All You Need is BASS

The What The Festival 2013 Experience


As we drive through the night, down the windy Oregon roads our sense of anticipation and excitement is palatable. As we push forward for what feels like endless hours, we finally stumble into What the Festival 2013, we are in a delirious euphoria. Already, we know our long trek was worth it and when we wake up we find ourselves in the most delightful of places.

This festival experience really promotes creative freedom. Walking around WTF you never know who you might meet. And when you meet them, things happen. Maybe its just a jolly jig or an exuberant smile. Maybe you start painting a mural or playing chess. The entire place seemed to cultivate magical experiences.

The epic location nestled under Mt Hood really helps the entire atmosphere. There is a little something spiritual about the looming mountain peak that is Mt Hood. The meadows that lie below are both protected and enchanted by the beauty. This remarkable feature of landscape brings the festival into its full glory.


The summer climate of Oregon is hard to beat. The temperature range is ever so slightly warm during the day, perfectly conducive to pool parties in the sun or naps in the shade; which just happen to be two of my favorite things. At night it just so happens that dancing equipped with an epic costume feels just right.

If you don’t know who played, just check out this line up for plenty of shivers up the spine. To quote myself “I’ve never danced like this before.” The music is scheduled way into the night. Much later than the average festival can afford. At WTF the official set times go all the way until 6. There is music all night long. WTF supports and thrives on this aspect of festival culture.


The WTF Stage on Friday night did not stop. Polish Ambassador brought the dance party all over the stage and beyond. Followed by Flosstradamus whose unique style of trap anthems didn’t disappoint. Their giant underground sound was a crowd favourite. Finally, A-Trak closed out the stage with his perfected DJ set. It was a performance that cruised through an unbelievably massive gambit of genres and had the dance floor packed until the very end.

On Saturday Yacht played like she meant it. She was in her element, surrounded by her people. Yacht delivered a dancy set combined with minimalist messages. The local crowd support came through. They may have grown bigger than their roots in Portland, but there’s nothing like coming home.


Like a beautiful fire consuming itself, the music consumes the dancer. Given the choice, we’d dance forever; but instead we dance until we drop. And when that time comes, there is a lovely welcoming campground 5 minutes away, in the populated forests under Mt Hood. The music fades away when you can’t dance anymore and drift off to sleep. It is a strange mix of emotions at the end. We had reached the end of our journey at WTF?! It was an amazing, beautiful experience but we were sad for it to be over. As we packed up our car and started to make our way back home I couldn’t help look in the rearview mirror and smile knowing that next year we’d be back.

For more What The Festival 2013 photos check out our album on facebook.

All photos by Alex Gaynor Photography. 

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