Piercy, CA - Good vibes and ecstatic smiles radiated from the magical campgrounds of Cook’s Valley as the 5th annual Northern Nights Music Festival drew to a close this past July 14-16. Upon arrival, attendees of Northern Nights Music Festival, located along the Eel River in California's famed redwood forests on the border of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, are greeted by one of the most picturesque views found in the world. Towering redwood trees, river swims, dance parties, yoga classes, an all-encompassing lineup with over 90 artists, and the first-ever cannabis Tree Lounge situated at the epicenter of the festival, cemented the festival’s status as one of the West Coast’s premiere boutique camping festivals and a pioneer in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Luminous starry skies and a river speckled with colorful floaties, engulfed within a emerald shroud of trees, offered a prismatic backdrop for the three main stages of the festival - The Grove, The River Stage and the Northern Nights Main Stage, which played host to a diverse array of emerging artists and industry legends. A highly-anticipated set from the West Coast’s Hip Hop collective Living Legends served as a marquee event over the weekend, who reunited atop the Main Stage for the first time in over 10 years. Other musical highlights from the Main Stage included a soulful set from indie-electro producer Jai Wolf, Foreign Family Collective’s Big Wild, who offered a dynamic performance, the master of bass G Jones, who had fans bumping with heavy beats and an incredible laser show, and Dirtybird’s Justin Jay who brought along his live band taking attendees on one Fantastic Voyage.
Driving underground talent to the next level, Northern Nights showcased multi-faceted artist NoMBe on the Main Stage in addition to bringing out Belgium’s house duo Vijay and Sofia, who played an ethereal trance-house set as the sun descended behind the River Stage, making their American festival debut an unforgettable one. Also taking riverside dancers on a quest was luminary of the west-coast psychedelic movement, the infamous vibe selector Random Rab. Sun dwellers cooled off in the shades of The Grove Stage, a lavishly decorated mermaid-pirate hybrid cove under the redwoods, where yoga curated by Bloom Farms was offered throughout the daylight, giving way to performances by Starfari, Main Stage headliner Dirtwire, twilight burlesque performances and so much more!
Roaming across the festival grounds on Friday, attendees may have noticed a man-made hillside cave in the process of being constructed. Those brave enough to walk up the gravel path were shocked to find a secret bunker stage in the hillside. This renegade stage hosted a slew of intimate after-hour sets that will go down in the Festival FOMO Hall of Fame, including a six hour DJ set by Justin Jay and an incredible 2nd performance Sunday night by Living Legends who dropped fan favorites alongside freestyle raps. Other side stages included the “Purple Nights” Art Gallery showcasing the works of the finest borosilicate glass artists from around the world and the Silent Disco, the largest in California, where attendees were guided on a silent journey of epic proportions.
In a paradigm-shifting moment and for the first time in festival history, Northern Nights premiered their trailblazing, state-of-the-art cannabis Tree Lounge in the center of the festival across from the Main Stage. Paying homage to the festival’s location in the heart of the “Emerald Triangle”, known as the epicenter of the cannabis industry, the expanded Tree Lounge normalizes cannabis use akin to a beer garden and celebrates the end of 80 years of cannabis prohibition and negative propaganda. The Tree Lounge was available to attendees with medical cards or those who received a doctor recommendation onsite by PrestoDoctor. It featured over 20 Northern California cannabis collectives, from dispensaries to artisan farmers, to give credit to the independent brands who have perfected their trade from behind the “redwood curtain” for decades including Redwood Roots, Madrone California, Humboldt Brothers, Emerald Pharms, Humboldt Brand Company, Wylde Heart Ranch and Old Kia -- to name a few. Attendees could interact with the vendors to learn more about cannabis, the medical benefits of cannabinoids, the growing process, or industry and legal concerns as the small farmer competes against big corporate powers. The lounge also offered free samples, cannabis infused massages, large-scale art installations, and refreshing cannabis-infused beverages. Guests could also lay across several lounge spots to listen to speakers, comedians and musicians play the Royal Gold Tree Stage throughout the weekend.
Providing a platform for world-class music to meet the rising underground, from arts and music to cannabis culture, Northern Nights Music Festival successfully completed its fifth year as a beacon for the community, bringing “the city to the country” and delivering an otherworldly, three-day experience. Taking place at a venue that Random Rab noted was “one of the most beautiful he’s played in the world”, offering a wealth of activities and, of course, a stellar, all-encompassing lineup, Northern Nights is globally-renowned as an evolutionary festival for the ages.
See you next year in the redwoods!
About Nights Music Festival
A three-day celebration of music, art, cannabis, food and local culture, the annual Northern Nights Music Festival (NNMF) takes place every third weekend in July. NNMF has created its home along the South Fork Eel River at Cook’s Valley Campground, 3.5 hours north of San Francisco at the intersection of Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Since its inception, NNMF has cemented its place among the ranks of the many acclaimed music festivals who have converged along the Eel River over the past 30 years, from Jerry Garcia’s Electric on the Eel to Reggae on the River.
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