After months of hearing myself talk about the forest and telling people 50 times a day how excited I was, I was grateful for the tranquility and often mind-numbing experience of driving for hours down highways. Every new cliff view and fresh-air breeze rushing through open windows made it worthwhile. Finally arriving, unsettling cloud coverage added an ominous tone, like it was the beginning of a Quentin Tarantino film.
Poi spinners, Glovers, hula-hoopers, and lovers yelling “happy forest” were the only people in sight. Everyone felt welcomed here. Everyone can be your friend.
In society, you’re weird if you truly express yourself. In the forest, being weird is normal.
Life begins to get strange once you feel completely disconnected from your mind and begin to live in a utopia of the unknown. And this is what it does to you….
1. Makes you okay with living in a time warp
Walking through the forest at night unravels often peculiar and curious art displays and installations. Saloons and libraries with “1940’s” jazz type feels. Filled with old newspapers, pillows, and small wagons. I even saw a 3-floor dome of souls dancing promiscuously, gambling, and smoking, with secret passageways that led to fortunetellers and people with masks on trying to tell you a story. It sort of reminded me of those coke infused nightclubs from the 70’s. It was marvelous. And it made me imagine about places I’ve never been too. I love getting lost in a space and immersing you in the details- no recollection of what came before this moment or what is to come after.
2. Makes you want to do strange things with weird people
It’s beautiful and unexpected how the venue changes from sunrise to sunset. The trees light up and every puppet and installation has LED lights coming out from every corner. You hear Carl’s name being screamed throughout the entire forest, and creatures lurking out of the corners. The positive energy transforms into something odd and mysterious. You might find yourself looking for Carl or question if elves are real. It’ll also make you forget that everyone isn’t your best friend. Remember when we were strangers. Talking about strange things, yet there was nothing strange about it?
3. Has you answering fake phones and even tipping your imaginary hat at people
The thing that separates this festival from others is that everyone has the freedom of expression and pure creativity in each person. In Sherwood Forest you’ll find a robotic horse and people dressed as crows. Libraries with fire pits, rooms of pianos and chandeliers, crazy clothes and characters all pretending to hide something from you. And fake phones ringing all over the place. Don’t be surprised if you pick one up and have a conversation with the mad hatter. Also don’t let it shock you that you will probably tip your imaginary hat and curtsy at people who feel acknowledged.
4. Has you wanting to get lost in the woods and develop a connection to strangers
The forest makes you feel at home. Everything from your childhood and beyond lies in these woods. It makes it okay to leave everything and wonder the woods. There’s a man who pokes his head out of trees and leads you through huts with turning hallways where women in gowns read you poems. My personals favorite are the secretive places of “out of order” photo booths and fake tattoo parlors. It’s very charming and alluring.
5. Makes you want to dance the way you’re dancing on the inside, on the outside, regardless of who’s watching
Being you, or even being someone else is fully encouraged. So are mustaches and top hats and kitty masks. Not one person in the entire forest has a face full of judgment on, rather a face full of questionable thoughts. I wore this bizarre kitty mask one day and it made me feel anomalous. I danced my ass off.