By: Xochi Raye
The 14th Annual Earthdance Festival will take place September 17-19 at Black Oak Ranch for the
very last time. You can check out more details on this gathering here, which includes headliners Spearhead, Matisyahu, Trombone Shorty &
Orleans Ave, EOTO and many more.
Every September for the past eight years, the Earthdance Peace Festival in
Laytonville CA has drawn folks by the thousands to the legendary Black Oak Ranch for a
weekend of celebration, music, dance, art and participation with an international prayer
for peace and healing. Earthdance Laytonville is the hub event of the global Earthdance
peace festival, which unites over 350 locations in 65 countries each year. Often
described as a festival that combines the artistic liberation of Burning Man with the
socially responsible conscience of the Oregon Country Fair, the festival has gained
international recognition as one of the best "boutique" festivals on the west coast of the
USA, with sell out shows each year. The festival has now outgrown itself and will be
moving to a new location for 2012.
"To me it feels like a really positive change," says Earthdance founder Chris
Deckker. "If we can embrace change and transition, there is a lot of room for
Prayer For Peace – Earthdance '09 by Michael
Earthdance began as a one-day international event in 1997, using the universal medium of
music and dance to unite people across the world in support of global peace and
sustainability. The climax of the global event is a synchronized prayer for peace that is
played by every location at the same time. The event has grown from 18 locations in 1997
to over 350 locations in 65 countries.
The first California Earthdance Festival took place in 2001 on the Yakeama Native American
Reservation near Santa Rosa. In 2003, Earthdance found its home at the Black Oak Ranch,
and at the same time, Deckker partnered with Bob Barsotti, one of Bill Graham's
production managers who was pivotal in producing The Grateful Dead touring phenomena. The
ranch is also home to the legendary "Hog Farm" community, who began their legacy in the
60s, founded by Wavy Gravy, the infamous clown activist. The Hog Farm is
considered to be one of America's longest running counterculture communities, and is best
known for their involvement with the Woodstock Music Festival. Earthdance Laytonville
became a wonderful merging of 60s counterculture energy with the evolving technology
So, it was inevitable that this land, coupled with the intentional container that
Earthdance creates, would foster a certain magic of its own kind. From devotional Sufis
chanting in the middle of the night to internationally renowned DJs and major headline
acts, Earthdance Laytonville offers something for all. Past highlights include the "Drums
for Peace" in 2005. That year Earthdance broke the Guinness World Record for the largest
drum circle, giving away thousands of drums to those who registered for the event. Mickey Hart and
some of the world's best percussionists facilitated a prayer that literally shook the
wings of an airplane overhead. The pilot flying the plane was filming the drum circle,
and commented that with every beat he could feel his wings vibrating. The only other time
that a pilot has recorded his wings shaking was when bombs were being dropped.
The largest ever Celtic Spiral Dance was led in 2006 by Suzanne Sterling of
Reclaiming, a Pagan Roots organization out of San Francisco, and in 2007 the international
prayer included a global Om Circle with the intention of healing of our planetary waters.
Earthdance was also the first West Coast festival to present an "elders wisdom council"
featuring first nation and counterculture elders from across the world. This year the
international prayer will be facilitated by Grandmother Agnes, Baker Pilgrim of the
13 Indigenous Grandmothers Council, and Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation
with the theme being "Honoring Our Traditions."
|Earthdance '09 by Michael Buchanan|
Workshops offered throughout the weekend include yoga, permaculture, ancient forms of
dance and healing and Earthskills workshops, where teaching of traditional indigenous
skills such as cord weaving, hide tanning and natural fire making will be shared.
To make this a "grand farewell" year to remember the festival will present an amazing line
up of artists featuring, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Matisyahu, Zap Mama, Ivan Neville's
Dumstaphunk, The Yard Dogs Road Show, Kinky and many others. The festival will feature
five stages of entertainment representing all music genres including a dedicated
electronica stage and all-night devotional music.
"It will be bittersweet to say goodbye to the Black Oak Ranch," reflects Deckker " It has
been wonderful to have such a stunning and vibrant place as a home for the past eight
years. So much magic happened there! This is truly the end of a legacy, but I am really
excited for these changes, and to see what the next chapter for Earthdance will bring."
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