To understand the 11th annual Campout for the Cause, and the intention behind the 3-day celebration of connections, music, yoga and enlightenment, look no further than the prelude to this interview with founder Scotty Stoughton.
The telephone discussion took an immediate sidetrack into world politics, metaphysics, the divineness infecting our culture and how individuals, unknown to one another, have to rise beyond differences and engage in an open, respectful dialogue of beliefs and values.
“See, this is what I want to do with Campout for the Cause,” Stoughton said. “We have to do what you and I are doing — dare to have uncomfortable conversations in a non-confrontational, empathetic way.”
To label Campout for the Cause as only a 3-day music festival of music and yoga or as an outdoor party is to miss the mark.
Creating a safe environment where ideas can be discussed and challenged peacefully, with respect for all points of views, was Stoughton’s purpose when the gathering began over a decade ago.
“The goal was the same thing I want to get out of our conversation. Honoring all things natural, inspiring others to reach out to those who may not think the same, and to know you can appreciate differences rather than attacking them.”
A family-friendly gathering, the festival doesn’t seek to be the largest event. The objective is to share a beautiful, natural space and value a shared appreciation of the outdoors and those who embrace gentle, but intellectually honest, coexistence.
“What I most hope is that everyone leaves here and returns to their community to share these ideas and spread the word about embracing nature,” Stoughton said.
The larger cause is funding Emmy’s Friends, a nonprofit organization benefitting young patients and families facing severe illnesses. Emmy, aka Emery Welle, was 2 in 2017 and had been diagnosed with rare childhood cancer at the age of 5 months old. The group addresses the need to keep the entire family healthy while dealing with the stresses of a child fighting disease.
When Campout for the Cause began 11 years ago, Stoughton was a touring musician who found his true calling to be in creating healthy spaces for large groups.
After volunteering in Nicaragua and also Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, Stoughton began seeing the world differently. He wanted not only to help those who were suffering but to encourage others to support nonprofits.
“That first year was as grassroots as it gets. There were only a couple of volunteers. I had an idea and rolled the dice hard,” Stoughton said.
He invested nearly everything he had in a new concept.
“We had maybe 500 people attend that first year.” This year, Campout expects around 1,200 adults and children.
Initially, the annual gathering was in Vail, but Stoughton came to believe the location didn’t match with his vision.
While calling himself a capitalist, the musician/festival producer felt the corporatization of that city pushed aside the sense of community, which was out of sync with his concept.
In 2017, he relocated Campout for the Cause to Buena Vista.
The Arkansas Valley resonated so much with Stoughton that, while performing with his band Bonfire Dub and managing a large, multi-day festival, he’ll also be celebrating a new cause—matrimony.
“Yeah, I’m getting married at Campout. I’m bringing in lots of family and friends. I suppose that’s the natural evolution of this thing.”
His bride-to-be is a single mother Stoughton met in Vermont several years ago.
“She’s deeply spiritual, and an inspiring, incredible human who is definitely connected.”
The private event appears to have escaped the category of secret, and Stoughton anticipates many unplanned guests for the wedding ceremony.
Other additions to the 2019 Campout for the Cause are several new workshops and improved spaces.
The yoga space is double that of previous years, now housed in a massive tent alongside the creek.
The workshop tent now has a separate zone, and there are plenty of opportunities to hike and explore, in addition to enjoying 3 days of music from artists such as Trout Steak Revival, The California Honeydrops and Billy Strings. For those preferring smaller concerts, the event has a soapbox stage where acts will perform.
Stoughton is especially excited by several new workshops, including one teaching river surfing. Led by long-time friend Bradley Hilton, whom Stoughton met while volunteering in Haiti, this session takes newbies to the river and shows them how to get in the water, be in the flow, and surf the currents.
Another favorite of his is songwriters in the round. This workshop allows fans to listen to artists discussing the stories behind their songs.
But his all-time favorite event is family yoga. “It’s awesome getting adults and children to move together and appreciate good health.”
All tiers for the 3-day event are sold out, except the higher-end tickets, $149 per person, this tier includes everything for 3 days—all yoga classes, workshops, music, and camping.
Parking is $20 per car.
While there is a bar and concession area, attendees are welcome to bring their own alcohol and food.
Campout for the Cause begins Friday at 11 a.m. and runs through noon on Monday.
Details on all activities and tickets are available at www.CampoutForTheCause.org.