All pictures provided courtesy of EJG and Harper.
Veronica Lynn Harper
Gavin: Hey Veronica! How have you been since we last chatted?
Great, I'm outlining plans of another platform for creatives with my partner, Darcy Shay Sexton. They include the Mountain West Visionary Retreat (MWVR): a center for art, ecology, and recreation; and the Eternal Jubilee Gathering, as well as diving into my own personal creative study.
Aside from the Jubilee, what projects have you been working on lately?
Recently I’ve been working on personal art projects—paintings and sculpture as well as a new baby goddess on the way, Iris Estella due this September with my partner Daryl Hurwitz; who also holds a large role on
these upcoming developments.
How did the idea come about for you to start your own festival?
The concept of starting a “festival” came about not by an interest in a festival, but a way to protect an idea and raise awareness for it. Working in video games and film for over 10 years, then moving on to a focus of creative study, I found the transition very challenging with limited state, city, or community support. Overseas, and in most areas of the United States, are residencies for creatives of diverse backgrounds. In studying the various platforms, I thought it would be of value to have a campus in Utah to support the Mountain West area. So, next steps—with an idea comes a need to protect it, foster it, and support its growth. Hosting an event is a great staple, along with actual data to stamp a team’s concept, efforts, and following. I’ve lost many ideas to fancy board rooms and open discussions—I feel “doing” puts a stronger hold on a concept's ownership and survival.
What made you decide to hold it down in Zion?
Southern Utah is stunning ... areas around Zion such as Duck Creek, where we are hosting Eternal Jubilee Gathering 2016, with fast access to both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. The landscape’s sculpture and color are enough to inspire anyone.
What was the process like in getting the space and working with the state in an area that rarely sees festivals?
Our project has focused vision to develop a full-time community center, which is why there is such high interest from the public to support the event. Project: “The Mountain West Visionary Retreat: a center for art, ecology, and recreation.” With that goal, festivals, workshops and fundraisers are all a part of the project's initial development and portfolio before planning a campus. Hosting community events puts a call out to anyone interested in the concept, in that you gain a scale of where you stand on the importance of a platform, and if there is [interest] from the public to pursue it. In under one year of development, we have over 250 participants, 30 corporate sponsors, support that expands over seven states of the Mountain West area, and coverage in the news, radio and media stations by sharing our ideas across social media.
What was it like getting all the music together for this event?
Planning the Eternal Jubilee Gathering and organizing various departments to play in tune was [like playing] Tetris. Once we put the word out of working on this project, in under three months over 150 visionaries from seven Mountain West states signed on to play music, develop art, teach workshops and get involved.
How did you go about choosing the artists you’d have on display?
The artists choose us; we do not scout or hire talent. The platform works as high-end art exhibitions are designed. We have an open call for a project, then creatives register and submit their portfolios: music, art, performance, etc. The portfolios are reviewed and creatives are juried in by a panel of leads within our team. This year, we accepted everyone who wrote to us in time. Next year and years following will be limited, as this will grow.
What kind of workshops are you looking to provide at the event?
The workshops are designed around “getting to know the person” behind a craft. Many workshops tell you how to create something or to accomplish a task from a step by step. The workshops at the gathering will deepen the aspect of the study by instructors talking about their personal journey. Instructors will host topics on the mental and emotional aspects of a “dream” or “passion” which they dedicate their life’s practice to.
What should people know about the camping situation?
Eternal Jubilee Gathering is nestled in Duck Creek, Utah within Kane County. The area is beautiful—tall trees and green lands surrounded by red castles. Camping is spread across the campus with fire pits, cabin restrooms, and amenities close by.
What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to seeing?
We are looking forward to the response from guests attending, then how to incorporate their experience and comments for the next steps of the project. Feedback is everything when developing a platform: "Is this something the people want? Why? How can we make it happen? Who would support it? Where to place it?" Hosting events helps us gauge the platform's current standing, and how far the line is to reach a common goal.
What are your thoughts heading into the festival?
Going into any project' I focus to be open-minded with no expectations, and a flexible, calm, positive attitude, as nothing ever goes “according to plan.” I also believe one must be a great shape-shifter and listener, as well as able to make fast decisions on concerns to keep focus
on the directive.
Is there anything else you’d like to promote beyond Eternal Jubilee?
Continue to follow us on Facebook
for all updates on the projects future development. Over the winter months of 2016 we will be collecting the data from the Eternal Jubilee Gathering to begin development on a pitch deck with architectural design boards on visual planning for the Mountain West Visionary Retreat. If you would like to get involved, we are seeking: board members, partners, and investors over the winter months for the project. Please contact our studio line at 801-953-1718, Facebook
, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a lot of events happening the next two weekends, as people clamor to different parts of the state to get in their last festivals and major events before it becomes too chilly to do anything. One of the newest additions this year is the Eternal Jubilee Gathering, held down near Zion National Park Sept. 16-18, which will be three days of art and music in one of the best outdoor areas we have in the state. Today we chat with our old friend Veronica Lynn Harper about putting together this new festival in Southern Utah, and what those headed down can expect. (