FORM ASCROSANTI FESTIVAL DAY 1 BY JORDAN FICKEL

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! 

Well, kind of. 

After a long delay, Weird Journalism is back and the blogging will commence so bend over and read!!!! 

Kicking off our return is a very EXCLUSIVE piece on last weekend’s rare and elusive, FORM ASCROSANTI festival in Arizona. With an application process for tickets and only a few hundred given away, guest writer Jordan Fickel (DJ Bear Hugs) wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is part one from his strange time in the desert…

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“Remember?  That exclusive music festival in Arizona I applied for?”

“Oh, you mean Hipster Summer Camp.  You have to call it that. That’s what it is now,” my usually stoic roommate said, a glint of amusement in his eyes.

It’s true.  I had been calling it Hipster Summer Camp.  That was before I was accepted, anyway. However, now that FORM Arcosanti gave me the golden ticket, my sour grapes attitude had dissipated and I honestly felt kind of bad for calling it that for so long.

FORM is an invite only music festival in a strange small town in the middle of the Arizona desert. The town is so small that it can only host a few hundred people at a time. So,  the festival curators have an application process that asks vague, artsy questions like “What inspires you?” and “What will you bring to FORM if accepted?” and bizarrely “Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?” The answers deemed creative enough get an invite to this exclusive festival. Seems pretty pretentious and inclusive, right? Those were my thoughts, initially. But imagine this: a music festival with no screaming woo girls in culturally appropriated fashion, no blackout bros trying molly for the first time, no one vomiting on your shoes… just a small number of laid back, creative adults trying to appreciate the experience.  That’s what was so appealing to me. I only recognized two of the bands, and there was only one that really excited me, but the experience seemed so unusual and magical… I had to at least apply. I filled out the application honestly, which is a little unusual for me. Normally, I try to game the system.

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Chris and the author en route and looking good.

I told my friends and my boyfriend all about it and was shocked at the lack of interest. I truly believed this is going to be a once in a lifetime type event, but I was unable to convince anyone else of it. I told my boyfriend Chris that if I got an invite I was going, but it probably wasn’t going to happen. Not only is this a bizarre magical event in a strange town in the desert, it is also completely free to get in if they pick you.

“Making it expensive would mean only wealthy people can come. not down” festival curators Hundred Waters said in a facebook post regarding FORM.  I was the only one who wanted to go to Hipster Summer Camp.  That is, until I got an email saying I could go.

Chris was miserable and kind of angry. We had been to a bunch of weird, magical shows since we’ve been dating, and he was pissed I got to go to this one without him. I told him I’d see what I could do.  I got in from work at 3 am, Chris already passed out.  I sent an email to the info email on the FORM webpage, outlining our situation.  Again, I didn’t embellish anything. I truly believed Chris deserved to go.  I asked in the email if they would consider a late application if any slots opened, and I went to sleep.  When I woke up they had sent a response.

“Jordan, Send us your partner’s full name and email and we’ll send him an invite. :)”

I was thrilled, but surprised too.  This was bizarrely personal for a music festival, which is a trend I hope continues over the course of this weekend.

And then I was a convert. I stopped calling it Hipster Summer Camp, though the name still stuck.  I had preacehd it to the world and it no longer belonged to me.

There are two types of tickets, people who camp on site and day passes.  Chris and I got day passes.  We’re in a hotel in Prescott, Arizona (pronounced “press-cut”, I found out last night) 30 miles north of Arcosanti.  It’s pretty much the closest hotel; Arcosanti really is out in the middle of nowhere.  There are bell-castings, there’s a pool, and there’s a Moog synthesizer lab, in addition to the music.  Holy shit I haven’t mentioned anything about the music yet.

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Chris in AZ. kicking ass and taking names

One reason the name Hipster Summer Camp is appropriate is most of the bands have albums that reviewed well on Pitchfork.  If you need some genres here are some appropriate ones: ambient, drone, house, indie, experimental, noise, downtempo.  Here are some band names: Hundred Waters, How To Dress Well, Pharmakon, The Antlers, Moses Sumney.

The big question is who is headlining tonight.  The lineup just says “very special guest”, and this guest gets the longest set out of anyone for the entire weekend.

I’m obviously not worried too much about the music, which I guess is odd for a music festival. My opinion is that music festivals are one of the worse ways to see a band live, to be honest. It’s like going to a bar to find a date. I’m going to have an amazing bizarre experience. I hope the bands are good! I’ll have fun either way.

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