Words by Pearl Wight | Photos by Patrick Hagan
A few weeks back at Cooks Valley Campground on the Humboldt/Mendocino county line in NorCal was the Northern Nights Music Festival and we were fortunte enough to be in attendance. Only in its second year, the festival attracted some great acts with headliners like Beats Antique, Justin Martin, ODESZA, and Giraffage.
The grounds certainly proved itself to be the perfect festival venue with river adjacent stages, redwood trees to camp under, and an intimate atmosphere. Blazing hot NorCal weather lent itself to some legendary river ragers with floaties, tropical cocktails, water gun fights, and even a few nudists. I must say, it was quite the experience to be able to dance your way into the extremely welcome, heat relieving water, and then dance right back out all the way to the bar!
I really enjoyed the small size of the festival that allowed you to walk from one side of the campground to the other in no more than five minutes. Your tent, no matter which area you camped, was never out of earshot of the main stage. That meant walking back to camp to grab a sweater and a beer without having to miss a second of Giraffage’s fresh remixes. Luckily, my fellow campers and I had the good fortune to find a spot under the camp’s beautiful redwood grove. The trees accommodated us with a cool breeze and a beautiful overhead shade from the sun. Neighboring tents were strung together to form itty bitty tent villages, and pretty soon it was like walking through a quaint little forest town – with an incredibly advanced recycling system. One improvement for next year that I was missing was some lighting and pizzazz through the trees a la Electric Forest.
The night life of Northern Nights was certainly an excellent source of entertainment. As soon as the headliner for the night finished the crowd migrated all of 10 feet to the left to the Silent Frisco that ran until sunrise every night. Silent Frisco has been making appearances at a lot of festivals lately and building a name as great way for festival goers to party until sunrise with minimal noise. Upon entering, the camper is handed a pair of headphones that can be toggled between two separate channels. These channels belong to two different DJs on stage at the same time and the listener can choose to tune into which ever artist tickles their fancy. I would also recommend taking your headphones off for a quick second to giggle at all the people unknowingly singing along in the silence, whilst being fully aware that you are probably one of them. There was also an acoustic stage in the redwood grove that hosted yoga, acoustic performers, and a late night Burlesque show (ooolala).
I declare Northern Nights 2014 to be huge success! Although it’s clear that there is room for the festival to grow, for only being in its second year, it absolutely packed a punch. Make way, festival circuit, cuz NNMF is turnt up and should definitely make its way into your lineup for 2015 festies. See you there!