My Life was Charmed by a Music Festival…

J. Grant Staffordmeditation, Yuba RiverLeave a Comment

…that happened more than fifteen years ago in Humboldt County.

There’s something transformational about traveling to a festival in California. Relationships begin, end or continue along the journey. The corridors of Highway 101, Insterstate 5, and PCH, guide us, the longitudinal travelers, like rails for trains rambling on to the next fair weather festival on the rainbow trail.

The route to my first festival was like a rite. It was the Redwood Highway north and then the Trinity Highway east to Willow Creek. My booth was small enough to fit everything into the back of a Toyota Tacoma and my crew consisted of a couple of friends and a girlfriend that became an ex- at the festival.

Bringing a partner to a festival can be wonderful or disastrous, so I’ll share a nugget of wisdom here. Break-ups happen at festivals because, similar to road trips, they’re a glimpse into how compatible you two are. If you want to put your relationship to the test, then go on a long road trip to a festival far, far away.

I continued living the festival life. For six months it was road trips to venues up and down the state. Then, when the season ended the time off was welcomed. Still, it was rough waiting out February and March. I missed people. So, I made a plan to move to Southern California, because that’s where one could work outside all year long. Farmers markets were sort of like tiny festivals.

I moved to Encinitas and founded Asana Foods, a natural foods brand for farmer’s markets. Serendipitously at a festival, I met a new friend with a talent for recipes. We started selling her vegan, raw chocolate sauce and then we conceptualized an almond butter and gluten-free granola line for farmer’s markets. The Asana Foods brand grew because of her, Deanna’s delicious recipes.

I met my wife-to-be at a farmer’s market. I was smooth yet persistent in making sure that she sampled every delicious flavor of chocolate, granola, and almond butter. In the summer of 2017, we were married by our friend Deanna.

Shelby’s spirit has coaxed me back to Northern California. I am now charmed by the sound of the Yuba River yawning, the ponderosas auming, and a fair weather festival while rambling on a rainbow trail. It’s from this post that I’ll share many of my stories of food, people, and culture while traveling the corridors of the Left Coast to the next festival.

Shelby and I in Peru. 2018.

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