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Picture yourself at a splash pool with a few thousand people, a few hundred assorted floaties, a few dozen boxes and bags of wine, and a DJ throwing down some of the hottest in future bass and house music. Then imagine a snow covered mountain cascading in the distance, a giant disco ball behind you, and a breathtaking forest just to your side. 

This might sound like some raver's wet dream, but it's actually just another day on the luscious grounds of What The Festival. The boutique event, about an hour and a half east of Portland, has truly turned fantasy into a reality and created the closest thing to a perfect festival that we have ever experienced. 

All Photos by Daniel Zetterstrom, except where noted.

All Photos by Daniel Zetterstrom, except where noted.

It takes the best parts of a Vegas or Coachella pool party and mixes them with the best parts of the transformational music festivals that are currently running rampant across the West Coast. But what makes this festival so special, is you only get the good. Cheaper food and drinks, less bros, and less unyielding summer mornings that force you to wake up at 7am.  

And while directly competing with EDC and facing what might as well be a portable frat house the weekend after at Paradiso, What The Festival has had no trouble carving out its own niche and building a community that would give an arm and a leg to venture towards Wolf Run Ranch each June.


This was apparent from their second sellout in a row, along with an immersive experience that has continued to blossom with each passing year. New stages, new art exhibits, and new ways to spend your weekend in beautiful Dufur. 

While the rain (and Hippie Sabotage) threatened to ruin the vibe, you can always count on Oregonians to make the best of every situation. On that note, you can hear about the 10 most WTF moments of What The Festival below. The good, the weird, and the wild. Enjoy, and we hope to see you out there next year. 


10. The Leaning Tower Of Pizza Inflatables 

During Sunday's pool party, which included a hefty serving of house tunes from Darius, Le Youth, and Motez, some wild festivalgoers came up with the genius idea to stack all their inflatables on top of each other to create a massive and colorful tower. 

It soon came crashing to the ground, but not before about 20+ inflatables in the shape of pizzas and crocodiles stacking high above our heads became the focus of everyone at the pool. 

9. Tennyson Singing About Going To Tomato Land

After accidentally falling asleep from about 7 to 11:30pm on the last night at WTF, we woke up with just enough time to slide our cow onesies on and very slowly make our way over to Tennyson. And while the majority of their "first festival set ever" was spent gripping the audience in alluring electronic lullabies, the Canadian brother and sister duo decided to end their set with a slightly different vibe.

Basically, they sang about wanting to go to tomato land and it was amazing. Apparently Tess hates performing the song, which Luke made sure the entire audience knew, but that didn't stop her from powering through for the good of all things tomato. 


8. The Magic That Was K-Poplates

Everyone knows that K-Pop and Pilates are a match made in heaven, so it's no surprise that What The Festival got wild with the puns and decided to host a class that brought the two magical acts together. Every other festival: take note. K-Poplates might just be the hottest thing to hit the festival scene since gyros. 

7. Josh Pan Mashing Up RL Grime And A Cow 

The most promising addition to WTF this year was undoubtedly the Groove Qube. And while they probably should have called it the Run The Trap Qube, it was a clear message to other festivals that simplicity is often better than elaborate and massive stages.  

It's pretty easy to describe: a big square fortress of glowing cubes stacked about 15 feet high that were constantly changing colors. And while still decked out in my cow onesie after Tennyson, the ever-allusive josh pan threw down a set that included a mashup of "Core" by RL Grime with the sound of a cow mooing. Amazing. Who do the shit that I moo (moo). 

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Photo Credit: Aaron Glassman

Photo Credit: Aaron Glassman

6. Losing All Your Friends To A Cuddle Puddle

It's already hard enough to rally the troops and get a big group of people from one stage to the next, but cuddle puddles are just there to make it physically impossible. Just when you think you have some momentum, half your group decides it's in their best interest to depart from the path and go deep cuddle.

If you're on that level then it's perfect. If you aren't, it's just bodies lying on the ground while you patiently wait for your friends to unravel themselves from the throws of cuddle. 

5. The Inaugural Edition Of Wet The Festival 

While Oregon has always been known for having the most bipolar weather known to man, What The Festival had somehow experienced nothing but sunshine for the past 4 years. That was until this year when the rain decided to make a special guest experience on Friday and Saturday.

This only slightly dampened the mood at the pool party on Friday, and in the end was just another unforgettable experience of What The Festival that brought the audience even closer together. 

4. System Of A Down Getting Dropped At 4am 

There's nothing like a little nostalgia to keep you partying in the wee hours of the night. Right as Claude VonStroke was finishing out his 2-hour late night set (more on that soon), we decided to get a head start and head back to the campground. 

Then we walked by the Groove Qube and were left with no choice but to keep partying when Soohan dropped a relentless dance remix of B.Y.O.B. to keep the night going. Let's just say the kids loved it. 


3. Jumping Balls Galore At The Pool 

In many ways, being at a festival is like channeling your childhood. And nothing says childhood like bouncing around on massive inflatable jumping balls in the back of the pool.

Picture 20-30 adults bouncing around in unison on full sized jumping balls in the sand behind a splash pool while house music plays, and you have your Sunday at What The Festival. Faith in humanity restored. 

2. The Dude Driving Through The Campground Slanging Ice And Jokes

Ice is a rare commodity at festivals that is not often easy to ascertain. Think long lines, extreme heat, and pummeling regret. But at WTF, there was a utility vehicle driving along the back path of the campgrounds to sell ice. Most importantly, dude had jokes.

Top moments included running out of ice but still using his megaphone to tell everyone about his Tinder and Bumble profiles and charging people $1 to use the megaphone. Whoever you are random ice man, just know that you were the real MVP. 


1. Claude VonStroke Almost Falling Off The Dragon Stage While Going B2B With Larry The Flamingo

As someone who has been to WTF a handful of times now, it's safe that there are a few things that Claude will always have in his hands when on the grounds of Wolf Run Ranch: a drink and a flamingo. It's like clockwork, and the Dirtybird don delivered once again.

While he almost fell off the Dragon stage about 15 times, Claude still managed to play easily one of the best sets of the weekend and arguably the best of his WTF career. Let the record show that Claude did eventually throw Larry into the audience. Come home Larry. We miss you so much. 

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