Survival Guide

Culture and Contributing

  • Is this a festival or a group of friends? A rave or a sit-around-the-fire type thing? At ~100 people, it’s a group of friends, but we’re making it whatever we want it to be. The speakers are pretty good, but this isn’t a rave. Loud, but not too loud. There is also plenty of space to camp far away if you would like to sleep in peace! Think big houseparty. But, as with everything, bring the party you want to see. If someone wants to throw a full-on rave, let’s talk, there's plenty of space!
  • Something Else is a do-ocracy. Folks who choose roles for themselves are welcome to own that piece of the pie. If you want to make it happen, we welcome and encourage your participation and responsibility and want to support however we can. We have a DIY/maker mentality. If you want it, help us figure out how to make it happen!
  • We believe in maximum fun for minimum effort. Let’s have fun and do great things without spending inordinate amounts of money and time.
  • Something Else has no paid staff — we’re all volunteers, and our community is based on each of us making Something Else what it is. There are a ton of ways to be involved — planning, making food, DJing, marketing, setup/strike, working gate, helping out in the kitchen, or whatever else you’re good at and feel excited to help out with. Take a second to fill out the volunteer form and let us know what you might be available to do so we can keep everything running smoothly for everyone.

Art and Music

    • If you’d like to propose an art/music/project/theme camp/mystery thing, please take a second and fill out the art form, even if your idea is still nebulous. We’d love to hear what you have in mind and how we can support!
    • Art doesn’t just mean the Mona Lisa or some crazy art car. Anyone is capable of making art! We welcome your creativity in any form, be it a costume, a poem, illuminating a tree or a path and making it beautiful, throwing a party-within-a-party, or anything else that strikes your fancy. No fire art is allowed. And power is available (bring your own cords) so a generator is probably not necessary!
    • Music is welcome and encouraged. We have space and power, so additional performers and/or equipment is welcome. If you know about, need, or want to contribute amplified sound, get in touch. If you’re considering bringing any kind of musical performance (guitar, etc.) you should definitely do it! Fill out the art form and let us know what you have, and what you need. There’s a number of places that can serve as open stages and power is available.
    • We will have a good sized sound system for our size and play various nice things. Bring your device with a playlist downloaded to it! (Don’t count on internet) There are neighbors so music will have to be lower after midnight, and off at 2am.

Theme Camps and Installations

    • Burning Man has theme camps. What about Something Else? In short, we’d love to do the same on a small scale: themed camps where people have somewhat oriented/dedicated zones where they create an experience, or provide a unique interesting service, etc. If this sounds like fun to you, make it happen!
    • We have plenty of space to set up installations and theme camps, near and far, we can help with things like electricity, and offer support for building structures.
    • We want to support your creativity, so please get in touch via Facebook or someone@somethingelse.fun if you have any questions or if you just want to give us a heads up about that awesome cheese shop you're bringing. We are small enough so we can handle people on a 1:1 basis and we're new enough so we don’t have a lot of procedures or rules.
  • If you want to help out with a larger art project or contribute to making someone else’s big idea happen, that’s great too! Fill out the volunteer form and let us know, or ask around on our Facebook event page and see what people are doing!
  • Remember, you are the party and the party is you! Your participation is what makes the party. Bring an art! A bar! A yoga studio! A tailor shop! A library! A facepainteria! Your own crazy wonderful idea! We welcome it all! We fully support Maximum Fun For Minimal Effort, so don't be intimidated by words like "theme camp" and "art installation". Experiment! Go nuts! Just no fire, please.

We will be building large-scale art projects together in the afternoon and evening. We will also have extra materials if you want to take on your own project! Let’s make things to delight and amuse each other! For this is what art truly is.

Food and Kitchen

  • There is a main shared commercial-level kitchen available for communal use, which is in a separate building next to the eating area. Inside are 3 fridges, freezer, a 6-burner stove, lots of stainless countertops, and a large sink.
  • Kitchen space will be limited given our numbers, so please be thoughtful. Bring coolers, prioritize only must-refrigerate items for the fridge (meats, medicines), and if you plan on using the kitchen, please consider making enough to share. With kitchen space at a premium, we will need kitchen czar(s) to help keep folks moving and deputize cleaning. This is a great volunteer opportunity! (You did fill out the volunteer form, right?)
  • There are also four outdoor grills (like the kind you find built-in at campgrounds and city parks), a giant hog-roastin’ firepit, and lots of campground-style wooden picnic tables.
  • You can bring and use personal camp stoves, but they will only be allowed in the central cooking area.
  • No fire outside the fire pit and BBQs next to lanai. It’s peak fire hazard season and we’re taking no chances. Some campsites have fire rings but we will not be using them at this time of year.
  • There are a small number of houses for rent that have normal house kitchens. The houses are in very limited supply and cost extra $$.
  • You are encouraged to bring your own water. There is potable water on the property – it comes from the reservoir. It's safe to drink but tastes "like a lake", so we recommend bringing Gatorade or Tang to improve the flavor.
  • You can cook either communally or for yourself. Community cooking will likely be easier and give you more priority if the cooking area is busy. Note that fire is not allowed outside of central areas.
  • There is a town (Laytonville, CA) a 10-minute drive from Mendocino Magic with a full-size grocery store, hardware store/lumber yard, gas station, pharmacy, etc. if you need anything before or during the event. You’ll drive through it on the way up.

Camping | Logistics | What To Bring

What to bring?

  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Sleeping bag/blankets
  • Tent (unless renting a lodging upgrade/house)
  • Shade structures if you have them (most campsites are partially shaded by trees, but you'll have more options with your own shade)
  • Sunblock (Mineral-only! Regular sunblock is bad for the fish.)
  • Insect repellent
  • Towel
  • Layers of clothes (Warm days, cool nights, and everything in between)
  • Appropriate footwear (Flip flops are okay. Sneakers are good. Some areas are more overgrown so if you want to hike or go explore, hiking gear / boots are nice. Shoes you can wear in the water are good.)
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Dino swag
  • Food/drink for yourself, and to share if you can
  • Whatever arts, experiences, or music you'd like to bring for maximum fun!
  • Bonus: The more lighting we have the more festive we get. Bring string lights, stage lights, and anything else fun and/or practical. Power is available. Please BYO extension cords and label everything so you don't lose your stuff.

Safety and Self-care

  • Be safe! Poison oak, ticks, snakes (rarely rattlers), and lifeguard-free swimming are all realities. Take care of yourselves and others and prepare accordingly!
  • Take care of yourself and others. Hydrate! Be mindful of what you put in your body and how it may affect you.
  • Weather could easily reach mid-90s in the day and mid-40s at night (temps in °F). Pack appropriately. Rain and high winds extremely unlikely.

Rules | Notices | Consider Yourself Warned

  • This is a Leave No Trace event. BYO trash bags. Pack out EVERYTHING you bring in. We also ask that you pick up any MOOP you may find.
  • No fire anywhere except in the center camp/Lanai center fire area and BBQs unless otherwise noted. Some campsites have fire rings but we will not be using them at this time of year.
  • Is smoking allowed? Smoking is allowed near fire zones and on the beach only. Fire hazard. BYO ash tray.
  • Sadly, the venue won’t let us have dogs. They’ve had problems in the past. Service animal? That’s different. Talk to us.
  • Children welcome! With legal guardian and appropriate waiver signing. Please be aware that this is still largely an adult event, with clothing optional swimming, late music, and some unsober people. Use your judgement.
  • No glitter or moopy clothing.
  • Nature is a thing:
    • Expect mosquitoes in the evening plus ticks and chiggers in the brush. Avoid the brush and spray your bod with repellent and you should be just fine.
    • Overall the property is quite alive, but thankfully has few nasty disgusting awful bugs and mostly just blissful little fish and soaring graceful hawks. Plus dinosaurs.
    • There are bears in the area, though they visit quite rarely. For this reason, put your food, deodorant, and anything else with an odor somewhere harder to smell or find at all times.
    • There is poison oak. Its leaves can be any color, but are shiny and come in threes.
  • You will be asked to sign a waiver to this effect before you may enter the event.
  • No firearms, air guns, or weapons of any kind. Water guns okay.

Getting There

Google maps will get you to Mendocino Magic, 3000 Branscomb Rd, Laytonville, CA 95454.

You will drive through the town of Laytonville about ten minutes prior to arriving at Mendocino Magic. The town has gas, a grocery store, a hardware store/lumber yard, a few restaurants, and a pharmacy, so if you’re arriving at a reasonable hour you can pick up last minute stuff there.

Come on Friday or Saturday. Or talk to us about coming early Thursday to help setup and chill!

Gate open:

  • Friday August 30 • noon – midnight
  • Saturday August 31 • noon – 4pm

If you arrive outside these hours:

  • If it’s night/early morning: check into a motel or find somewhere else to camp! Then join us.
  • If it’s evening: Come to the front gate and use the walkie-talkie to holla up someone to let you in

Parking

There is plenty of free parking — don’t worry your pretty heads. You can leave and come back. The gate does lock, so if you're leaving/coming back outside of normal hours, find someone with a radio to let you out and back in.

About the Property

Mendocino Magic is 600 acres of beautiful land 3 hours north of San Francisco in Laytonville, California, nestled an hour inland from the Mendocino Coast, with rolling hills, lily pad ponds, forests, and an awesome reservoir for swimming! It doubles as a wedding venue and as private camping land, and we have it to ourselves Labor Day weekend!

The Camping Sitch

There are a lot of plenty of flat, clear campsites. Most are shady, but some are not, so bring shade structures if you have them.

Together! Or apart.

There is a main designated camping area with fairly good shade coverage. You’re welcome to join up and camp as close to others as you want. There is also space for you to get a private spot not so far away.

Bathrooms

There are a number of porta-potties around and they are in good shape and serviced regularly. This is a forest, so feel free to make liquid deposits, but please take your solid waste to the potties.

Power

There is power at select locations around the property. Bring your own cords.

Internet and Phone

No wifi. Phone reception is spotty. Immediacy!

The Lake

Glorious natural freshwater lake! The lake is actually a reservoir supported by a dam, and has canoes and kayaks and nice swimming with a couple floating docks.

Please do not abandon or break the canoes or kayaks!

The venue wants to nurture the reservoir, so we are all asked to help it be a nice place for fish and creatures. Toward that end, please use mineral sunscreens instead of chemical.

Leave a Positive Trace

Something particularly special about the Mendocino Magic venue is that we have the opportunity to leave a positive trace — to leave the park nicer than we found it. Build a helpful sign, blackboard, shelf, or bench? Set up some helpful solar powered string lights?

The property manager told us, “if it’s useful and helps people, then it’s a welcome addition even if it was made by hippies acting crazy.”

Of course this does not mean we can just scribble all over the place. But it does mean that we can do permanent projects, rather than temporary ones, and think in terms of many years and many events, rather than just a few fleeting days.

Year after year, what this means is a nicer park for us and others to enjoy.

This year's project is to improve the path to the lake! Also we'll be building big wooden dinos cuz uh obviously we should do more of that.

Dino Flavor

Why dinosaurs? Dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes. Some even just eat smaller dinosaurs. Others eat eggs or fluff.

Dinosaurs live in the woods and lakes and air. Many had feathers with bright colors on them. They probably danced and sang, because birds do and birds descend from dinosaurs.

They also ruled the earth for hundreds of times longer than humans have, so that’s probably a good sign.

Ok, but why is dinosaurs the theme?

Because they live on the property and will eat us if we don’t make them the theme.

Questions? Get get in touch via Facebook or someone@somethingelse.fun.