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Sunday, September 19, 2021

A raw-markable festival

JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE
JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE

UC Davis community looks forward to this year’s raw-themed Whole Earth Festival.

This year’s Whole Earth Festival (WEF) is right around the corner. Students, staff, families and visitors are looking forward to a whole weekend of food, friends, fun and festivities.

The Whole Earth Festival is a three-day, student-run festival that takes place on the UC Davis Quad every spring, with this year’s event spanning from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 8. The festival is free for all attendees and consists of workshops, performances, food booths and arts and crafts stands. In addition to providing free art and entertainment for the Davis community, the festival also aims to encourage environmental awareness and sustainability.

JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE
JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE

“Each day [of the festival] has its own vibe and own experience,” said Yousef Buzayan, a fifth-year managerial economics and international agricultural development double major and WEF co-director. “It can be a fun, laid-back picnic; it can be a great time to go outside and get some sunlight; it can also be a fun time at nighttime to dance and hear some great live bands.”

The festival theme this year is “Raw,” conveying the idea of embracing naturalness by releasing thoughts, energy and emotions in a raw way.

“We interpret [the theme] as authentic [and] unadulterated,” said Larysa Fomina, a third-year environmental science and management major and WEF co-director. “It can apply to many things, and that’s why we chose it.”

The event first began in 1969 when an art class at UC Davis organized a small art event called the “Art Happening” as a final project. After the first “Earth Day” event was celebrated in 1970, the event was renamed to “Whole Earth Festival” in 1971 and took on a more environmental focus.

“The festival is really fun,” said Liane Healy, class of 2016 graduate in psychology. “[There’s] lots of good food, different events, people dressed up very colorful[ly] — I look forward to it.”

The festival became a unit of ASUCD in 1973, and over time, garnered much interest and involvement from students across all areas of study. Now, the event hosts over 30,000 attendees every year.

“The Whole Earth Festival is definitely worth checking out,” said Harpreet Manchanda, a fourth-year economics major. “There’s plenty of good food [and] there’s a lot of these cool events as well, so if you’re a first-year student, or a senior, or you just graduated, it is definitely something that brings the entire community back together.”

The festival makes a point to use reusable dishes, and has compost and recycling stations where volunteers sort through waste bins. Last year, even with tens of thousands of attendees, the festival ended up with only one dumpster worth of landfill trash. All other waste was either recycled or composted.

“I did compost and recycling last year; that’s my favorite spot,” Fomina said. “It’s just this great feeling working as a team with a bunch of great people that also care for the environment. We’re sorting through garbage, but everyone still has fun.”

JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE
JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE

Some distinct features of this year’s Whole Earth Festival will be a music performance by Coachella artist The Human Experience and a workshop by UC Davis chemistry professor Andreas Toupadakis.

This year’s planning committee is comprised of around 45 to 50 staff members who have been planning the festival since last spring. Buzayan said that participating in the planning process for the Whole Earth Festival is a highly rewarding experience.

“You look around and you see all these people laughing, all these people running around and having a good time, and you’re just like, ‘I was part of what made this happen,’” Buzayan said. “That’s the greatest feeling for me at the festival.”

Whether it is delectable vegetarian food, vibrant music and dance performances, educational workshops or exquisite handmade art pieces, the Whole Earth Festival has something unique for everyone to enjoy.

Written by Jennie Chang — features@theaggie.org

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