Also see Picnic Day, another large event.
Whole Earth Festival 2004. (photo Terra Smithers) The Whole Earth Festival (WEF), an ASUCD unit, is a huge, FREE, eco-friendly three-day music, dance, arts, crafts and education festival which takes place in Spring during Mother's Day Weekend. It's the closest thing to Woodstock we have. It's a must-see Davis event. Tons of folks who are committed to sustainable living and environmental harmony make a pilgrimage to Davis for the WEF, and the UC Davis Quad area is lined with art & craft tents, music acts, massage tables, food and a child care area. Various workshops occur throughout the weekend as well. Of all the festivals that take place on campus, this is one of the most organized. Volunteering is quite the experience, plus you get a free shirt if you do.
Whole Earth is a family event. It is held on Mother's day weekend. (photo Bev Sykes) A group gets friendly in 1980 (photo copyright W.E.F.) Living Legend Wavy Gravy hangs out at whole Earth in 1981 (photo copyright W.E.F.)
The WEF uses hundreds of volunteers (known as Karma Patrol) for the festival. If you want to eat some good food from our garden mixed up by the CoHo and get a dank shirt for free, you should come out to the volunteer meetings. They are held every Wednesday of Spring Quarter up on the second floor of the Memorial Union. They are workshop/info/community oriented with free food and a knowledge sharing from all ends...
A little known fact is that Whole Earth Festival is one of the few ASUCD units that receives no subsidy. To put it in perspective, Picnic Day (another annual UCD event) receives over $20,000 a year in funding from student fees. WEF is self-sufficient.
Many people partake of Marijuana at this event. If you wish to use mind-altering substances at this event, please refrain from drinking alcohol. You see, the stoned swagger and the drunken swagger are opposites of each other. If you get drunk while others are stoned, you'll run into people and nobody will be happy. If everyone tokes up, everyone swaggers the same way and collisions are avoided! In the words of the prophet Dylan, "everybody must get stoned!".
In reality, all kind of mind altering substances are taken, and a good portion of the crowd are wandering around just enjoying the event sober. Some of the activities and information being imparted are worth enjoying and taking in with an alert mind.
Unique things to check out
Every year a man comes with a cart full of "Peace" pendants that he gives out for "free" (suggested donation minimum $1). He never stays in the same place at the festival. He makes hundreds of pendants each year and he's expanded his collection to include the word "Peace" in other languages. Keep an eye out for him.
The man can be sighted elsewhere too. From Humboldt to Gay Pride in SF. I make a habit of giving one back to him whenever I see him and taking a new one. —ChristopherMckenzie
Chocolate covered frozen fruit. Enough said.
Beach Hair Accessories; there's a woman that collects metal beach trash and makes it into fine jewelry and hair accessories. A little pricey, but well worth the lifetime warranty. If you break anything that you buy from her, all you have to do is send it back and she'll weld it again for you!
Most people do not realize that every item that is thrown away at WEF is eventually dumped onto a large table and sorted by a volunteer. While this may not sound like an appealing idea at first, it is actually one of the most entertaining and coveted volunteer positions. Try it out, you might even find a groundscore. It's amazing what some people throw away.
The dish system is like no other. When you buy food, you pay an extra dollar for the plate. To get you dollar back, you return the dish to one of the 2 dish return sites on either side of the quad.
The Whole Earth Reusables Cooperative (WERC) runs the dish program for the weekend. It is one of only a few of its kind, and in some aspects is making waves on the campus, and in the festival / event world. Everyone from those damn hoopies to Camtroller and the 3rd floor ASUCDers are using the plates...
Have a seat on the bench that was made during the 2004 Whole Earth Festival.
The Students for an Orwellian Society attended in 2004, attempting to convince everyone at the Festival that they should avoid drugcrime and sexcrime. As expected, the response was less than enthusiastic. However, it's quite amusing to see an Orwellian trying to convince a hippie that fascism is the way to go for more than half an hour.
In 2004, KDRT broadcasted live from the festival for the first time, a tradition that will assuredly continue into the future.
There is a drum circle of epic proportions.
Watch for an Ananda_Marga booth!
In the pit of Wellman Hall there was a DJ Stage that played all day and til 10pm at night... Known as the Sunken Garden some years and other years simply as the pit, it has some kind sound down there. Alas, in 2011, there was a reported beating, sexual assault of a 14 year old and rape of a 16 year old. UC Davis decided to close the doors on the DJ stage before the investigation was even complete. Fred Wood, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs wrote in a public statement, "we are sending message that people cannot come to our campus and behave this way."
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2004-12-11 19:12:53 The WEF was originally an art class project. They used to have a LOT of free stuff going on in the booths during the Seventies, but now it's devolved into more or less a holistic arts and crafts fair, where most booths are about making a profit. That said, it's still a fun festival (often held on Mother's Day weekend) and students and non-students alike should attend at least once. - CentralDavisite
While WEF has evolved over time, Whole Earth Festival is THE best festival to go to in Davis. While the outer ring of the festival is largely dedicated to arts, crafts and food vendors of a sustainable nature; the INNER ring of the festival is all about FREEdom and fun. A few of us realized in 2006 after participating in Davis Art and Revolution, that there is seemingly two festivals going on at once, one outer about commerce which we all need and one inner about exploring oneself and finding a truer meaning to life that does not require money. —MorganTorngrenTatman
2004-12-19 16:07:43 WEF is actually a Non Profit itself. The booths do make a bit of cash, but the folks who are selling the crafts are mostly families who need such income to support themselves, as this is all they do. This is completely different than any usual holistic arts and crafts faire. For many, this is the first festival of the spring and a lot of these folks have been strapped for income for months by the time they get out to the UCD quad. I would think it is more of an educational event, educating all on an alternative lifestyle with a focus on lessening our communal impact on the earth in a variety of ways through our everyday actions... - MikeyNolan
While I agree with Mikey that the goal of the event is education about life alternatives for folks, the reality for the casual participant is a big arts and crafts fair. Which is nice enough, but not the spiritual-life-changing-event that some would like it to be. —Rocksanddirt
2005-01-21 11:18:00 Witnessing the orwellians at last years WEF gave me a whole new respect for the organization as well as a strengthened sense of irony. —DanMasiel
What did the Orwellians do? —SummerSong 2005-04-14 16:30:24
2005-04-14 20:11:25 Back when UCD had a kickass art department, WEF was the place to be. At work, I did some really old video transfers featuring people such as Timothy Leary. —ArlenAbraham
2005-04-14 14:15:25 Don't forget to check out the students for a clean earth booth! They'll be there with bells on!!!
2005-05-06 14:15:25 I hope the Orwellians will let us know where they're going to be... hint hint... —MichaelGiardina
2005-05-07 11:48:34 The drum circle beacons.. —SirPallas
2006-05-13 16:48:40 do NOT purchase the eggplant sandwich. the fact that something that horrible comes from the whole earth festival is grounds for a city ordinance to ban hippies for life —DavisHo
2006-05-16 15:51:43 The dish system is not like no other. I've seen it in music festivals in Europe. —AntoineBouthors
You're right, it's not the dish system that's unheard of. It's people actually USING it that's unheard of. —BradBenedict
2008-05-07 12:42:57 Davis Community Acupuncture Clinic will be there this year, and while we aren't allowed to use needles, we'll be doing a bunch of other cool stuff and answering any questions you may have for our resident acupuncturist: Itay Neta. Swing by for your free consultation! —itayneta
2008-05-09 06:17:29 What are the best things to do for a groovy time? —GonZo
Personal faves: Soular Dance Stage, talk with crafters, hug a KPer, play (disc/sack/juggle/your choice) while listening to a band.
My fave: join the KARMA PATROL and help make the Festival happen!
2008-05-09 19:23:19 Oh why, oh why do I have to work during all the cool events? —SunjeetBaadkar
2008-05-10 15:13:38 I heard that they are forcing vendors to close at 6pm with threat to fine them if they don't. Seems sorta lame to close up so early when people are still out there... —SunjeetBaadkar
Don't believe everything you hear. In this case, it was true about closing craft and education booths at 6 PM (probably will be in 2009, too), but fines? Ha! The idea (I believe) is that as the focus shifts to the stages, it's pretty hard to keep the chaos controlled and any security going if vending is still going on. If the booths shut, then the Karma Patrol can concentrate on stages & keeping the crowd happy. It probably does quash a few sales, but makes the event as a whole more manageable. —DougWalter
2008-05-10 16:43:41 we went late morning/early afternoon, and it didn't seem nearly as busy or patronized as it has in years past. There were significantly less vendors there than I remembered, and the crowds weren't very big. —ElleWeber
2009-01-25 20:44:01 The first one was called Whole Earth Week and like the name says, lasted a whole week. I went there every day and even got out of my 6th grade class for one whole day of it to participate and be part of a parade that went someplace downtown-maybe on 3rd Street-and back to the quad. The article calls it the closest thing to Woodstock Davis has which is accurate enough in common parlance but I think it's fun to note that Whole Earth Week actually predates Woodstock by four or five months! I recently saw a Peter Max poster for the 1970 Whole Earth Week for sale on the internet. It's pretty cool. Whole Earth continued as a week-long event for at least a couple of years and changed flavor very distinctly year-by-year, reflecting changes in popular culture in interesting ways. Back then I was sure that soon we would all be living in geodesic domes; in harmony with the earth and each other. It seemed so obvious. —JohnBaker
2009-05-11 18:41:19 I was playing saxophone with another saxophonist and a flautist in a drum circle at the 2009 festival. If anyone has any pictures, they would be much appreciated, since I didn't bring my camera to the festival. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
2010-04-19 07:47:27 While I can respect and even admire some of the things the majority seem to stand for in this event, I can not understand why they have no respect or understanding of others needs and others personal space during it. The scent of funk is everywhere and, as much as they desire a clean environment, they seem to do more to harm it than to help it on each visit. This accompanied by the rapid increase in theft and other crime in town make me believe it would be better to not have this "celebration" at all. —WesOne
I like how they decide that the event is environmentally friendly because of the small amount of waste going to landfills when recycling pollutes as well. There's nothing wrong with going out and having fun, but people should know that just having fun usually means there will be environmental damage. Of course, I really enjoy the nice and quiet aspect of Davis, so would not mind being without Picnic Day or Whole Earth Festival. —hankim
There is no free lunch. There is a cost to everything and recycling does require energy, etc. However, it costs energy and resources to make a new cup just like it costs to recycle said cup. Recycling is (99% of the time) more environmental friendly than throwing things away. —DagonJones
WesOne refers to "the rapid increase in theft and other crime in town". Please cite your sources. There is always a post-event meeting with all the folks involved in organizing WEF (including City and UCD police), and I haven't heard reports from them about any WEF-related crime wave. There are usually a few drunks arrested during the 3-day event, but not much else. (And I'd expect that of any large/rock concert.) Thanks. —LoisRichter
2011-04-11 21:51:05 The organizing committee would like to know about any off site problems during that weekend. We are aware that we have a social as well as an ecological footprint. Bringing more people into town has an effect.
We can weigh the refuse that goes in various directions and meter the amps that we use to measure the ecological footprint.
But to gauge the off site impact of having a festival, the staff has to hope that people who are bothered that weekend complain to us. Hopefully with something specific. —MichaelErickson
2011-05-05 16:55:47 I had a lovely time at the Whole Earth Festival last year, and I can't wait to attend again this weekend! I thoroughly enjoyed the frozen chocolate bananas from Joy & Taylor's Raw Chocolates, and I even bought some really nice — and handmade! — jewelry for my mother for Mother's Day. If you're on the fence, definitely go. The spectacle alone is worth it. —LilyRosamond
2013-05-12 16:28:54 Honestly some of it is kind of creepy. People get wasted and high, the food is ridiculously expensive, and there's very little regulation and security. It's a very "spiritual" festival with people claiming they can solve your problems with a crystal (true story) or that if you drink this "elixer" you will be all better. Some of the activities are orgy-like. —AnBan