It is unfortunate that anyone who reads Lena’s opinion piece [in Monday’s issue titled “Mayday”], without any prior knowledge of the Whole Earth Festival, might assume it is an event that is centered around vapid drug use.
Throughout the year, a dedicated staff of locals and students work hard to collaborate with high-quality musicians, ethical vendors, engaging educational booths and interactive workshops. Despite the lack of ASUCD funding, these features are offered to festival-goers for free.
Unlike Picnic Day, which has received negative media attention for its ample amount of misdemeanors and excessive reliance on the Davis Police force, the Whole Earth Festival strives to maintain security by educating its staff and hundreds of volunteers in non-violence training. This approach allows the festival to minimize police presence, while providing a community-based prevention strategy.
To reduce the Whole Earth Festival to unoriginal hippie stereotypes and drug references discredits the 42-year-old tradition of the largest free music and arts festival on the West Coast, which has inspired other zero-waste events. The festival is rooted in an educational tradition; it began as a classroom project by the students of Jose Argullles, who passed away less than two months ago.
Unlike Lena’s approach of “making friends on drugs that you won’t remember the next morning”, we encourage you to browse the program of events on the Whole Earth website and pursue ones that you may be curious about.
Also, feel free to stop by the Karma Dome on Northeast quad to engage with staff, volunteers, and other friendly participants and to possibly lend a hand. Even though some might choose to dedicate this weekend to debauchery, please take some time to appreciate the hard work and good intentions that your fellow students and community invest in the Whole Earth Festival.
Becky Michelson and Anne-Marie Litak