Nonprofit Plans for Launch of New Arts Festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert
Podcast speakers: Savannah McIntosh (Purplepass Marketing Director),Mathew Gilbuena (Co-founder, President & Chair/Director of Folly), Shannon Pistole (Co-Founder, Co-Secretary/Director of Folly) and Michael Parisi (Director of Propaganda).
The EventBuzz podcast: Everywhen Project
Podcast transcript: The Everywhen Project
Welcome to another episode on our podcast for event planners presented by Purplepass. Today, I get to say the word that we haven't heard in a while. festival. Yes, a real live festival. What's that right? I'm sure it's been a while for all of us. On today's episode, we have a few members from the Everywhen Project, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting low-key but imaginative art festivals in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
Their mission as a nonprofit is to fund artists, old and aspiring, encourage creative ways to repurpose art, and build connections with the community to bring accessibility to those filled with inspiration, innovation, and who are ready to share their work and passion.
We don't just have one, but three members of the Everywhen Project who are here to talk with us today. So let's get started.
Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's just start by having everyone on the call introduce yourself, your role with the nonprofit, and after that, I'm sure the listeners will be able to identify who you guys are. So you don't have to say your your name every time you speak and what not. So whoever wants to go first.
All right, I'll go. My name is Mathew or you can call me bureaucracy. I am one of the co-founders of the Everywhen Project.
I am Aftermath I'm the other Co-founder and one of the Directors of Folly.
My name is Michael. You can call me Zinga. I'm the Director of Propaganda, I work directly with founders to make sure everything that is seen and heard is in alignment with the Everywhen brand and the mission.
Awesome. Okay, I love you guys nicknames, by the way. They're amazing. So I'm like thinking of like, what what mine would be.
You get you you, you will receive one.
I know waiting, waiting for mine. So whoever wants to let's just so the listeners know, tell them about the Everywhen Project, its purpose, why it was created, how it started, whatever you feel like they should know.
All right, well, the Everywhen Project really started just a rustic group of campers that were camping out on the Black Rock Desert. So we were just a bunch of people that enjoyed primitive camping being out in nature. And as a group grew, we started bringing art to the playa as well. And when you bring art to the playa other people stop and take a look. And then they can camp next to you. And well that snowball effect really led up to this large non event that happened back in summer of 2020.
So what we were was just really again, a bunch of friends and campers and new friends that turned into a 'you guy should throw an event invite me to a sort of group.' So that's a that's the everyone project in a nutshell.
That's awesome. That sounds Yeah, I was looking at your photos stuff online. It seems so cool. That's a cool way to start something. And you guys have the you guys have an event coming up right the Electric Universe?
We're trying to host the event so our permit is still in limbo with the permit authorities right now. So as soon as we get the green light we're gonna forge ahead announced the dates announced ticket pricing, but for now we really to kind of keep that under wraps. Until we get a big thumbs up.
That's actually one of the more frustrating elements of what we're doing is we've got a lot planned. We have all the the tickets, the dates, essentially all the event planning done. We can't really unveiled that until we have the green light to move forward.
Yeah, that's frustrating. I hope you guys can go through because I mean, everyone wants to do something.
Oh it's gonna happen. Hopefully it's 2021 if not 2022.
So when did you guys start? Yeah. When did you guys start this?
Um, as a group we started camping on playa outside of that other event, around 2018.
Sorry. 2017 is when we started but our group really started to galvanize in 2018 and from there we just have kind of picked up people along the way. We've lost a couple but not many and
it's you know, it just kind of started as a 'Hey, you like to build stuff. We like to build stuff. Let's build stuff together.'
Awesome. So you guys have been getting together for a while you've had other...so the Electric Universe coming up, would that be like your first main event or have you guys done a big events like that in the past?
I guess it depends on whether or not you would call it an event or not. There seems to be a big
Among that, so playa just started as a group of 52 campers. And then you know, if you build a framework, people will come in naturally. Oh, you know, I don't, I don't consider an event. Some other people do.
But, you know, our first coordinated, you know, permitted event will be Electric Universe, hopefully this summer.
However, throwing events is definitely not new to a lot of the folks that are on the board and the leadership team as well. So, there is the expertise and throw in large scale events, it would just simply be the first one underneath a joint banner, that being the other Everywhen Project.
Yeah, that makes sense. Totally. That's so exciting and the so all the experiences and projects people see at the event, we'll see at the gatherings, it's all from provided by artists. And do you guys, you guys are nonprofit? Do you fund, I'm just trying to understand from looking at your website, do you guys fund them to provide the art?
We have lots of answers that we hear about Michael. Um sorry, Zinga, chime in.
Sure, sure. I mean, you know, we, we believe in this project so much. Because we we believe in the mission of co-creating, whether that be art or camps or infrastructure. It's such a compelling and transformative aspect of the human condition. So we're, we're all about supporting artists and their creative endeavors.
To get them out to the playa because there's, there's something just amazing that happens out there, when people voluntarily come together to co-create with each other and in these harsh conditions.
It's kind of like the opposite of social media in a way you're, you're not in the comfort of your typical surroundings, making choices on how you want to be perceived, you know, all of those layers of illusion are sort of peel back. And what's left is your is your real self. And you realize everyone is kind of in the same vulnerable place. And that's, that's the magic.
So we want to support that by supporting by funding art, and artists to have visions of bringing, you know, not necessarily large scale art. That's not that's not what we're doing, at least not at this point.
But certainly, you know, the sculptures and the interactive installations that people have jumped about, but may not have had an accident access to funding otherwise, that's that's kind of what we want to be, we want to be able to be a resource for people that have dreams of bringing something really cool to the playa.
And in those crazy conditions, people fall in love with each other, you know, unbreakable bonds are created where we're, we're trying to make this experience more accessible to everybody.
That's beautifully said Mike. Yeah, as because our project kind of started as a backyard art project, we have a very special place in our heart for funding other backyard art projects.
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that sounds amazing. And, what you're saying. I mean, how I interpreted it is like people come and that's where they have to be vulnerable. And usually, when you're the most vulnerable is when you accept in new experiences, new people.
So I love that. And so I just wanted to kind of get an idea of like, when, what are the challenges been like for you guys since the pandemic, you know, hit? And I'm sure there's a lot.
Certainly getting people. I mean, getting people excited about something that we can't really divulge a whole lot of logistical detail about is a huge challenge. I think what's really worked our favor has been
the support from the people that we've met in real life out on the playa, you know, on these non
other thing and the desert events that we've participated in over the years. I'm sort of new to Everywhen. This, past non-event was my first experience with this group.
And I saw, you know, something absolutely amazing happened, which was, you know, they, they took it upon themselves to create COVID compliant camping infrastructure in a way that everybody could be safe out there.
And it was, to me, it was just, I knew that I needed to, you know, hang out with these people more because they really cared about what they were doing. And so that reputation had grown and I think our extended community has been an incredible amount of support for us as we try to build towards an actual event.
We're able to build excitement through social media, obviously. I mean, we have been documenting all of our non, how do we say, events that are not part of the other thing in the desert ecosystem? How do we say that. But we've got a ton of documentation that we are able to, you know, show people what we've been up to, and all the planning that we've been putting into creating a great event.
And that's, that's resonated, people are really excited about what we're doing. Even though we can't get into details.
I'd like to add to that. So COVID has kind of been a blessing and a curse, I must say the Everywhen Project might not even exist if the pandemic did not happen, because it really came out of our love for camping out of Black Rock Desert. And we knew since Burning Man was not was not happening that year, we really just wanted to bring art to the playa anyway. So we brought it out, we brought two different trips out with different installations.
And, you know, we just kind of wanted to keep it going and because we had such a huge turnout for the second non event, it just blew our minds. And you know, the feedback was was mainly positive. And they said that, you know, reconnecting with humans, after months of lockdown and isolation was just really nurturing emotionally.
So I think everyone who was out there went on their own, we did not send out a public invite at all. You know, they really took responsibility into their own hands. They took that personal risk, but I think everyone there would say it was well worth it.
Oh, yeah. I agree.
No, I'm just agreeing with you.
I was gonna ask, you mentioned. Mike, you said that, I was just curious, because that was my next question about camping. You said it was in compliance with CDC guidelines, so I was just curious, like, what kind of protocols do they do to, you know, and instill safe camping?
Well, I think Matt and Shan, you guys can jump in at any time. But, you know, we don't really have a lot of, of framework to speak about right now, just because things are changing so rapidly. We know that there are probably going to be some protocols in place that we'll need to adhere to. And of course, we're going to throw a legal event.
And we care about people's safety quite a bit. But everything's sort of very dynamic at this point. And so it's really hard to say anything specific about that. Just know that we're working with all the relevant authorities to make sure that you know, everything is done correctly.
We certainly made sure that there was social distancing put into place. And so the the camps that came out there, we actually had a bunch of people signed to act as greeters and we ran them over to be 200 feet minimum distance from camp to camp. So there was a master plan in terms of placement, just to make sure people were safe. While part of the community, we made sure to spread out as much as possible just have that in place. A lot of people did wear masks, some did not. But they did stay within their social bubble.
Talking or looking forward to the planned event that we've got coming up and 2021. What I can say as, as Zinga mentioned, or Mike, that part of this situation, we certainly did put together a worst case scenario plan and that was submitted to the Department of Health.
And so that plan is for if it's just as bad as it was in the wintertime, absolutely, you know, minimal contact, having reduced population on top of our art, and so on and so forth. We have not released any information that goes into great detail. We just don't know how much of that plan will meeting all needed to be enforced by the time summer comes along.
Whenever you guys do this event, honestly, one of you guys reach back out to me because I want to know how it goes. Maybe we'll have you guys come back on and we can see talk about how it went. What you learned from it, because and I hope I help everyone, we all need we all want events, like I know everyone's just waiting for you guys to give them the green light.
Yeah, we're cautiously cautiously optimistic that things are gonna be a lot better. Five, five and a half months down the road, it looks like you know, most vulnerable populations will be vaccinated by them. And if not everyone who wants a vaccine will have had a vaccine by then. You know, light at the end of the tunnel, it's not too early to plan. I don't care what anybody says we're doing the right thing because people need this. You're exactly right about that.
I was gonna say, um, hopefully, once we get the green light, we can come back on and share some more information.
Yes. I agree. And I also agree, take it slow and plan like, way in advance, like, you can never plan too soon. Like you said, I don't care who says it's too soon. No, you know, by then you'll be ready, you're gonna have everything to go and it's gonna be a breeze because you've planned so much.
We are going to hold you to that.
I'm, I'm a strong believer, because I'm a I plan ahead. Like, you're doing the right thing. And we have a lot of, we have a lot of event professionals that listen to this. Specifically, nonprofits. I just wanted to just dive in really quick and ask, I just like to ask about, like, your marketing. I know you guys rely on social media, I'm just curious how you guys have kind of been getting the word out, or what you find is like, the most effective thing that works for your guys's audience, when it comes to promoting and, you know, keeping everyone up to speed?
Yeah, well, you know, it's important, I think, to reiterate that this group has known each other for for a long time, and they've been doing a lot of documentation at their own events on the playa over the years. And so there's this, we have, we have access to this treasure trove of media of our own historical work, essentially.
And, you know, since we are artists and writers and doers, most of these events that are heavily documented, have pictures and videos, and, you know, all of these different art installations that have been documented. And it gives me a lot of content to work with, in terms of like creating categories for things to put down on social media, appealing to different groups.
It's, it's been great. And we absolutely are only using content and media, from our, from our own events. Nothing from the the other event out there. It's really important, I think, to make that distinction, because at the end of the day, we we would like a good relationship with them. And we've, you know, feel sort of an alignment with them by default. But it is important that all of the media that we've put out there is our own, and it absolutely is.
So yeah, that's been that's been really great as a marketing person to be able to have access to, you know, such excellent media to work with. And the prize goes to Matt and Shannon, they've they've they've done an amazing job of making sure all that documentation is high quality and readily available.
Yeah, and it looks awesome. Like, I just go through and try to learn as much as I can before I talk to people and I was going through your guys's stuff, and the pictures look so cool, like Facebook, everything you guys are doing. So yeah, I agree.
When you have like, it's all about content. And when you guys have so many so many people, you know around you word of mouth, like it definitely makes it a lot easier. And I mean, you don't even have to say, it's not like you have to market much, it's right there and people can see how amazing it looks.
It kind of speaks for itself. It's such a such high quality work.
Yeah, okay, so I did I wanted to leave the episode with something that I read by Shannon, Aftermath. Like I said, I was being creepy and I went through everything. But I was reading your bio, and so basically what she said, which kind of like stuck with me, even the worst experiences can yield immense potential for life changing lessons and I loved that. And I think I think it's important to end this on the note like whether we apply it to the everyone project or life in general, like the past year has been one of the most challenging years for everyone.
I think it's safe for me to say that. But we've come out of it so strong stronger than I think we've realized and we've grown from it. So I just like to leave this episode with if each of you guys could maybe give me a one takeaway that you you've learned from this year, whether that's in general or growing with the Everywhen Project.
There's a saying that sticks with me that is another version of what what Aftermath said, and it's that 'Achin' and the breakin are the making of the soul.' I just love that. Yeah, we've had to learn some hard lessons over the past year and we've upgraded our formula. And I think in in many ways we become better people.
I'm really excited to see people on the playa because it feels like we're sort of working towards the big family reunion and where we all get to share the experiences of this of COVID, pandemic time and it's gonna be a big love fest. So you need to you need, you need to be there to Savannah.
Honestly, yes, I talked to a promoter this morning, and I'm just like, because she was saying about an event and like, if it's not like up to par. I'm just like, honestly, you put on a social anything in front of me, like, where there's real people, it's gonna be like, the best thing ever. It's gonna be the most amazing experience. You know, I mean, whatever it is I'm going to accept it.
Yep. Yep. Agreed.
This has just been an incredible journey. And I know, that's pretty cliche to say, but what isn't is that, I've been putting 80, 90, 100 hours in a week simply because at the end of the day, it's really a family. We've grown really close and passionate towards what we're doing, where we're all working together on something that's bigger than ourselves, and really a joint journey and vision to create something for the community that we love.
And that's, that's the arts and creators and the inventors community. And so whether it's just chatting over not having slept for 16 hours or just having like two hours, and saying things that don't make sense, which is probably me today.
I think we've all been through we've seen our each other in the worst and and also in their in their best selves. And we've all I would say, quite a bit over just this last year, planning virtually having zoom calls, webcam calls and, and even messaging people on text messages at 2am a thought from bed.
So, my takeaways from from last year was actually the best way to sum it up with something I just read this week. And it's that 'hope feels good.' And I like to think that with all the doom and gloom that you see, you know, circling around social media, even even our you know, media, in general, it's very easy to lose sight of hope. And I feel that the only way we can kind of get through it is to pick each other up and kind of lean on each other.
So, you know, the Everywhen family that we've been growing has been not just amazing, but it's been instrumental in getting this off the ground, but it's been our best resource, you know, emotionally like, we're just, we're so happy to be doing this together. And it has just been absolutely fantastic.
That's amazing. Yeah, I agree with everything you guys said. Like, it's all about hope having, changing our perspective and just knowing that we're gonna get through it. I like whenever I think of, like, what my takeaway is, I might butcher it. The quote is, 'it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness', you know, and we just need to, you know, you have to find you got to find the light at the end of the tunnel, like you said. And this year, I feel like we've all learned so much you guys have probably grown so much and it's made us stronger as a family.
Um, but yeah, that's all I had for you guys. Thanks so much for talking with me and 100% once you guys have your event, whether it's this year, next year, reach back out to me and I want to talk to you guys about how how it went.
That sounds good. You got it. Thank you for having us.
Video notes and links
The Everywhen Project: