40th annual Whole Earth Festival (WEF), a three-day extravaganza on and around the quad featuring live music, food, arts, crafts and education.

Free to the public and dedicated to promoting environmental awareness, this year’s event will be centered on the theme ofSustainalovability.

“What we like about [the theme] is that it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people … the combination – loving sustainability, sustaining love, and working to attain both of those – is what this festival is all about, especially after forty years of growing and learning,said Brie-anna Rojas, co-coordinator for the Soular dance stage and a junior animal biology and environmental biology and management double major.



The Sunken Pit, located behind Wellman facing California Avenue, will feature a slew of DJs mixing, blending and remixing for the dance-floor after dark Friday and Saturday.

Finally, the Soular Dance Stage – a completely solar (and SOUL-ar) powered cultural dance stage – will offer a variety of different performances by groups from the world over.

Saturday night will be a Brazilian extravaganza,Rojas said.We have capoeira and samba schools parading off stage into a drum circle.

Other acts include Celtic, Hawaiian and swing dance groups, and salsa lessons will be offered in the afternoon Friday and Saturday. Once the sun sets, the Soular stage will transform into the Promethean Stage, as fire performers stun and dazzle audiences with pyrotechnic feats.

See page five for more details on Whole Earth music.


Food, Arts, Crafts and Sustainability

The quad itself will play host to a variety of vendors selling food, arts and crafts. Organizers have committed themselves to ensuring the entire event is zero-waste, sustainable, socially sensitive and animal friendly – only vegetarian items will be sold.

Ninety-eight percent of our waste is diverted from landfills – you don’t get that at any other festival anywhere,Rojas said.

Cooperating with other campus groups like R-4 Recycling, the event composts and recycles most of thewastethat is produced – including your poop. Thebiosolidsproduced by attendees during their visits to the festival’s portable restrooms will be processed into fertilizer and sold to farmers in Nevada.

In addition, the Whole Earth Reusables cooperative (WERC), formed in 2002, will work with food vendors to reuse dishes using a deposit-refund system that uses real dishes and real utensils, which are collected and re-washed.

Local and handmade craft businesses will sell their wares under a strict code mandating all items be produced in a sustainable manner. According to Ari Reisman, WEF’s co-director and a senior comparative literature major, purchasing clothing is an especially wise choice.

“[WEF] attracts people trying to live in a more sustainable way and getting in touch with their spiritual side. Superficially, there are lots of people in long dresses and baggy pants-some of which comes from shopping in our crafts booths. It’s really a great way to protest the big sweatshop style of clothing,Reisman said.

Reisman says WEF will feature 182 craft booths, 18 food booths and upward of 50 education booths.

In the Art Space, located in the heart of the quad, the curious can view collections ofsustainalovableart created by local artists.

All of the artists work in a way that either has something to do with the theme [of Sustainalovability], either in subject matter or the materials that they are using. We’re also going to have several painters, some of whom will be right there in the Art Space making art throughout the weekend, so people can come in and interact with them and watch their creations unfold,said Kirsten Young, the art and ambience director.

Also, hands-on craft sessions will provide visitors with opportunities to make their own dream-catchers, felt pins, knitwear, wreaths and beaded jewelry. Education booths will feature presentations and workshops on social justice and activism, environmental awareness, animal rights and more.


Organization and History


The Karma Dome, located in the northeast corner of the quad, will serve as headquarters for WEF’s staff, known as the Karma Patrol (KP). Comprised of more than 300 volunteers, the KP will donheart-beetT-shirts for visitors with questions. Trained in non-violent conflict resolution, they will also patrol the campus, ensure the safety of attendees and wash the reusable dishes.

Whole Earth Festival began in 1969, when art professor Jose Arguelles organized anArt Happeningfor his studentsfinal project, in order totranscend the typical system of standardized tests and impersonal lectures,according to WEF’s website.

1969 was also the year the first images of the whole earth were taken from outer space.

There was this whole awakening to the idea of the planet we live on as a whole earth – as a metaphor of the global community, and a planetary consciousness,Reisman said.

In celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970, theHappeningwas renamedWhole Earth Week in Davis.Since then, UC DavisWhole Earth Festival has attracted 30,000 visitors annually each Mother’s Day weekend, in celebration of Mother Earth.

And, each year, the festival has remained free to all visitors.

“That’s the thing I love most about WEF,Reisman said.Anyone who walks through can go and be a part of it, and because it’s in the middle of the university, and you’re a student, you can’t help but be a part of it.

Find out more about Whole Earth Festival, and access a full schedule of events, at wef.ucdavis.edu.


ANDRE LEE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


  1. If you want a booth or your band wants to play, January is the month to contact the WEF. The WEF office is located in 260 South Silo and shares an office with the Experimental College.

    A little known fact is that Whole Earth Festival is one of the few ASUCD units that receives no subsidy. To put it in perspective, Picnic Day (another annual UCD event) receives over $20,000 a year in funding from student fees. WEF is self-sufficient.

    Many people partake of Marijuana at this event. If you wish to use mind-altering substances at this event, please refrain from drinking alcohol. You see, the stoned swagger and the drunken swagger are opposites of each other. If you get drunk while others are stoned, you’ll run into people and nobody will be happy. It’s a good article and I’m going to write a paper on it using the professional writing serviceIf everyone tokes up, everyone swaggers the same way and collisions are avoided! In the words of the prophet Dylan, “everybody must get stoned!”.

    In reality, all kind of mind altering substances are taken, and a good portion of the crowd are wandering around just enjoying the event sober. Some of the activities and information being imparted are worth enjoying and taking in with an alert mind.


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