While the main draw to Campout for the Cause is its music, the festival sets itself apart from others for its holistic focus on crafting a multi-faceted experience for its attendees.
To be fair, that sounds like something that every music festival on earth says they’re trying to do, but Campout succeeds in pulling it off organically. It offers a wide spread of activities to a group of people who are united by, if nothing else, an open-mindedness and a willingness to try new things.
Campout’s programming this year was organized around yoga and fitness, natural health and its daily songwriter roundtables.
Every morning, as the sun peeked over Midland Hill and began to warm the slightly humid Cottonwood Creek environment in the Meadows, the events main venue area would blanket with yoga mats.
Attendees woke up with Front Range yogis like Gina Caputo and Bobby L’Heureux, stretching the sleep out of their joints to music that was airy and ethereal but subtly driving: DJ Ramona with Caputo’s sessions, and live Hindustani ragas for sitar and tabla backing L’Heureux.
At the other end of the wide-open field and in the Yoga Temple tent, yoga continued throughout the day led by a lineup of yogis including Buena Vista’s own Jenna Pfingston and Campout musicians like Tiffany Christopher.
Among the more slow-moving, flowing yoga sessions were more intense aerobic fitness classes like Buns and Guns, taught Saturday and Sunday mornings by Tara LaFerrara.
Ariel Rosemberg of Bonfire Entertainment, which produces Campout, as well as WinterWonderGrass said Campout was looking forward to growing this fitness aspect in coming years.
“It attracts a different kind of person, in a good way,’ he said.
At Campout’s workshop tent, the programming varied from family drum circles to meditation to more kid-friendly yoga practices.
Saturday and Sunday morning saw Yerba Mate ceremonies, introducing attendees to the traditional communal culture around the drinking of mate, a caffeinated herbal tea consumed by the Guarani tribe indigenous to northern Argentina.
Another daily feature at the workshop tent were songwriter rounds. In these early-afternoon sessions, artists who would be taking the stage throughout the weekend sat down to share songs – and sometimes instruments – and discuss their approaches to songwriting.
The unamplified circles became unique to themselves, guided solely by conversation between musicians who in many cases had never met before.
At the Saturday session with Jack Cloonan, John Adam Smith and Tiffany Christopher, the focus was on overcoming the anxiety of putting words to music, and strategies for how to write lyrics when the muse isn’t showing up for work.
Christopher shared some insights from a songwriters conference about how Paul Simon would introduce elements of chaos to inspire him.
“Don’t be afraid to disappoint people,” Smith said.