Northern Nights Music Festival is like no other event I’ve been to before. Imagine a four day get-away where all the attendees start strangers and become friends or family by Sunday evening. It’s one of the things that seems inevitable for most festival-goers that spend four days partying together and not sleeping. For some, the party ends on Sunday, while others choose to extend the good times until Monday morning so they can see headliners like ZHU. No matter when you leave, saying goodbye, or perhaps see you next year … doesn’t get any easier.
Go to NNMF with friends or go alone … either way, you’re guaranteed to have new friends when you leave. This year attendees were entertained by ZHU / Big Wild / Desert Hearts: Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, RYBO, Lubelski / Alix Perez / André Gazolla / Brian Cid / CharlestheFirst / Con Brio / Crooked Colours / Flow & Zeo / Minnesota / Mr.C / Noodles / ODIE / PLS&TY / Sacha Robotti / Shades / The Funk Hunters / VNSSA / Xiuhtezcatl & more. Deciding which artists you want to see may cause you some stress … however, even harder than that might be deciding what time to go to sleep. For me going to bed at 6AM and sleeping until the tent was too hot at 10AM became my norm. If I needed more sleep during the day I would take a nap on a couch in the VIP section or search out one of the hammocks in the woods.
Now in its 7th year of operations, I have made it a point to attend NNMF every year. Although I did have to skip last year’s festival because my best friend decided to have his bachelor party on the same weekend, but in Las Vegas. JERK! It was hard to explain to him my feeling of being torn between celebrating him and spending 4 days at NNMF. How does one use words to describe the feeling of spending the day floating on a river, under the hot sun, in a giant inflatable raft, listening to epic touring DJs? Additionally, having access to a river when covered in dust and temperatures are pushing 100 is a lifesaver. On top of that … being surrounded by the wilderness of Humboldt takes the experience to another level.
After taking a float on the river you can dry off in NNMF’s Tree Lounge. Now that cannabis is legal in California, NNMF got lawyered up so they could become the first festival with a place to learn about local brands, purchase your favorite strands, smoke a bowl, then kick back and listen to another amazing performance by an epic artist. If you ever leave the Tree Lounge, the Grove Stage is a great place to get a massage, have tea, listen to music, watch burlesque, and meditate. This is a great stage to visit for late-night music! You can watch for a bit, then navigate the festival searching for impromptu stages. There are renegade stages located all over the festival grounds.
The only problem with Northern Nights Music Festival is that when you fall in love with the experience, you have to wait 361 days to experience it again. Although getting tagged on Instagram is cool, and receiving DM messages from your new friends is fun … nothing compares to spending 4 days in Cooks Valley Camp. There is nothing better than floating on the river, relaxing in the grove, having a quiet moment at silent disco, and truly appreciate a live music experience. I hope you’ll join me next year. I’ll introduce you to the host Klyce in the VIP area, he’ll give you a hug, then later when he’s on stage he’ll welcome you to the Northern Nights family.
- Music 24 hours a day, even at 4AM.
- Staying up until 6AM to see the sun come up.
- Seeing bands like Con Brio, that aren’t electronic.
- Making lots of new friends.
- Listening to music while floating on a river.
- The toilets needed more TLC (They were MUCH dirtier than previous years!)
- Food and drink prices went up from the super reasonable prices they had 5 years ago.
- You can not bring your own alcoholic drinks to the main stage.
Adjacent to US Highway 101 on the border of Humboldt & Mendocino counties, just 3.5 hours north of San Francisco, Cook’s Valley is tucked along the Eel River under towering Redwood trees.
83950 Road 442E, Piercy, CA 95587
2019 NNMF Playlist: