now this is some magic…
Shawheen’s first DIO fest was a whirlwind of wonderment. He encapsulated his serendipity by sneaky-filming the festival on super8 film. What came of it is nothing short of spectacular, and the exact sort of whimsical we treasure in throwing this event each year.
Kelly McFarling was generous enough to supply the music for the video. Her track “Records” was recorded live in the amphitheater the night before Shawheen shot the video. Both film and frequency captured in the spur of the moment and brought together here, for your enjoyment.
See the video below, as well as some of his words about the experience at DIO Fest 2018.
The super8 experiment also translated into Shawheen’s own experience, being a Santa Cruz veteran but DIO Fest virgin. He shares a personal anecdote of his emergence on the mountaintop, and what the event meant to him.
“Dear DIO fest,
We’ve missed each other the last couple of years for a slew of petty reasons… so glad the stars finally aligned this year! Wanna run away to Reno and get married? Or will this just be our hot annual fling? Either way, it was a true pleasure to meet you in person!
So it all began with a phone call earlier in May or early April from Baessman, you may know him… he’s the guy with a mad decent head on his shoulders. I was probably out cooking my head in the Downtown LA heat and getting it seasoned by smog; so a phone call from Ryan with inquiries about traveling up to a simpler prettier place in the mountains surrounding my adopted beach hometown was like a tall glass of chocolate milk. To add a cherry on top it was an assignment to come and shoot DIO fest. To put a bikini on that cherry he said something along the lines of “Hey man, we just want you to come here and be yourself and get in the trenches, no ones gonna tell you what to shoot, where to be or what to do”.
GROOVY BOOTS MAN! Was the general gist of my initial reaction.
So we fast forward a few weeks later and I’m packing my bags for the journey up north. Right before DIO I was working on a movie called “Bad Times at the El Royal” (Check out the trailer!) starring old and new stars such as Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth. Our last day on set was on the beach in Ventura. It was a lovely day and at sunset we wrapped on a successful but exhausting day. As the sun set over the pacific I dropped into the 101 North and made it as far as I could make it before I fell asleep in my car off a random exit before the 101 turned inland towards San Luis Obispo.
The next day I got up and after a deluxe gas station breakfast of sugar, caffeine and frosting I headed straight for Santa Cruz. Fast forward past the beautiful boring drive and you have me landing at a parking lot down below Camp Krem. I lug out my suitcase and meet this nice kid Ben, he helped me get in a bus and we were on our way. I was starting to get all excited like I do before a big adventure, assignment, date, what have you.
I remember chatting the ears off of the poor lovely souls in the car who were headed my way. A twist here, a twist there… that’s what the road did on the way up the hill and then boom… we landed right in the heart of the thing that was going on. I stepped out the bus and lit a Djarum and tried to find my man in the heart of all the beautiful people trying to check in and get the show on the road.
Those of you who know me know that I can tap into a frantic energy that is helpful to taking pictures. It is not up to me really, it’s just that when I’m surrounded by people I turn on like that. I was quickly coming up on a social high, I wanted to be free to run around and be everywhere and nowhere all at once and see everything. Alas I was tied to a heavy suitcase or two and was desperately looking amongst the beautiful faces for a specific beautiful face that would guide me to my place in the puzzle and set me free. I felt like a puppy tied to a post while the whole world played ultimate frisbee all around me. Luckily the man himself came to save me in a minute or so, there he was, Baessman… the delirium of the moment plus my poor sleep had me briefly convinced I was back on the Hollywood set as the man looked like if Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth had a boy. Hugs were exchanged, stoked was at a dangerously high point, heart rates (at least mine) were alarmingly high but then again that might have to do with the terrible happy meal I copped in Salinas.
Fast forward past an orientation and a settlement into a cabin bunk and I’m free and off. I brought a little dinky camera with me with two lenses. For all you technocats out there who want to know what I shot on, It was a Olympus Pen F with three lenses, 35, 50, and 70-200. Immediately I am running into people I know from the last 7 years. Kids from College, Parkies from that place that must live long and prosper, folks from town who I worked with at one point or another. So I am running and seeing the beautiful DIO landscape and roughly operating at the mental capacity of a hummingbird:
There’s a stage! Oh look at that bus! He dude look you made a salad! Is this your bus? Wow hey Jessy, I’ll be back just gotta go see that kid ride his amp down the hill! Oh shit it’s a pool! Oh hi Katie, gotta run! Oh look it’s the other stage! Oh man they have Coconuts… Yo Justin! Where’s the green room… free beer? Wow look at that kid go!
And it went on like that pretty much the whole time for me. It’s all a lovely blur in retrospect! I enjoyed myself and just loved to meet everyone I did and to get to briefly share something and to capture something beautiful about their little slice of DIO.
I keep trying to pin point stories and highlights but frankly the whole weekend was a non stop highlight and frankly I didn’t really stay put anywhere that long!
I will say this, as the single person that probably circled the event more times than any, I think I have a good sense of the overall vibe that is DIO… and boy is it a good one. You cannot find positivity and beauty like this anywhere else and I truly feel lucky to have been there.