Imagine a world in which everyone wants to share with you. They want to share a drink, a conversation, a joke, a dance, and most importantly, the people at Shakori want to share an experience with you. They might not know you, but simply you being at Shakori makes you feel like one of them. For example, before I even got into the festival, I was offered, and happily accepted, several Deep Eddy’s Lemon Vodka sodas from a couple of wonderful strangers in the parking lot name Wink and Lee. After hearing about the Shakori Grassroots Festival all these years, I can finally say, I know what all the hype is about. It is so much more than a series of concerts. It is another world. It was a truly surreal experience for me, like being in a hippie utopia, and to be honest, I liked it…a lot.
If you would like to meet new people, Shakori is a great place to do it. Everyone I interacted with was friendly, and open to conversation. It felt like even though I didn’t know the people around me, they considered me part of their Shakori family. At the end of almost every interaction I had with Shakorians, they wished me a happy Shakori.
Camping Out at Shakori
Many, if not most, of the festival-goers camp out in tents in the forest or in RVs. Each campsite seemed to have its own fire pit. I didn’t personally camp this year, but my brothers have before and they both have always enjoyed it.
The music at Shakori was as outstanding as it was diverse! I didn’t get to see every band, but I enjoyed jamming out to every band I did see. My favorites were Big Mean Sound Machine, Tamboka, Fatoumata Diawara, and Dr. Bacon. Fatoumata Diawara (a Malian artist) had the entire crowd twerking at one point, and it was magical to witness. I have never seen someone as committed to performing for a crowd as Dr. Bacon band member, Myles Dunder. Myles was moving all over the stage while cranking out beautiful sonic nectar. At one point his nose began to bleed, and he just played through it. There are few things that make you respect a musician as much as knowing they are literally willing to bleed to put on a great show.
Food and Drink
There were plenty of great food and drink options at Shakori. Everything was a little over-priced, but that should be expected at any concert venue. Two of the buildings on the campground sold pizza and Indian food while various food trucks were set up in the same area.
Connecting With Nature
One of the things I loved most about Shakori was how the festival really encourages attendees to connect with nature. I did not have cell service the entire time I was there, and it was awesome to get the opportunity to unplug and really focus on being in the forest, or listening to music. At one point, late Saturday night, after listening to several bands, I walked off by myself to the rock stacking station, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a designated area, full of rocks that are meant to be balanced on top of each other. One of the coolest parts of the rock stacking station is that at night it is lit up by moving, patterned lights. I stayed there for around 20 minutes, just stacking rocks. It might not sound like much fun, but it was very relaxing, and the lights made it great.
Family Friendly (added from Liane)
I came out with my husband and two kids and we had a blast. On one hand, I had always heard that Shakori was family friendly, but on the other hand, the only people I knew who had gone were big partiers, so I was unsure. We took the little caddy stroller and wore the baby in a wrap. There was a huge kids section complete with a sandpit that was stocked with shovels and pails. There were tents that had arts and crafts as well as hula-hoops and an assortment of toys for exploring. The kids made new friends and the whole vibe was relaxed. It was great to be able to let the little ones run around in a big open space and feel completely safe. Overall, it was an incredible experience; we plan to go back next year and camp for the whole weekend.