The Forest Paradise: What The Festival Returns


What The Festival- Wolf Run Ranch, OR

Spring is in the air! Days are getting longer, flowers are beginning to bloom, and summer is almost within reach. To music lovers around the globe that means one thing– IT’S ALMOST FESTIVAL SEASON! In just a few short weeks we will hit the road to our favorite music festival and one of Oregon’s best hidden gems, What The Festival (WTF). WTF is a carefully curated weekend of electronic and live music, interactive art, speaker series, movement classes, and more.  The festival will be celebrating its sixth year on June 16-19, 2017 at Wolf Run Ranch, Oregon.

Wolf Run Ranch is the perfect location for this amazing weekend getaway. When we asked the founders about the venue, they told us, “Not only is it the place where we host What The Festival, Wolf Run Ranch is our home. Wolf Run butts up against national forest and has spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams and the Cascade mountain range. It’s truly a magical property.” It is a perfect location, but the venue doesn’t make the festival—the founders, the volunteers, the music, the art, and the attendees make What The Festival the magical place it is.

The Lineup

WTF Lineup

This year’s lineup showcases a diverse list of artists, bringing all forms of electronic, hip-hop, pop, alternative, and more to Wolf Run Ranch! Headlining the 2017 edition of the festival will be the mysterious house heavyweight ZHU, synthpop legends Cut Copy, and the glitch hop, funk master, Gramatik. Both ZHU and Gramatik are coming off successful albums in 2016, with Generationwhy and Epigram, respectively. Cut Copy are currently in the works on their next studio album since 2013’s Free Your Mind, so expect to hear some new music this coming June!

This year will also be boasting performances from the likes Big Wild, Brasstracks, Electric Mantis, Falcons, Giraffage, Hoodboi, Hotel Garuda, Kittens, Lafa Taylor, Haywyre, Hotel Garuda, Ill. Gates, Manic Focus, Manilla Killa, Paper Diamond, Rezz, Shiba San, Stooki Sound, Whethan, Woolymammoth, and many more!

When asked about what the founders look for in a lineup, “We take a lot of things into consideration. Everything from what’s trending to doing surveys and asking our participants what they want to see. We try to be progressive and showcase new artists.” That statement definitely resonates with this lineup, from big names to the lesser known, and though obscurity begins to seep through as you go down the list of names, taste is one thing this festival is never short in stock of. Good music is in the forecast from sundown to sunset, and this year is shaping up to be another great one!

What The Festival – The Experience

The Stages

What the Festival is home to 8 stages, including the Main Stage, Effin’ Stage, Splash Pool, Groove Qube, Equinox Stage, Dragon Stage, Easy Speak Stage, and Shinto A Go Go. These range from more traditional setups to the unconventional.

The Splash Pool stage is a mini Oregon oasis, with 3 separate pools, interconnected deck, and bountiful amounts of sand. Afternoons at WTF wouldn’t be the same without it. Whether you’re getting down on the deck, splashing in the pools, or bouncing on exercise balls in the sand, you’re in for a great time! The Main Stage and Effin’ Stage offer a more traditional stage experience, while the other more unconventional of the group create their own little worlds. This is especially the case with the smaller stages, Shinto A GoGo and the Easy Speak Stage. The contrast in ambience from your leisurely stroll down the forest, and stepping into one of these areas is impressive. Like a little door to Narnia, if you’re looking to step into a new world, you’ve found the right spot.

Groove Qube

Lastly, our personal favorite, the Groove Qube, is one of the more unique stages we have come across. The Qube has a life of its own and pulsates to the music with a constant stream of ever changing color flowing through each individual cube. The Groove Qube accomplishes what many larger stages fail to do in creating an immersive experience, and shows creativity reigns king over throwing money at pyrotechnics and large LED screens. To put it shortly, “Qube is lyfe”.

Daytime & Nighttime Stages

A unique component of WTF is the concept of daytime, nighttime, and late night stages. As the hours begin to wane, the festival moves its attention from the fields and splash pool to the forest. There, attendees can go to enjoy the illuminated forest in all of its glory as it hosts WTF’s many late night options for entertainment. This strategy also helps push people to experience many of the great art installations that may have been overlooked throughout the day while traveling to stages.

Some words from the Founders about this concept, “There are several reasons behind the strategy and the flow of the stages. Having a daytime stage we felt was crucial after attending a few festivals with limited daytime activities we knew it was something we needed to have. After spending time in South Beach and the amazing daytime vibe that is created there we wanted to bring that feeling to the Pacific Northwest and that became the inspiration for the Splash Pool Stage. Due to sound complaints from the neighbors after our first year on Wolf Run Ranch we worked on a compromise with them to end the large stages in the open field at midnight but you still need entertainment for your participants so we created smaller more intimate stages in the forest for late night.”

Well, tell the neighbors thank you from The Pack! This seemingly practical change has helped make the WTF experience more dynamic and allows attendees to enjoy all that the Wolf Run Ranch has to offer, from the fields to the forest.


Get Involved

Many different programs are offered to help attendees participate in the creation of the community feeling of WTF. We asked the founders about the volunteer program and how it has grown throughout the years, and they said, “Every festival has a volunteer program, there is no way a festival can survive without its volunteers. So we started with our volunteer program but over the years we have realized that our participants want to give in so many different ways that we wanted to help facilitate that by providing them different ways to get involved to share their creativity and passion. Volunteers do everything from art installations, traffic control, being part of our street team getting the word out to being an Ambassador for getting their friends on-board every year.”

Art Installations

Art installations populate the Illuminated Forest and add extra little adventures for attendees to explore. Out of the memorable times at WTF from the music and friends, these installations took the experience to another level. Some of the iconic installations include the “Heart of the Forest”, the “Immersive Jelly”, the “Cloud Cave”, “The Labyrinth”, the “Registroid”, and many others. Each one of these provide a unique aesthetic to the festival and transport attendees into new little rabbit holes along their 3-day journey throughout WTF. In addition, many of these installations include interactive components for attendees to immerse themselves into, work together, unlock treasures, and enjoy the art.


From the interactive installations, the “Registroid” blew my peasant mind with its music making abilities and continued to shatter my preconceptions of reality when my group hit the right combination. The register opened with a “take one, leave one” sign; we appreciated the opportunity and aptly took a chap stick, leaving a pack of gum in its place. It’s the little things like that and the extra care in preparation that lift the WTF experience to new heights. If the music and stages are the foundation of the festival, these installations are the glue that helps tie everything together.

The People

From our experience the people that go to this festival, in general, are veteran festival attendees. They are the epitome of PLUR. Everyone we met treated us with kindness, welcomed us to their campsites, and shared food/drinks with us when we needed. On the second night of the festival we were extremely hungry and needed to eat. Somewhere in the space between the food stand and the nearest picnic table I (Rashae) naturally tripped over something I couldn’t see in the dark. Within seconds the meal that we had been salivating over covered the dirt, along with my pride 🙂 .A couple sitting at a table nearby walked over to us and just handed us the rest of their meal, saying that they were full and would rather us have it. These are the type of people you will meet at WTF. 🙂

What The Festival
FestPop Staff Writers and Friends at WTF 2016

Ticket and Camping Information

Tier Two tickets for WTF are now on sale. General Admission and OMG Experience passes include walk-in camping. If you would like to upgrade your camping experience, there are many different camping options available including Boutique RV & Trailer Camping, Boutique Safari Tent with AC, and even a Boutique Safari tent with beds—it is all up to you and how you want to experience your stay on the Wolf Run Ranch. In true Oregon form this festival will be a strict Leave No Trace environment. Attendees therefore must take what they need to survive and leave the site with these things as well, including garbage.

Last year we decided to go with the walk-in camping that was included, and we will be doing the same this year! It may seem a bit tedious to have to walk your camping gear into the forest but once you get everything set up you realize it’s just a minor inconvenience. There are even points when getting everything set up is fun! In addition, if you drink a beer every time you bring a load to your campsite it makes the time go by real quick :). Parking areas are close enough to make the trek back and forth if you want to lock any of your items in your vehicle as well. Again, it’s all up to the experience you want!

Lastly, you will need to purchase a parking pass if you choose to drive to the festival or purchase a shuttle pass and go to a pickup location. WTF encourages you to carpool (3+) and those passes are $10, otherwise (1-2 people) they are $75 + fees.


General Admission (3-Day Pass) — $325.00 + Fees
OMG Experience (4-Day Pass) — $425.00 + Fees
OMG Upgrade– $125 + Fees
Early Entry Pass– $60 + Fees

You can find more information on festival passes and camping options Here


We could talk about our favorite music festival forever, but we can save more stories for our review of this summer. Advice from the founders to someone attending WTF for the first time– “Come with an open heart, an open mind, and be prepared to make a lot of new friends!”

We can’t wait to experience another amazing weekend on Wolf Run Ranch with The Pack. See you all in June!

For More Information

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Soundcloud

What The Festival
Wolf Run Ranch, OR
June 16-19, 2017


Rashae- FestPop Staff Writer
Eric- FestPop Staff Writer
Eric- FestPop Staff Writer


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