I have been so excited to announce the 2023 Backwoods Music Festival lineup!
We just dropped it at 3PM yesterday.
I started writing this blog as soon as the announcement was made on social media, planning on blasting this news and all of my excitement around it before I closed out my work day. However, before I could even finish and article, our Backwoods leadership team realized that we already had damage control to do.
As we’ve had our heads down working on getting our promotional plan in place to get this news to you, one of our acts, Blunts & Blonds, was accused of rape. The story was released less than 48 hours ago. Who knows if the allegations are true or not. Regardless, Backwoods does not tolerate, condone, or will be associated with anyone who is in question for such behavior. Thus, we realized we needed to make changes to do to our lineup IMMEDIATELY.
We have already decided who we’re adding to the bill. And honestly, after listing to their music as we were texting back and forth like mad trying to make fast decisions, I found that I like the new artist BETTER.
So, stay tuned for our updated lineup release. We’ll have it to you sometime this coming week.
With all that said, I’d still really love to share with you all the excitement I had bubbling before this bombshell hit.
I started my new position as Event Director last Wednesday, October 12th. I could barely sleep the night before. I felt like a kid on Christmas eve.
Upon my fist Zoom meeting with Will Royall, my Executive Producer for Backwoods, he showed me a rough draft of our lineup flier.
I freaked out!
I have NEVER been this excited about a Backwoods lineup.
If you’ve followed me for long or read much of my stuff, you’d know that Mulberry Mountain (the Backwoods venue) is extremely special to me and Jacob. After Wakarusa (the music festival that saved our marriage a decade ago) died, I started prospecting Backwoods to be a part of their team as soon as they claimed the mountain as their new home. Although we’re big EDM fans, it was never the music, per say, that attracted me or us to Backwoods.
I was invited to teach yoga that first year on the mountain in 2018, and I really didn’t know many of the musical acts going in.
2019 was the first year I coordinated workshops for the event, and I had a lot of friends there. I was flying so high on the good vibes from my festi family, it wasn’t about the music at all for me that year. Unfortunately, the two phenomenal days we had at the beginning of the event were overshadowed by the traumatic helicopter crash on Sunday.
Although we were prepared to come back in 2020, Covid19 created more healing time for our community.
Last year, Backwoods 2021, was the first year I was super pumped about one of our headliners. Jacob and I LOVE electro-funk, and not too many bring it home like The Floozies. I have the BEST memories dancing my ass off with my festi-family and the whole Backwoods community. So, to see The Floozies listed on the top of the flier when I signed onto my first work meeting made me SO EXCITED.
But who really has me over the moon is Big Gigantic!
Jacob and I discovered them at Wakarusa. I will never forget standing right in front of the speakers in the VIP viewing area feeling their good vibrations ripple through our bodies. I’m a HUGE fan of EDM DJs that also play instruments. I don’t know about you, but I find something super sexy about the saxophone. Big G soon became one of my favorites. Their collab with Griz, “Let the Good Times Roll,” was my ring tone for years.
When I glance over our lineup, there are a couple more I’m excited about. We’ve gotten to know Papadosio at previous Backwoods, and they always put on a good show. There’re funky, and I dig the funk!
I’m super stoked about one lesser-known act that’s on the bill.
Because she’s my home girl.
I’ve been in the DFW event space for the past decade. I assumed that accepting this role would mean that I might have the opportunity to create jobs for some of my friends. Amanda Luznar (the human behind Baelien the alien) and I haven’t known each other long. We met a few years ago at an event that my friend was co-producing with Baelien’s husband. Baelien was one of the headliners. We have several mutual friends and keep finding ourselves at the same parties.
We were both booked for Dancefestopia. She had a late-night set in the silent disco, and I was teaching several workshops. Although we set an intention to all spend time together, the festival gods made it happen. Amanda and her husband, John Wayne, just happened to cross paths with me and Jacob as they were arriving to the festival. We all spent our first night together. And for those of you who don’t know, friendships and connections are formed at warp speed at raves and fests.
I’m so freaking proud of her. She wrote a song for Dancefestopia called “Mellow Brick Road” that has taken off! It’s fun watching her grow!
I had just been offered my role at Backwoods before leaving for Dancefestopia and hadn’t accepted it yet. Amanda and John were some of the first people I got to share my big news with. After returning home, John reached out to me.
“Bae (Baelien’s nick name) was booked at the last Backwoods. She was scheduled on the satellite stage, but there some technical issues that affected her experience. Our original contact promised he would make it up to her this year. But since you’re the new event director, can I just reach out to you directly for booking?”
“I’m not sure, honestly. Let me get into my new role and get back to you.”
During that first meeting with Will, I mentioned this situation to him. His reply?
“Although it’s tempting, we can’t just give jobs to our friends. We have a specific process on how we select and acquire acts.”
I passed on the information and provided links to apply as a musical act and thought the case was closed.
However, the next day I had another meeting scheduled with Will.
“Derek ended up saying something to me about your friend yesterday. He mentioned having issues with her set last year and suggested we give her a spot this year to make it up to her. I’ll take that as a sign from the universe. You can call and offer your friend a spot on our lineup.”
Making that call was one of the most fun I’ve ever made!
I’m overjoyed at how our Backwoods family is expanding. When I taught at the 2018 event, we camped in GA. Some of our neighbors just happened to be from DFW. Before that we really didn’t have a local festi or rave fam. Since then, our festi-fam has grown exponentially with Backwoods being a corner-stone of our annual calendar.
I told Jacob yesterday morning that I felt like a parent on Christmas eve. I knew how many of our friends were anticipating the release drop and it was SO HARD keeping it a secret. It was so reminiscent of when our kids believed in Santa Clause, and we worked our asses off to make all the surprises we had in store magical. Watching your kids open their presents on Christmas is a gift in itself. Feeling and sensing their joy is priceless. This feels the same.
So, you can imagine the buzz kill I (and the rest of our Backwoods leadership team) experienced at the end of the day.
This was not the release we were hoping for, but we’ve got this.
To any of you who are wondering, although I’m the Event Director, YES, I’m still also teaching yoga and coordinating the workshops. I take my role as the Festival Fairy Godmother too seriously. I’m thoroughly invested in the vibe of the workshop space and am not ready to turn that over. Just expect to see my wizard husband stage managing the area and keeping the vibe high when I’m not teaching.
To those of you who would like to be a part of my workshop lineup, remember you must pitch something I don’t do. So, no yoga or meditation applications, please. I’m bringing back my Thai Partner Yoga, Laughter Yoga, and Hoop instructors from last year. What I’d love to add is Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and some other flow arts like poi.
All our applications are live on our website. If you’d like to get involved, click here.
Otherwise, tickets are live. Stay tuned for our updated lineup. And see you on the mountain!
All my love,
Your Festival Fairy Godmother