When you hear about a party in the woods five months in advance, it’s bound to be a good one. And when it’s hosted by the team behind Stay Wild, a free adventure magazine that celebrates travel, action sports, and outdoor living, you can bet that it’s going to be legendary.
Dubbed the “world’s first adventure festival,” the Stay Wild Expo is a three-day, choose-your-own-adventure-style conglomerate of field trips, al fresco workshops, trade exhibits, and boozy partying, happening on August 26-28 at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. “This fest is for risk-takers, trailblazers, do-it-yourself-ers, and the creators of culture—not the consumers of it,” explains Stay Wild founder, Justin “Scrappers” Morrison. In other words? People like you.
To make sure you have all the details on this West Coast fiesta before booking your cross-country flight, we grilled Scrappers on the specifics.
First off: Why Portland?
Pioneers from the East Coast have been making their way here for generations. Why? Because this place is for dreamers. The businesses, neighborhoods, arts, music—all of it has propped up those who came here with the intention of not letting anything get in the way of a good idea. Plus, the nature scene is pretty awesome. Go thirty-to-sixty minutes in any direction and you’ll find a peaceful moment with a river, forest, mountain, berry patch, or the most beautiful and rough stretch of Pacific Ocean you’ve ever seen.
Tell us more about the Expo’s workshops and field trips.
There’s a pretty diverse schedule of events, from birding and surfboard-shaping workshops to motorcycle rides, cliff jumping, and live music performances. You can plan your day around them, or you can just show up and get into whatever is happening at the moment. The Expo’s exhibit and some of the field trips are totally free and friendly to the public. The others have an attendance fee.
Which event are you most excited about, and why?
Only one puts your face in the dirt: In the Juniper Ridge Wilderness Perfume Workshop, you’ll hike (and, at times, crawl) into the woods to sniff out plants, tree sap, and even dirt that smells good. It’s an amazing and odd way to interact with nature. At the end, Juniper Ridge [a wilderness perfumery based in Oakland, CA] helps you bottle all of those natural smells to take home. They put a place in a bottle! It’s amazing.
Oh yeah? So what would your signature fragrance smell like?
A little bit of seaweed, campfire driftwood, noble fir sap, and the dirt from under a huckleberry bush.
We hear there will also be some nude portraits happening?
Yes. Magdalena Wosinska is one of our favorite professional photographers. She worked her way through the male-dominated action sports scene to now be able to do whatever she wants. Her Women’s Perspective Photography Workshop will explore the female view and help aspiring photographers put down the fucking selfie sticks and shoot like adults. It will also involve taking some nude self-portraits. At the very least, it will make for some beautiful and fun Instagram posts.
The Kook Out Contest. Explain.
It’s just a big, goofy, beach party where nobody expects it: Oregon. We’re excited to do it again (we held the first contest last year) because it gets a lot of new people in the water—which is very cold here, so people avoid it. But once you get a wetsuit on, paddle out, and have fun, you’re more likely to give a damn about the cold water and everything that’s connected to it.
Alright, let’s get to the important stuff: The food, booze, music, and sleeping arrangements. What’s the insider intel?
We’ll have a new menu planned by a different local food cart or restaurant each day of the festival, and New Belgium Brewery will be running the beer scene with a bunch of new and classic flavors to try out. The bands are still being booked, but the vibe will be surf-guitar-folk-feminist-power-pop-abstract-shoegaze-wanderlust-roadtrippery-classic-grass. Out-of-towners should stay at the Ace Hotel Portland (use the password “EXPO Adventure Festival” for a 10 percent discount), or you can camp out in the forest.
If there were three things that you hope every single attendee left with, what would they be?
One: A new tattoo or scar. Two: Patches for their backpack. Three: A story he or she will be able to share for the rest of their life.