Tucked away in the rolling hills of Damascus, is a farm. Once it was the home of Ouchida Farm and was lined with marionberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and other delicious farm fresh produce. Now the beautiful and wide-open views are still there, but it is no longer a working farm. Instead it has grown into a gathering place for community and friendships.
I’ll let Michael Gordon give you the backstory himself, as it appears on the Farm Fest website. and the fest’s media guru, Jacob and I toss around ideas of testing out different ideas for success, branding, community, tribes, what are the best hangs, below.
Many years ago the Ouchida Farm was lined with marionberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and other delicious farm fresh produce. Our family worked from day break to sundown picking hundreds of pounds of berries. The farm was our livelihood, and even the Ouchida kids, with their berry stained mouths, helped support the family business.
Back when the farm was running, it was a gathering point for friends and family. Not only did the work bring us together, but the beautiful views of Mt. Adams, St. Helens and Mt. Hood helped ease the hardships of farming life. When you visit our farm you may notice only the tip of St. Helens is visible. I recently spoke with a neighbor, who pointed out a spot next to the barn. He said that In 1980, “Back when St. Helens erupted, all the neighbors gathered here to watch.” The explosion covered the farm in 3″ of ash, a few containers of this ash are still held by our family.
In the late 90s, my family gave up farming as Jack Ouchida, my grandfather, aged. In the 2000s, we leased the land out to other types of farming, mainly Christmas trees. Unfortunately, a few years later the news came that the farmers were pulling out due to the economy, and were not going to renew their contract. Thus leaving us with beautiful, although barren, fields. As the field lay empty for a few years we started looking for alternative ways to cover the costs of owning the land and utilizing its potential. Then I started dreaming… Maybe we can support the land through music, building community, and simply enjoying what we have around us, together. I wanted to share the Farm Fiesta dream.
The Farm Fiesta is possible through the contributions of our friends, neighbors and family. Our performing musicians and our volunteers also deserve huge thanks. Everyone brings incredible talent to the stage, and we are happy to have them. We all believe in music, and trusting in people. Come visit our farm August 8th, and you will find a musical refuge from the city. Revitalize your soul. Love People. Love Music.
Media guru, Jacob, has lots of ideas about festivals. They are complex and he told me it’s been a team building year as they go into their third festival. It is about a 5-year arc for festivals to take off, IF they indeed will. This year, the music is focused on a certain theme as you can see, below.
Beyond music, there are options for a hang, laying around in hammocks, star-gazing (astronomers on hand), dining, disc golfing, eating, trying some brew, and being in a wonderful outdoor community, if only for one day. Though your price of tickets comes with camping!
One of the most exciting twists Jacob told me about was an interactive component. The team wanted to bring artists and creatives into the Fiesta. They found Action Adventure Theater. Click on the image to find out what this amazing company is all about.
When we talked, Jake and I got deep into the mini-history of festivals in general. It is a complicated and expansive world. Some don’t gain traction and others get too sprawled out. But it comes down to capturing community and throwing a really great party.