The Transformative History of Black Oak Ranch
Walking among these ancient, towering trees it’s easy to forget all the history that has occurred in the tall oaks and majestic meadows, known as Black Oak Ranch. Some see excitement and others see beauty but what is probably most overlooked is actually a key part of what makes this place “enchanted”.
The history at Black Oak Ranch dates back to 1987 when Wavy Gravy asked Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead to help settle an overdue mortgage by staging a concert at French’s camp in Piercy, CA. Garcia agreed if Bill Graham would co-produce, which he did, and “Electric on the Eel” was born.
The event became a springboard for Garcia’s solo career and put the Black Oak Ranch on the map when Electric on the Eel was held there in 1992. Christened with the transdimensional space jams of Garcia himself this place took on a life of it’s own as a cosmic vortex of healing and creativity. The interesting thing about the life of this energy is that it would never leave this place. It continued to resurface time and again like a geyser of imagination set to shower down dreams.
In 1993, the Hog Farm’s Rock N Roll Pignic started a festival tradition in Black Oak Ranch that would last until 2001.
2001 – Present
Founded in 1996, the Kate Wolf Music Festival moved to Black Oak Ranch in 2001. Its namesake was a dear friend to Wavy Gravy and the event was such a success that Gravy made it an annual tradition that is still maintained today.
At the end of the nineties, EarthDance Global Peace Party made the Black Oak Ranch their home. From this location EarthDance spread to over 80 countries with thousands of participants across the planet all grooving for love together. When channeled through the power of dance the magnetism is so strong in this place that EarthDance grew in size to the point that in 2011 it had to be moved to Vallejo to accommodate the gathering.
2011 to 2014
The Gaia Festival offered more than just art and music in 2011. It also brought with it tools for a new way of living and an ethos that sought to restore the ancestral connection we as humans once shared with the earth.
Through a central focus on wisdom and healing these gatherings have stood the test of time. The traditions and shared beliefs of those who come here have imbued the space with a steady flow of positivity for the last 24 years. Since Garcia’s shredding so long ago the place has been a mainstay for the festival community. It has also manifested one life changing experience after the next. Perhaps that’s why one of the best qualities of this place is that for those who may be estranged by their family or community, the rich history of Black Oak Ranch offers a level of comfort with strangers not found on the outside world along with a chance to find and make new friends in a place that feels like home.
Featured Image Credit: Ed Perlstein
Kate Wolf Festival Flyer by Allis Teegarden