Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Idaho BaseCampís Feastival

Camping for a cause

Express Staff Writer

Looking for a magical sendoff to summer, an outing with plenty of fresh air, unbelievable views, music, dancing, yoga, home cooking, mountain biking and prime fishing? Consider attending the third annual Feastival, a fundraising campout that takes place on 11 acres at the base of Idaho's tallest peak, Mount Borah, on the scenic Big Lost River, 25 miles east of Ketchum.

Rope swing and a beet making contest are included.

The land is the site of a future eco-retreat wellness center called Idaho BaseCamp, and organizers hope the weekend of Sept. 16-18 will raise a generous portion of the roughly $200,000 needed to secure the property and to start building the movement studio planned for the rustic getaway.

Feastival co-founder Whitney McNees and Mat Gershater, who operates his camp for kids, Mountain Adventure Tours, on the expanse in summer, are sure that visitors will be enchanted by the area. They said they hope to use the gathering not only to gain financial support, but to endear people to their vision of the facility.

The pair see the Idaho BaseCamp as a facility dedicated to education, creative expression and the development of a sustainable relationship with nature, McNees said.

Already the cause has drawn a loyal community following with volunteers regularly making their way over Trail Creek to clean out the property where a former brothel still stands, but most of the activity now is from busy beavers building dams and from kids at Gershater's camp.

McNees said this year's proceeds will all go straight into the project because they were able to secure a sponsor for the first time to handle the event's overhead.

All the weighty "business" portion of the weekend will be cloaked in good times and good music at a very affordable rate, she assured.

Three yurts are available for reservations. The Mongolian Yurt is a 100-year-old hand-crafted yurt often called the "Honeymoon Suite." People will need to bring their own bedding to cuddle in front of the wood stove, but it's only $100 for two nights. The Far and Away yurt costs $50 more but sleeps four in single beds with room on the floor for sleeping bags; there's no wood stove, but there is a great view. The Sleep yurt is $200 for the weekend, and sleeps six in four single beds and one double, with lots of floor space, a wood stove and a front porch.

Camping onsite in tent or car or RV is free with a ticket. Tickets start at $25 for one person, one day, one night; $40 for one person, two days, two nights; $85 for a family of four for one day, one night and $130 for the weekend. Tickets include music, dinner's main course, yoga, dancing and camping with a yurt's cost added as selected.

McNees said reservations can ensure there is enough food to go around, but those who decide to come at the last minute won't be turned away.

New events this year include a mountain bike race sponsored by Billy Olson of Hailey's PowerHouse and 5B Garage and the Beet-Off, a beet-preparation competition.

"You can slice, dice, steam, sauté, grill, whatever you like," McNees said of contestants planning on competing. "The winner gets a 'golden' beet."

Mike Heath of M&M Heath Farms has donated a bundle of organic food for the meals.

The group's website at is full of the nitty gritty, what-to-bring details. Information can also be obtained by emailing McNees at

"This is totally family-friendly," she said. "Obviously, it's a little bit of a festival and some people do stay up all night, but we have a family area and we do encourage kids because it is kind of magical out there."


The particulars:

Friday, Sept. 16: Campers arrive after 4 p.m.
Beet Off, a beet preparation competition at 5 p.m.
Potluck dinner at 6 p.m.
Live music by Cole Wells and Ian Timoney.

Saturday, Sept. 17: 5 Rhythms Dance at 10 a.m. with Jennie Gershater.
Short-track mountain bike race at 2 p.m.
Potluck dinner at 6 p.m.
Live music by Marcus Eaton, Finn Riggins and Old Death Whisper.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Yoga at 10 a.m.

For more details, and registration, visit www.idaho or email Whitney McNees at

Jennifer Liebrum:

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.