Gaia takes on Reggae Phoenix




An announcement sent out yesterday adds a new twist to the operatic saga of Reggae Rising. A new festival is coming to the North Coast next year, not far from the Humboldt/Mendo border, and it's on the same weekend as Reggae Rising. Looks like Mother Gaia is coming after the Reggae Phoenix.

If you watched the hearing on July 6, where the Planning Commission rejected Tom Dimmick's request for a permit to run Reggae Rising 2010, his festival along the Eel, you saw a Planning Commission torn by their duty. Dimmick had clearly failed to meet the requirements the Commission set forth: He'd run out of time and money and had not come up with the requisite letters of support from numerous agencies who had to sign off for the festival to move forward. The Commission could not and did not approve his permit for this year.

At the same time they recognized the festival's value to Humboldt County, especially to Southern Humboldt. At the previous meeting they'd been told by staff that Reggae brings in millions of dollars, directly and indirectly. They did not want to be the ones who signed the final death warrant on the Golden Goose. More than one Commissioner suggested another plan: They thought Dimmick should take another year to regroup, pay his debts off and come back in 2011.

While he did not say so at the time (he hinted he still might move this year's fest to an undisclosed location) that wait-until-next-year plan is what Dimmick announced on Wednesday. (See Reggae News Times Two.) In short, as noted on the festival website, "Reggae Rising has been postponed until August 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2011."

Meanwhile 37 miles south on HWY 101 near Laytonville, another story was unfolding. Earlier this year the folks who own Black Oak Ranch, aka the Hog Farm, announced that this September's Earthdance will be the last one on the ranch. However, as one of the Hog Farmers, Suzie Barsotti, explained to this reporter a few weeks ago, they were not giving up the festival business. While the Hog Farm collective feels Earthdance has outgrown the carrying capacity of the Laytonville community, they were making plans for a downsized event along similar lines: The Gaia Festival dedicated to Mother Earth. The unanswered question then was: What weekend to put it on?

The answer came yesterday in an emailed press release and it won't be good news for Tom Dimmick. The kicker is in the last line: The Gaia Festival is set to run August 5-6-7, 2011 -- the same weekend as Reggae Rising 2011.

Here's the spiel:

Back Roads Productions, the folks who bring us the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in northern Mendocino County, are pleased to announce a new summer festival at Black Oak Ranch; "THE GAIA FESTIVAL." The Gaia Festival is a manifestation of our desire to take personal responsibility with a global consciousness that is reflected through sustainable living, social & environmental activism, alternative energy, healing arts, theater, world-class music and more!

The Gaia Festival will include a series of connected villages throughout the grounds, each devoted to an aspect of life and the future health of all living things. Stroll down to the creek for a mid-day swim while attending a workshop on stream restoration and riparian health. Join discussions on traditional and emerging wisdom with the elders and youth councils in the Wisdom Village. Enjoy a massage, some yoga, or late night Kirtan in our Introspection Community Village. Visit the Illumination Eco-Village where there will be workshops on alternative energy, permaculture, green building, sustainable & communal living and environmental activism. Join the tribal dance in our 60' dome as darkness settles in each night. Innocence and Trust are the pillars with which we build our children's play zone, where kids get a chance to express themselves through art, music, storytelling, group games and a parade.

The central piece of the festival will be the Earth & Sky stage, nestled among the ancient oaks, where we will present a variety of world class performing artists bringing music from all genres expressing a positive message for our time.

There'll be plenty of great food & crafts provided by local non-profits and artisans featuring the north coast's finest organic and sustainable products.

Five stages, four directions, three days, too much fun, one love! THE GAIA FESTIVAL.

Stay tuned for more information about THE GAIA FESTIVAL, AUGUST 5-6-7, 2011


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