Find YOUR Doe Bay
“ugh. over it.”
Such is the most recent comment on our review of Doe Bay Fest 2012.
And I get it, I really do. These days, getting tickets to Doe Bay is akin to winning a Lotto you have to pay for and the weight of expectation placed on the place by people like me, is hard for anything to lift. I’ve started to feel guilty for going and for talking about it, every mention of Doe Bay feels like bragging. And then there’s the fact, the festival and the bands who play it, just might not be your cup of Harmony Chai Tea.
I went to Doe Bay Fest 2012. It was my fourth trip to Orcas Island for the festival and it wasn’t my favorite. At times, I felt like one of Doe Bay’s biggest cheerleaders was a kill joy amidst hundreds of people experiencing the place for the first time, people who by the reviews both online and on sun-warmed, smile-wrinkled faces, were living up to all of those heavy expectations that had been placed upon it. Yet, all I could muster all weekend if I felt I could answer honestly to “how is your Doe Bay going?” was: “even the worst weekend here would be wonderful.” And that’s true, even though I was by no means having the worst weekend. Because Doe Bay, the place, and Orcas Island is arguably the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on. I have traveled some of the world and lots of the US, I have seen some of the most photogenic places the globe has to offer and the homegrown beauty of Doe Bay and Orcas Island and the San Juans, takes my breath away. It is my kind of beautiful, jaw dropping in its subtlety, there is nothing gigantic about it, there is no El Capitan or Mt. Rainier or the Alps … but when the sun sets, you can see the curve of the world in a sky cloudy with stars. And this weekend, the stars were dying, streaking the sky like 4th of July sparklers in glorious trails unlike anything I had ever seen. It is a place, I hope all of you can see someday. Not necessarily in the context of the festival, unless you want to, but add the San Juans to that list in your head of places you must go before you die. Do it now.
So even on a less than perfect weekend, Doe Bay and Doe Bay Fest is indeed, magical. How can it not be for me? It is like someone checked off my wish list and made a festival around it: beautiful location (check), local bands I love (check), run with intention, integrity and love (check).
But I get that it might not be yours … you might not like the bands I like or the people I like or the places I like. But I urge you, find your Doe Bay. Find the intimate, curated festival, hosted somewhere strange that does suit your taste. You don’t have to look too hard to find it. Just last weekend all my metal buddies were raving, as they do every August, about their trip to Total Fest in Montana, a metal lovers paradise full of thrashing and dive bars and too many beer cans to count and river swimming in scenic Missoula. It is, from the glowing reviews and the copious instagrams and the anticipation it is looked forward to with, metalheads Doe Bay. Or, if you like picking and bluegrass and harmonies and so much more, there’s Pickathon to the South. If you’re into jam bands or funk, there’s Summer Meltdown in Darrington the same weekend as Doe Bay. Or if you like K Records and noise, there’s the Helsing Junction Sleep Over, happening this weekend. If you like electronic music and DJs, there’s Decibel Fest right here in town.
These are just a few of the local festivals I know of that seem to be in the same spirit of Doe Bay done for folks who might be feeling “ugh. over it” or for folks for whom Doe Bay seems a nightmare. And for those of you that speaks to, I hope you find a festival that does what Doe Bay has done every year for me: give you something to look forward to, give friends a place to meet and commune together, a place to meet new friends who love what you love, a place and event that inspires you, a festival that feels made for you, where you feel like a participant and not a barcode on a ticket or a potential mark for $14 beers and $40 t-shirts.
Find your Doe Bay, or if it doesn’t exist yet, make it.
And then report back to me and tell me how amazing it is, how wonderful you feel after you experience it, how much you look forward to it next year. Because, while Doe Bay Fest is special, it is not the end-all-and-be-all, at least not for everyone and yet I truly believe every music lover deserves a Doe Bay experience. And I hope you find yours.