The mountains reinforce the simple joys of life, and our small communities around Laramie and southeast Wyoming exemplify that belief. Simple joys like appreciating nature, supporting local, and helping your neighbor are some of the ways we live that out daily. 

This weekend in Saratoga, all those simplicities will be embraced. The 17th annual WHAT Fest serves that purpose, July 28-29. Founder Marko Ruble wants attendees to “come together every year in the middle of nowhere Wyoming to reaffirm their bonds with the arts, their distant friends and, the embrace of a life found off the beaten path.  A life often overlooked in a world of AI, gadgets, sweating politicians and hussle/bussle.”

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The yearly music, arts, and camping festival gets folk outside and together with common themes. Ruble explains that the “family of WHATanaughts” unite by quoting The People:  “Music moves our lives and comedy greases the wheels of monotony.”

Formerly moving around the Rocky Mountains, 2023 marks the second year for WHAT Festival to be in its location north of Saratoga. “We've found a home. We've found supporters of the arts. We've found the most beautiful venue for WHAT Fest in all of Wyoming!”

Credit: Alex McAnelly Local music and local art are featured in Saratoga's yearly WhatFest.
Credit: Alex McAnelly
Local music and local art are featured in Saratoga's yearly WhatFest.

There are many iterations of WHAT Fest around the world. What the Fest, What Festival UK, and the So What Festival to name a few. Ruble is proud to have this Mountain West gem be an original. 

“We consider these events to be beautiful cultural congruent events but WHAT Fest is the first project to trigger the phenomena.  We're the original and it was done right here in Wyoming with volunteers, cooperation, local and regional talent, and love.”

Despite its pathfinding status, “WHAT Fest is what you make of it. WHAT Fest is a family of volunteers, fans, friends, artists, and comedians.”  

Along with the fun, Ruble provides some practical reminders:

“It's an outdoor festival in Nature. There are basic amenities like food trucks, porti-potties, an information desk, and a free shuttle to Saratoga but be prepared to camp for the weekend (bring, food, extra water, a tent, bug spray, and sunblock).  If you decide to stay in town make your reservations fast and plan on using our free shuttle service.” 

“Bring an open mind, lots of water, lean into the experience, and leave no trace when you leave.  Please do not bring any glass, weapons, or pets.”

Lastly, “Remember: WHAT Fest is what you make of it!”

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