To celebrate the turn of the season, Gem and Jam and 4 Peaks Presents came together to bring a fresh, community-curated event to Central Oregon. The first-ever Cascade Equinox Festival, held at the Deschutes Country Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon, was an equal and lively mix of celebration, creativity, and adventure.
As far as first-time festivals go, the Cascade Equinox Festival set a stellar precedent. From their diverse and compelling lineup, immersive workshops, incredible art installations, and wild-hearted crowd, the Cascade Equinox team has proved that they have come to make their mark and bring their community together in years to come.
For three days straight, mesmerizing sounds wound their way from various instruments and CDJs, cascaded above the fur and flannel-clad festival goers, past a whirling Ferris wheel adorned with energetic flashing bulbs of purple and green, off into crisp autumnal air.
CASCADE MUSIC FESTIVAL IS ONE FOR ALL…
Music lovers of all ages spread themselves across the sprawling and circular festival grounds. From the lines of cars, tents, and tapestries to the indoor rave in a sheep barn and across a small, gurgling stream in the center. On one side, the Equinox stage featured fire performances and aerial acts. While the other included yoga workshops and healing practices that worked their magic.
A festival for all, Cascade Equinox featured not one but two daycare centers so that parents could enjoy some uninterrupted boogie time. This festival was the perfect place for people-watching. Flow artists, dancers, wooks, and people who look like they work at REI all came together to form one of the most interesting crowds I have seen. People made new friends, and the joviality overflowed.
Musically, the festival stitched together a cohesive lineup of artists that blended jam music and various electronic genres. Dirtwire and Emancipator found a lush balance between instruments and electronics, taking us on a journey via sweet strings and dirty wubs. One moment, you could be enjoying the fiddles, jigs, and mountain jam energy that is Fruition at the Harvest stage. After, you could go to the Tilt stage and get blasted by the bassy, crispy genre-fuck that is Of The Trees.
One of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Pretty Lights, made his West Coast comeback over the weekend. Although there were some technical difficulties, the set pulled thousands into a wormhole of loops and mind-warping live visuals. The long-awaited performance felt like a nostalgic heart hug that many had been dreaming of since the lineup dropped.
As the sun set and the September chill set in, the night owls flocked to the Tilt stage. One step inside the building, and you were hit with flashing lasers and sweaty air. There was an undeniable excitement that vibrated from the floor to the barn ceiling. Visual panels lined the back of the stage and along the walls, illuminating the vast space. Blow-up couches sat to the back and the sides while flow artists tossed their lights and props in every direction. Late-night sets went until four in the morning, leaving the delightful and dirty to their shenanigans while others slept soundly in the campgrounds.
By day, the Cascade Equinox Festival attendees walked through festival grounds decorated with handmade signs and small, thoughtful paintings. They sat along a stream guarded by statues of mythical birds and magical mushrooms. The attention to detail and thoughtfulness the artists, vendors, and organizers put into the interactive art were truly unmatched.
The Cosmic Drip stage set a perfect example of what happens when artists, music, and community come together. A maze of paintings, stained glass, meditation areas, and even a mini church invited people into the voluminous space. An intricately built stage in the back of the barn sent out sometimes melodic, sometimes beat-driven tunes while people danced and basked in the creativity around them.
Just down the way from Cosmic Drip and across from the blazing Ferris wheel, rows of vendor stands beckoned. High-quality leatherwear, clothing, jewelry, and accessories caught the eyes of passersby. The Nomadic Market showcased local and national goods, forming a community of artisans and mindful consumers to create a magnetic, friendly atmosphere.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Culinary Commons acted as a food and beverage oasis at Cascade Equinox. There was a variety of different global and local cuisines featured. From classic hot dogs to Hawaiian food and dumplings, there was a tasty treat that would satisfy. Although food was kept to the Culinary Commons, plenty of water and beverage stations were sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds. From artisanal cocktails to IPAs and yummy ciders (shoutout Dry Humor Cider), getting thirsty wasn’t an option.
The first Cascade Equinox Festival made a spectacular debut! Along the beautiful rocky canyons and golden fields of Central Oregon has sprung a fresh new face in the PNW festival scene. Before you go…
Explore the sights of the Cascade Equinox Festival!
The first year of the Cascade Equinox Festival has made its mark in the PNW. Don’t miss out on next year’s fun in the beautiful desert foothills of Central Oregon.
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