Clothing-optional festival offers live music, friendly community
During an upcoming gathering at Squaw Mountain Ranch, music will be prevalent, but clothing will not be.
The family-friendly nudist resort will host its 25th annual music festival from Thursday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 18, at 48176 S.E. Tumala Mountain Road.
"It's our big party of the year," said David, a member of Squaw Mountain Ranch who helps organize the event. "We pull out all of the stops."
The lineup for this year's event includes The Eric Savage Band on Thursday, Aug. 15; Mojo Hollar, Doug Roswell's Flying Circus and Norm Sylvester on Friday, Aug. 16; Anni Piper, Rich Layton, Scratchdog String Band and 24/7 on Saturday, Aug. 17; and Lisa Mann and a singalong jam session on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Admission is $15 per person on Thursday, and $30 per person per day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information and to register, visit www.squawmt.com.
Both David and fellow Squaw Mountain member Bruce noted that the music festival is an opportunity for those interested in nudism to test it out.
"It's a chance for people who haven't tried this lifestyle to come in and see what it's about," said Bruce. "It's like any other campground — there are families, children and older people."
Squaw Mountain Ranch was founded in 1933, and members note that it is the oldest nudist club west of the Mississippi River. The club, first known as Hesperia, was formed when 10 families each bought 10 acres of the land near Tumala Mountain Road.
Today, the wooded ranch spans 19 acres and has around 85 members, many of whom own cabins on site. For visitors, the club offers campgrounds and a lodge. Camp sites are $10 per night, and those interested can spend the day for $14.
Amenities on site include a lake, several hot tubs, a sauna, horseshoe pits, courses for putt putt and disc golf and a playground.
Members note that the community spirit is strong at the ranch.
"(The best part is) the people, absolutely the people," Dave said. "We enjoy the lifestyle, but this is a fairly tight knit group of people. Every Saturday night we have a potluck for members and guests."
There are a variety of rules in place to ensure everyone's safety and comfort, and the organization's website encourages people to "conduct yourself in a manner that would be considered acceptable in most other public gatherings attended by persons of both sexes and all age groups."
"People ask how to behave in a nudist environment, and the answer is how you would behave any place else," Bruce said.
He added that the club participates in the adopt-a-highway program on a stretch of Highway 224 and had a booth at the recent Estacada Timber Festival.
"We're just people," he said.
He added that people often ask why he participates in nudism.
"I tell them, if more people were raised in this environment, because it's so non-judgemental, there would be no body shaming," he continued. "You just find wonderful human beings."
"In the textile world, you're evaluated on how you dress, but when you come here, you take people on who they are and not what they're wearing," Dave added. "You can have doctors and taxi drivers, but it doesn't matter once you take your clothes off."
Though nudity isn't a requirement at the music festival, event organizers noted that most people don't wear clothes.
"It's typical that people come clothed, and everyone is naked, and it feels weird to be clothed," Dave said.
They noted that all are welcome at the upcoming music festival.
"This is one of the friendliest places you'll ever find," Bruce said.
If you go
What: 25th annual Squaw Mountain Ranch clothing-
optional music festival
When: Thursday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 18
Where: 48176 S.E. Tumala Mountain Road.
Cost: $15 per person on Thursday, and $30 per person per day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
More information: www.squawmt.com
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