“I got shot in the head four times with a marshmallow gun last night because a woman didn’t think I was real.”
Those words filtered through the trees from the mouth of a security guard as I walked away from the Globe Theater Sunday afternoon. After spending three full days at Backwoods, hearing that statement did not surprise me as it would have the first day. By then it just seemed like typical Backwoods behavior.
Backwoods is a music festival held on Mulberry Mountain in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, featuring camping, art installations, roaming performers, and arts and crafts vendors. However, Backwoods is more than just a music and arts festival; It’s an eclectic gathering of festival goers who know how to let loose and get weird.
Backwoods started Thursday night with a cold yet bumpin’ pre-party. Held at the Space Station stage, the pre-party consisted of a showcase by ThazDope Records, featuring performances by Controlla, Kliine, and more.
Friday marked 4/20, Griz-day, and the official start to Backwoods. A man with a megaphone camping near us made sure that we knew it was 4/20 at all times, making announcements, jokes, and whatever else came to mind. He kept it up all weekend, asking attendees to drop their belongings on the ground so he could ‘ground score’ them and offering ice cold balloons for breakfast Sunday morning.
While the attendees of Backwoods were highly entertaining, there were a few music performances that stole the show. On Friday night, Griz took over the Motherland and made sure everyone got the funk down. He gave a stellar performance, debuting several new songs, including a collaboration with Boogie T and a track featuring the vocals of his guitarist and wingman Muzzy Bear.
Saturday night was dominated by Space Jesus’ performance. Like Griz, he dropped a ton of new music, including “Dragonhawks”, a recently released collaboration with Liquid Stranger. About halfway through Space Jesus’ performance, it started raining, increasing until it was flat-out pouring. Although some sought out shelter, the majority of attendees braved the rain and cold in order to be baptized by Space Jesus. The rest of his set was a daydream. The rain falling through the lasers looked like glitter descending from the heavens and the entire crowd got down n’ dirty to the sounds of Space Jesus.
The final performance that stood out to me was by the Floozies, who closed down the Motherland Sunday night. Throughout the day on Sunday it was clear that everyone was truly letting loose and getting weird. From seeing a guy eat a cold can of vienna sausages on the dance floor, then drink the juice, to hearing the previously mentioned marshmallow gun statement, everyone was living life to the extreme, and having a great time while doing so. For the last Motherland performance, everyone came together to jam out the Floozies. They put on an awesome performance, captivating attendees with their impressive stage presence and unique sound of hillbilly edm.
Overall, Backwoods was an amazing festival. For this being the first year that it was held on Mulberry Mountain, it seemed to fit perfectly into its surrounding environment. All in all, Backwoods featured a fantastic location, incredible music performances and art, a lot of weirdness, and even more love. I left Mulberry Mountain with my soul smiling and my heart overflowing with love and I can’t wait to return again next year.