Emissions Festival in Belden Town, California Was Full of Surprise Vibes

By: Taj Leahy

When a friend decided that I simply must join her at a so-called “bass festival,” I at once figured it was not where I wanted to be. Why? I judged the whole thing to be a hyper-masculine meat market with a shitty sound system and profanities on perpetual loop. But surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. It was nothing like that at all. In fact, I had the time of my life, and this “dirt rave” was one of the best parties this old raver has been to in a long time.

Emissions Festival.

Emissions Festival.

With a rocksolid vibe and a fairly insane sound system, Emissions Festival is a gem of an event. Held in the old mining and logging town of Belden, CA, the setting is idyllic as well. The Belden Town Resort is a sprawling building with a restaurant, mercantile, and hotel. The lengthy bar has surely seen and heard many a story, though I didn’t get to add any of my own. Most of the “town” seems to be held up by this single lodge on the banks of the mighty Feather River.

Oddly enough, this oft-used festival site is also a known stopover on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It’s not hard to imagine taking to foot in this lush country. Everywhere you look is either soaring canyon walls, rivulets making their way to the Feather, or some other natural feature reminding you of nature’s enormity and grandeur. It’s little wonder that this area was chosen to be a part of the PCT, though it’s hard to imagine a hiker on a months-long trek pulling into a dirt rave like Emissions. They’d find everything but a respite. The bass cranks all night long; it rattles your waking hours as well as your dreams. Pots and pans vibrate off of stoves. It’s bonkers.

Belden.

Belden.

Another factor that was outside of reckoning was the multitude of Black people at this event. It came as a welcome surprise. Too often, I am one of a handful, and that’s being nice. Honestly, I am more often than not one of perhaps two Black people at a rave. This phenomenon is so normal, and the opposite was so true at Emissions, that when we melinated people did cross each other’s paths, it was hard not to acknowledge it. One Black raver, after commenting on my outfit for the day, pulled down his sunglasses and issued forth a simple and complete statement, “Black people!”

Yes indeed. Judgment be damned. This dirt rave was nothing that I expected, save for the prevalent use of n*gger and b*tch used in the stripped-down and non-melodic music. To be fair, the music didn’t all sound the same, but the genre itself is styled off of Trap music, which is a style of rap with an emphasis on sparse lyrics and a high attention to bass. The funny part is hearing White people play and love this style of music, knowing that it comes from “The Hood” and that it directly contributes to the detriment of Black people, as well as women in general. But I digress.

Speaking of degrading women for sport, the skin at this event was enough to work everyone into a frenzy. But the kicker was that never, not once did this event feel like a meat market, as I had earlier feared. In fact, from the production team to the average partier, everyone I met said that this rave felt “safe.” These days, that’s an important factor. “It’s so good not to have to fight someone off every five minutes,” said one raver to the nods and exclamations of her female friends standing nearby.

Bass. Photo Credit: Audrey A.

Bass. Photo Credit: Audrey A.

Then it hit me: there was something about this party that seemed so good. Partly, I accredit it to being such a small event; they cap the ticket sales at around 600. Coupled with the small area in which the rave takes place, you end up seeing everyone over and over again. It’s ripe for a good time and you can make rave buddies and keep interacting with them for literally days, which took the edge off. Even with the hefty amount of drug use around, most people seemed happy and willing to be there together. Instead of women hiding from men and people lurking, there were spontaneous dance groups and speaker piles, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the 90s. Yes, I’m that old. Yes, I’m still raving.

Rave franz.

Rave franz.

This rave was bliss; ecstasy even. When it was time to go, I found myself sad to leave the new dancer buddies I’d met, which really was a good feeling. The couple of “bromances” I had at Emissions left me feeling very differently than I had expected when first invited to come to this dirt rave in the forest. The plain of it is that I barely want to tell anyone about this festival, but I’ve made an exception for you dear reader. Emissions was such a good party that I’d hate to have it spoiled by too much notoriety.

That said, everyone is welcome, and I myself would love to see Belden from the vantage of a hiker on the PCT. Once again I was reminded of what the raver gods teach us: that all are welcome and that music is life. Life indeed is music, if only we are willing to let it play and be open to its many forms. Everyone is welcome on the dance floor no matter if they have a hiking stick or a Thai stick. Emissions in Belden Town is the place to be.

Learn more about Emissions here.

-Taj

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.    

LA's Recent Daybreaker Was Filled With A Little Extra Love

By: Benjamin Tillis

Did you know that the secret to having an energized, supercharged day is... waking up at 5AM? It’s true! On Valentine’s Day morning, I crawled out of bed before the crack of dawn to attend Los Angeles’ Valentine’s Day Daybreaker. Both a yoga session and a dance party, Daybreaker is a series of almost exclusively early morning social gatherings geared towards music lovers, social butterflies, and the health conscious. The end result: a fun-filled, completely unique experience that left me skipping back to my car excited about my drive to work.

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To start off the event at 530AM, roughly 50 attendees rolled out their yoga mats in the event space at Joseph’s Café, located in the heart of Hollywood. Sympathetic to the fact that most of us were still waking up, the yoga session was low-intensity and lighthearted. It was a perfect way to loosen and wake up before the big dance party. As soon as 630AM came around, the door opened to those who came just to break a sweat dancing, and several healthy food and beverage brands set up free samples of their products, including Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, RxBar, and Noosa Yogurt. Delicious.

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Once my stomach was full, I joined the rest of the event-goers on the dance floor, which was illuminated with various colorful lights. In the theme of love and light, we were encouraged to wear clothes and accessories that lit up, making it a beautiful scene of glowing good vibes. For two straight hours we danced to DJ Eric Sharp, who played upbeat jams. Periodically, he was accompanied by a trumpet or saxophone player or a rapper, making it an eclectic set that kept us moving the entire time. You couldn’t turn your head without seeing big smiles and new connections being made on the dance floor.

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The event closed with a short meditation focused on love and our intent for the week, which was a good way to relax before getting the rest of the day started. Check out Daybreaker’s next LA event, an early morning silent disco boat party on March 13th! Get your tickets here!

-Benjamin

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Daybreaker Is Officially The Best Way To Wake Up

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last Thursday, I woke up at 5AM to don my best fur vest with some of Boulder’s happiest people. Yoga mat in hand, I headed to the Boulder Theater for what was the earliest door time I’d ever attended: a spry 6AM. Though it was still dark outside when I arrived, the inside of one of Boulder’s best concert venues was glowing. Ticket-checkers greeted everyone who entered with a hug and a twinkling, “Welcome to Daybreaker!” It was hard to keep even the most “I’m-not-a-morning-person” from smiling.

Inside the theater, DJ Falcon Punch was spinning disco funk tunes. Around me, people were spreading out yoga mats where concert-goers normally post up with a beer to catch a band. There was a lot of faux fur happening, and alongside it, yogis in onesies ranging from your classic Christmas pajama look to your Ninja Turtle of choice. Though it was early, there was no sign of sleep. People were ready to party.

Yoga Pod’s Dan Carbonell and Rob Loud led the morning sun salutations just as the horizon was lighting up outside. They made the practice playful while DJ Falconpunch continued to throw down some fun, meditative grooves for those long-held plank poses. Loud even recommended twerking during saddle pose, and more than one Daybreaker attendee took him up on it.

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After yoga, the bar opened at 7AM with a selection of green juice and tea. There were temporary tattoo stations and face-painting. More penguins, tigers, and unicorns twirled into the venue as the event's emcee, Drew Wyman from Shinesty, beckoned attendees to dance. Which they did. For the next TWO HOURS before most of them hit their day jobs. Somehow, the positive and creative space that Daybreaker fosters with this event will leave you more energized than any morning Starbucks ever could. The event almost feels like a mini Bonnaroo high-five session, jam-packed with love and positive vibes. People left the theater shining with gratitude and smiles, and though I rarely leave a music venue any other way, this was different. I actually questioned if I might be a morning person thanks to Daybreaker.

Daybreaker is coming back to Colorado, in Boulder Thursday, January 11th (details TBA) and in Denver at Club Vinyl on Wednesday, January 17th. Get tickets here and get to it! You don’t want to (hit) snooze on this one.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.