FWB Staff

Wed Jun 14 2023

FEST is a destination gathering of new-internet communities, and a temporary network city for creating culture and exploring new ideas. Here’s how we’re planning it, and why you should join us.

As FWB’s global community of members, collaborators, and friends prepares to make the trek to Idyllwild, CA for FEST this August, we wanted to share some insight on what this gathering will be, and exactly why our DAO has taken on the ambitious task of creating a fully immersive network city in the California woods — for the second summer in a row.

Last year’s first-ever FWB FEST sought to create an alternative, emergent kind of festival where artists and creatives felt at home, where cultural value was prioritized, and where we could collectively imagine, debate, and define the future of the new internet. What transpired was undeniably even better than we imagined, which led the FWB community to vote enthusiastically in favor of hosting another FWB FEST this year.

Since January, the FWB squad has been collaborating with DAO members and partners to double down on our initial vision for FEST. Conceived as equal parts Woodstock, Black Mountain College, and 1964 Hacker’s Conference, FWB’s gathering isn’t just about getting our DAO together for a meetup. It’s about bringing together all of the squads of the new internet to combine forces and come together as one community, in one place, for one weekend only.

Images from subcultural gatherings that have inspired FEST, including Woodstock, Black Mountain College, and the 1964 Hacker’s Conference.

Below we’re outlining a few of the key ideas that have informed our thinking around FEST. If they resonate with you, we hope you’ll join us.

FEST is an experimental “Temporary Network City”

The internet has enabled like-minded people to find each other, collaborate, and ultimately build movements and entire subcultures together. Crypto and web3 at large have taken this a step further by enabling these groups—groups like FWB—to create our own economies and to co-generate value, identity, and a shared sense of purpose.

Balaji Srinivasan’s idea of the network state brings clarity to how this idea could evolve to the creation of new IRL cities—and even countries—with physical territory, sovereignty, and diplomatic recognition. In Srinivasan’s vision, network states all begin with a value-aligned, digital-born network, but they come to represent so much more once they take root in physical locations.

Before groups like ours venture to create our own actual cities, in the interim, we have the opportunity to experiment with the idea of the “Temporary Network City.” For one weekend only, we believe FEST can give attendees a deeply creative, immersive, and nourishing experience, and a sense for how it might feel to live among a group of people with a collective set of shared ideals.

Web3 is Stronger as a Community of Communities

We believe that we can strengthen the cultural narrative of web3 by bringing together as many values-driven, web3-native communities as possible to co-produce FEST as an experience that showcases our shared vision for the new internet. Therefore, we have made it a priority to bring in key organizations to help us program FEST as a vast Internet Exposition.

This August, FWB will be joined by collaborating communities including Uniswap, Boys Club, Seed Club, Metalabel, Builder DAO, The Park, Basic Space, Rhizome, Base,, POAP, Polygon, Refraction, HNT, Zora Zine, Byline, and OpenSea. Each organization has been working with us directly to bring their own unique flavor and ideas to FEST. As a few examples of our collaborator programming, Seed Club will be hosting a “conference within a conference,” Basic Space will be creating FEST's own version of Shakedown Street, Metalabel will be running a zine-making workshop, and Zora Zine and Byline will be teaming up to host fireside chats focused on the future of web3-enabled artistic expression.

This year, the goal of FEST is to truly be pluralist, with FWB fading into the background as the weekend evolves into something that is collectively produced by more than a dozen key players in the web3 space. We see it as a gathering of gatherings, with a multitude of experiences nested into the larger FEST container that combine to create the ultimate showing of networked possibility.

Friends From the Internet are Better IRL

While FWB began as a token-gated group chat, we’ve grown up to be a global community of more than 3,000 members. As we’ve expanded, we’ve also taken it upon ourselves to design the tools, infrastructure, and incentives necessary to come together regularly for IRL events all around the world. This approach has led to FWB spawning hundreds of meaningful friendships between members and collaborators as they’ve gotten to know each other at meetups, shows, happy hours, dinner parties, hackathons, and beyond.

At last year’s FEST, many participants mentioned feeling like they were at a wedding between close friends, or a college reunion—even though they’d never met any of the other attendees IRL. Post-FEST, many attendees went on to start projects with other attendees, and to deepen their bonds in other ways.

Ultimately we’ve realized that the strength of our collective network is ultimately defined by the strength of our 1:1 relationships. Having more meaningful friendships within a digital community adds foundational strength and resiliency to our sense of belonging within, and commitment to, that community. This is why FEST is so important to FWB, and to the web3 space at large: It gives us a chance to hang out, make friends, and cook up ideas together. And as we all know, this is how all good things get started—especially new things that haven’t been seen or done before.

Idyllwild, CA is FEST’s Magic Circle

In the world of game design, the concept of the "magic circle" is central to creating immersive experiences. It refers to the conjured space in which players willingly step into a fictional role, or a new world—suspending their idea of what’s possible to enjoy the new experience and the mechanics of the game.

At FEST, our magic circle is the Idyllwild Arts Academy, a 200-acre liberal arts campus in the California woods that was founded as a safe haven where experimental artists and creatives could congregate, experiment, and learn. With dozens of communal classrooms, auditoriums, and amphitheaters spread throughout the pine trees, the Academy serves as the perfect backdrop and environment for the discourse, connection, and celebration that collectively form FEST.

To Build the Future, We Need Cultural Complexity

We believe for a true cultural renaissance to occur, there needs to be a full meshing together of technology, culture, art, music, and entertainment. Innovation is unlocked by remixing, blurring lines, taking risks, and being experimental.

FEST is designed to be interdisciplinary, but with one clear focus: to push the boundaries of the internet as a cultural medium. To us, this means that we’re not limiting FEST to just one track of discourse or one type of programming. This year’s FEST will feature unbelievable musical performances, groundbreaking talks by some of the best minds of our time, and workshops and experiences designed to expand our community’s horizons and spur creative inquiry.

Be Part of the Co-Created Vision

FEST is an experience of emergent overlap, of community co-creation, and of unbridled cultural experimentation. Nothing is reductive; everything is expansive.

If the idea of participating in a hive-minded, internet-fueled gathering-of-gatherings appeals to you, we hope you’ll join us in Idyllwild, California this summer and help us push the grand experiment of FEST one step further. All are welcome, so rally your squad and get your pass here.

You can also apply to join FWB to help shape future FESTs, and subscribe to our newsletter via our homepage to receive updates about FEST as it draws closer.