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 July 9-14, 2024
              Smiling Acres - Trufant, Michigan
2022 Lineup
2023 Lineup
About
Vision:

Fern Fest is a music festival specifically curated to drive connection and foster community for women, trans and non-binary folks, and those that live on the spectrum of the feminine spirit.


It is a priority at Fern Fest to create an inclusive and equitable environment where everyone in our community can show up as their authentic selves. We are on a collective journey to learn and grow together in order to build that space.

The inspiration for Fern Fest came from the desire to evolve the experience of a women’s festival and expand the vision into an inclusive, sustainable space. We want to continue to find our community, specifically women, nonbinary and trans folks, in the context of a music festival and expand access the healing and connection during a week in the Michigan woods. So many have brought their unique inspiration to the process of bringing Fern Fest to life. We may have some shared identities or similar lived experiences but making the decision to show up and connect with each other is what’s special.

We hope you’ll join us for this beautiful experience.

Community Guidelines:

One of the core tenets of the vision for Fern Fest is to create an experience where everyone can feel safe to show up as authentic selves. This means building trust within our community, being aware of how our actions impact others and holding ourselves accountable to community guidelines that foster that environment.
The safety and wellbeing of all Fern Fest community members is very important and incidents of harm will be addressed within a community-oriented process, supported by the
Patio+ Learning Space and event organizers as needed. Incidents of harm will be assessed on a spectrum that centers repair. If willingness exists between individuals or groups, independent repair can be supported by a variety of processes including the CPR Repair Model. Those that continue to perpetuate harm and/or are not willing to engage in a reparative process may be asked to leave Fern Fest. Event organizers reserve the right to refuse entry or remove individuals from the venue at any time without a refund. Violence, threats of violence, hate speech or any other behavior that threatens our community will not be tolerated. Note that firearms of any kind are strictly prohibited by Fern Fest and the venue, Smiling Acres.


Commitment to Race Equity and Anti-Racism:

Fern Fest is committed to the learning and unlearning required to dismantle colonial white supremacy and live out our anti-racism values. We have work to do as individuals and as a community that aspires to create a safer environment for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Our anti-racism commitment is as much a statement about who we aspire to be as it is a call to action for organizers and everyone attending Fern Fest to embody these principals. Those of us who are white identified, have a greater responsibility to do this work.

What does this look like? Fern Fest is curated to reflect the broad diversity of our community and this is represented by the racial diversity of performers, programming, staff and volunteers.

Fern Fest commits to providing spaces for the BIPOC community, organized by and for the Global Majority as well as other spaces for conversation and learning about dismantling racism at the structural, interpersonal and personal levels.

What does this feel like? Fern Fest endeavors to focus on the impact and outcomes of our choices, decisions and actions. Being an accountable community means we will seek out feedback about the experience of the BIPOC community at Fern Fest, acknowledge harms, and work to repair and adapt our approach in response to feedback.

This commitment also applies to all socially constructed forms of oppression.

Commitment to Accessibility:

Accessibility at Fern Fest for the Deaf /HOH (Hard of Hearing) and those with disabilities is a priority. We will provide interpreters for all stage performances and capture as much communication in writing as possible via signs and centralized message boards. Working with our venue, Smiling Acres, we welcome feedback on how we can continue to support ongoing physical accessibility improvements.
Beyond communication practices and the physical space, we aim to expand our understanding of what it means to be accessible and add support offerings in other areas as our community continues to grow, identify needs and solutions.


Intention to Embrace Gender Diversity:
The inspiration for Fern Fest came from the desire to evolve the experience of a women’s festival and expand the vision into an inclusive, sustainable, expansive space. It’s important to acknowledge that nonbinary and trans folks and others that live on the spectrum of the feminine spirit have been met with explicit and implicit transphobia and discrimination within the broader “women’s festival” community. The vision for Fern Fest requires everyone – crew, performers and attendees – to actively work to dismantle vestiges of this discriminatory culture within the space we aspire to create.

Because we know that every person’s gender identity is unique, we are dedicated to the sometimes messy work of learning and stretching our understanding of language to ensure Fern Fest is affirming for those whose identity does not align with binary gender definitions. Increasing our awareness around pronouns and other gendered language is one way we can center inclusion.

We aim to continue building trust in the process of supporting safer spaces for nonbinary and trans folks within our community. We welcome feedback on the structural and cultural aspects of Fern Fest to support this work.

Indigenous Land Reconciliation: 

We acknowledge that the land on which Smiling Acres is situated, originally belonged to the Indigenous peoples of this region, including the AnishinaabePeoria, and Odawa nations. We recognize the enduring presence of these indigenous peoples and their ongoing connection to this land.

Steps for Reconciliation:

1. Education and Awareness: Engage in ongoing education and dialogue about the history, culture, and current issues facing indigenous communities in the area. This can include hosting workshops, inviting indigenous speakers, or incorporating indigenous perspectives into educational curricula.


2. Respect and Collaboration: Foster respectful relationships and partnerships with local indigenous communities. This can involve consulting with indigenous leaders and organizations on matters that impact their land, resources, and cultural heritage.

3. Land Stewardship and Restoration: Take active steps to support land stewardship and environmental restoration efforts, guided by indigenous knowledge and practices. This may include participating in conservation projects, restoring native habitats, and honoring indigenous land management traditions. 

By taking these steps, we aim to honor the indigenous peoples of this land, acknowledge historical injustices, and work towards reconciliation and healing within our community.

Festival Organizers
Abra Wise
Producer
Abra is a Michigan native singer/songwriter and music enthusiast. She has attended countless music festivals over the last 20 years in many different capacities, including working on crews and as a professional music manager. She is delighted that her personal and professional experience, and her passion and inspiration are all culminating in the creation of this unique festival.
Susan Doss
Operations Lead
Susan began attending festivals in 2009 and has continued to learn and grow with her community and loved ones each summer together. Outside of Fern Fest she works in organizational leadership, specializing in staff development, training, project management and process improvement. Susan is thrilled to be a part of the ongoing evolution of the festival experience for women, nonbinary and trans folks
BIPOC/Global Majority Collective

Sprouting at the first Fern Fest in 2022, the BIPOC/Global Majority Collective honors the legacy of the WOC Tent and endeavors to continue the rich tradition of reflection, healing and growth.


Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fern Fest like?
Fern Fest 2024 is going to be an amazing and transformative year. We're at a new venue and have another diverse lineup of fantastic stage performances. The week will be filled with opportunities to connect with each other though music, camping, learning, activities and so much more. See About section for more information.

How long is Fern Fest and where is it?
Fern Fest is almost a full week! 6 days and 5 nights. The gates will open on Tuesday, July 9th at 9am and everyone must exit no later than 4pm on Sunday, July 14th.

The venue for Fern Fest 2024 is located an hour northeast of Grand Rapids near Trufant, MI.

What are the accommodations?
Rustic camping! You are welcome to tent camp, car camp or bring an RV. If you're not into camping, you're welcome to find a local hotel or Airbnb in the area and come and go during open gate hours.

What's the water, bathroom and shower situation?
There are multiple fresh water spigots and hydration stations. There will be a two stall shower trailer available for a small fee. Bringing a solar shower for personal bathing at your campsite is encouraged!

There are portable toilets located in all main community and camping areas of the festival. Hand sanitizer is available in each toilet and there are multiple hand washing stations.

What about electricity?
Electricity is not available in camping areas. A limited capacity charging station will be available. Attendees are responsible for bringing their own battery power source for any medical or assistive devices such as CPAP machines.

Quiet generators under 65db or less are allowed as long as the exhaust doesn't interfere with other campsites. Generators can only be run for an hour at a time between 11am and 9pm.

How about cell service? Is there Wi-Fi?
Cell service is limited in the area depending on your carrier and we are exploring options for limited Wi-fi access. As of now, please be prepared to be off-grid. If you need to be connected, Trufant, MI is 5 miles away. We encourage everyone to embrace being unplugged and immersed in the festival experience!

Are children welcome?
Yes! All children MUST be accompanied by a parent/caregiver. Childcare will not be available however there have been attendee organized activities and/or workshops for kids attending Fern Fest. Please note that Fern Fest includes performances and workshops that may not be appropriate for certain ages.

Children 8yrs. and under are welcome regardless of gender. Parents and caregivers of children 9yrs-17yrs., should consider their alignment with the curated community inclusive of women/girls, nonbinary and trans folks and those that live on the spectrum of the feminine spirit.

Children 6yrs.-17yrs. must purchase a Child Ticket, 0-5yrs. must be registered under the Infant/Toddler Free Ticket.

What is the food situation?
  • There will be a catered meal plan available for purchase providing dinners Wednesday through Saturday for full week ticket holders and a weekend option for Friday and Saturday dinners. There will also be food vendor offering coffee, ice cream, and options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The community kitchen will be available all week for attendees to prepare their own food with tables, a sink and other basic cooking equipment. Fern Fest stocks the community kitchen with FREE COFFEE! If you are an early bird and enjoy supporting others’ caffeine needs, sign up for a volunteer work shift in the community kitchen to help with the morning brew. Reminder, please bring your own reusable dishes and any pots/pans/utensils you might need. If you've never camped before, we recommend simple meals and snacks that are easy to prepare or assemble in rustic conditions. Sandwiches, granola bars, pre-assembled salads, fruit, cans of soup and other meals that are easy to reheat or enjoy cold or at room temp are great choices. Hop onto the Fern Fest Community Forum on Facebook to tap into others' go-to camping meals and ideas.


Meal Plan Menu
Wednesday: Taco Bar (Ground Beef, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, Shredded Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Flour and Corn Tortillas)
Thursday: Pasta Bar (Gluten Free Penne Pasta, Red Sauce, White Sauce, Roasted Chicken Breast, Steamed Broccoli, Pasta Salad w. Two Dressings, Parmesan, Dinner Rolls and Butter)

Friday: Baked Potato Bar (Baked Potato, Vegan Chili, Bacon, Sour Cream, Chives, Broccoli, Shredded Cheese)

Saturday: Mediterranean Buffet (Italian Farro Salad, Garbanzo Salad w. Parsley, Lemon Zest, Walnuts and Dried Cherries, Garden Gazpacho, Hummus, Feta Spread, Pita and Crackers, Sliced Melon and Berries)




Will there be ice for purchase and other provisions?
Yes, bagged ice will be available for purchase. The Fern Fest booth in the vendor area will have a variety of official Fern Fest gear (t-shirt sizes XS – 5XL). We will also carry some limited supplies such as batteries, toiletries, packaged snacks, band aids etc.

Even though most vendors will be able to accept credit cards, it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand. Please note there is not an ATM at the venue.

Are pets allowed?

We love animals but pets and emotional support animals are not allowed. If you arrive with a pet or emotional support animal, you will not be allowed to enter.


What will the weather be like?
The weather in mid-Michigan in July can vary. Expect days to be hot and humid and the nights to be cool and sometimes cold. We always hope to avoid rain but it is common this time of year to have showers and passing storms. Please prepare for the full spectrum of temperatures and inclement weather. This festival goes on rain or shine including stage performances unless there is extreme weather in which case schedules may be delayed or rescheduled.


The BIPOC/Global Majority Collective & Sanctuary
(Women of Color Tent/WOC Tent)

Sprouting at the first Fern Fest in 2022, the (QT)BIPOC/Global Majority Collective honors the legacy of the WOC Tent within the festival community and endeavors to continue the rich tradition of reflection, healing and growth. As we shape our shared vision for this sanctuary space, our language is changing to welcome and include additional facets of our identities while also acknowledging and centering black and indigenous – embracing the terms BIPOC/QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and Global Majority. Within this space, we work to lift up intersectional identities and address the compounded impact of multiple oppressions. While The Collective coordinates with and is supported by Fern Fest as well as other accomplices/allies, we operate independently to foster this special and critical space for healing connection and safety.

Invitation and call for BIPOC sisters and siblings – come experience the sanctuary, attend a workshop or gathering; find out more about your communities who welcome you and join The Collective as we build the space together. We are what we make of the space, so if there’s something you’d like to see, hear, experience or be a part of, we must create it together.


If you'd like to contact The Collective or contribute to the Sanctuary space planning, please email [email protected] 
2024 Fern Fest LLC. 
Interested in supporting Fern Fest but are unable to attend? Donations help ensure that the festival is sustainable for years to come.
Questions and all other inquiries, please email:
[email protected]

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