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Davis, California

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Column: Take your shoes off

If living on a farm next to cows in the middle of nowhere isn’t enough to truly make your Davis experience exactly like its stereotype, get ready to fill that void next weekend. Our campus is already quite unique with an amalgamation of cultures, languages, interest groups, sexual orientations, lifestyles, etc… But if walking/biking among hipsters and residents of the Co-ops isn’t Davis enough for you, take off your shoes and get ready for Davis’ annual modern version of Woodstock.

Whole Earth Festival begins May 10 and continues throughout the weekend. It’s a ginormous, free, eco-friendly three-day music, dance, arts, crafts and education festival. Perhaps you thought Picnic Day was big. Sure, but it only lasted half a day on campus. Get ready for a more laid-back, jam-packed version of Davis students’ favorite day for three days. Oh, and you don’t have to trek through what seems like miles of campus in hot weather only to find out an event ended an hour earlier than advertised. Ahem, Doxie Derby.

There’s something for everyone, with multiple musical acts performing at all times, arts and crafts tents for constant entertainment, endless booths of unique items for purchase and fantastic food. So, naturally, I run through each aisle of booths and roll around on the grass with food in my hand just like I would at Disneyland, if I had actually gone to the Happiest Place on Earth as a child.

I might as well mention it, because people who have only experienced Picnic Day will wonder, but this is a sober event. Trust me, everyone is sober. And it’s freaking awesome. Not that drunk people aren’t fun, but the Quad turns into a different world that weekend filled with relaxed, fun-loving people. But to answer the next question, yes. Yes, other substances are embraced all throughout the day. It’s not obvious, though. Except for those who twirl around for hours by themselves, off beat from the performers’ music.

That’s actually one of my favorite things to do: sitting and just watching everyone. I mean, I do that on a daily basis, but it’s not everyday that you see 60-year-olds in fairy wings spinning in circles and having the time of their lives. It adds to the quirkiness of the event.

Our entire Quad is taken over by families and groups of people who are committed to sustainable living and environmental harmony. It’s sort of a pilgrimage for these folks, and I’m convinced that some of them make the trip only to spend the entire weekend hula-hooping. This is by far the most organized festival on our campus, and I would argue that those organizing it are quite go-with-the-flow, happy people.

The Karma Patrol, made up of hundreds of volunteers, serves to set up, take down, maintain the “vibe,” promote compost and recycling, sleep on the stages at night (to ensure safety and prevent burglary, I’ve heard) among tons of other jobs behind-the-scenes. Basically, if you want to immerse yourself completely into WEF culture, volunteer.

I also can’t write an entire column without being a snarky, cynical young adult, duh. So now come my blunt thoughts. Girls, this is NOT Coachella 3.0 (2.0 was apparently Picnic Day, as every single girl was wearing a flower crown for no real reason with high-waisted shorts and crop tops). This is the appropriate time to bust out the tie-dye and wear actual cut-off jeans (not that Forever 21 crap with studs and glitter).

I heard that every year, there’s a woman with a box of kittens, giving the little angels away to anyone who asks. And although every atom in my body begs me to take the box and run, I’m going to advise people to take the box and turn the kittens into the YSPCA. I’ve heard stories where these WEF-obtained kittens act a little … strange due to constantly inhaling certain fumes. Put aside your need for free, beautiful, fluffy and wonderful kittens and put their health at the top of the priority list. Enough of my cat comments. And concerns. For now.

Last reason to definitely be at Whole Earth this year? Canned Heat is headlining this year. Yes, the band that headlined the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. And since this event takes place during Mother’s Day weekend, why not invite the family up for a day? Assuming your parents were older than children in 1969, I’m guessing they would think it’s pretty cool that a legendary group is performing on our campus. Plus, you won’t have any obligations or need to day drink, as those exist typically on Picnic Day.

Grab some cash, break out the sunscreen, bring a blanket and take off your shoes. Prepare to shop, dance, eat by day and thrive in the naturally harmonious environment of Whole Earth at night.

You can find ELIZABETH ORPINA chasing after the lit-up unicorn box every night next weekend. Contact her at arts@theaggie.org to find out how many plates of garlic fries she plans to scarf down.

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