Friends With Benefits Festival

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

FWB FEST was the event of the season! It wasn’t simply a conference or a music festival, it was a moment in history that won’t soon be forgotten.

I don’t believe this would have worked quite the same 12 months ago. The vibe would have been too nuevo rich and attracted a crowd that would have been obnoxiously opportunistic and transactional. The fast money in upcycles can bring out some of the worst types of people. That’s a major red flag in crypto. But now, the people who are here care and are thinking long-term.

FWB is not about flipping jpegs and making fast bucks on a market that couldn’t miss. This is a group of diverse, smart, cultural marketers, builders, programmers, designers, DJs, and creators. We are market-makers with high base level knowledge and a shared belief in answering the big question: How do we help make the world better through technological revolution?

FWB FEST was a discord group that came to life in all the right ways. The programming was heady and deep but also refreshing and enlightening. The panelists weren’t shilling or pontificating. The formats allowed us to philosophize face-to-face about weighted buzzwords like “community,” “privilege,” “allyship,” “DAOs,” “LARPing,” “NFTs”,“social good,” “AI,” and “design” in open forums where the discussion spilled into every crevice of the campus in Idyllwild, CA.

I have to give a shout out to the culinary programmer, Joey Rubin, and his team who provided the menu that nourished us.. He framed it to me like a DJ would curate a 48 hour marathon set. One that started with a vegan smattering when we first arrived (to establish a healthy baseline after our travels to the mountains), to what he called “peak protein” on Saturday night with ribs and steak to fuel us through the night. Rubin’s Sunday morning sendoff was a ‘Bull Market Brunch’ to lead us wherever our next adventure might be. Along the journey there were so many treats & impressive new age brands like TaikaVamos barsTepacheOff Limits Cereal, and a late night, hand-rolled Estrano street pasta bar that hit at the perfect time.

The performance lineup included an amazing IDM (intelligent dance music) set from Oneoftrix Point Never, complete with holographic projections; a dope hip-hop set by JPEGMafia; a day party with BartyDartySudan Archives’ alternative rap-soul-violin show; James Blake both crooning and DJing; and FWB co-founder, Trevor McFedries, originally known to me as DJ Skeet Skeet, bringing back his alter ego to close it out with a set of techno that slapped so hard it felt like a Berlin club at 4AM.

Cautious optimism was in the air as the market shifts to its next evolution. The merger of ETH is set to take place in mid-September, which is very exciting. The way toward more adoption is more applications grounded in symplicity, education, and value. I hate to say this but…Web3 and NFTs have started to develop a branding problem. The potential of the technology is very different to the tangible products being marketed in today’s mainstream culture, causing confusion. Is an NFT a piece of software like an MP3, a program that unlocks great utility, a smart contract, or a digital collectible? It may be all of the above but that’s a lot to comprehend. The answers to most of my philosophical questions never came clear, but the hard questions were certainly asked in those rooms.

FWB FEST was the perfect example of how a DAO can bring a community from discord to discourse in a first class IRL experience. So much of crypto culture is built on FOMO, but this wasn’t that. There was no drama or flagrant misbehavior and it wasn’t designed for “Instagrammable” moments or flash hype drops. It was an experiment and experience that transformed the most influential server in Web3 culture into a meeting of 500 highly motivated, passionate, curious minds. It will be interesting to see where things can go from here. Does engagement grow? Do memberships rise? Does the token go back up in value after dropping 90% YTD? Time will tell. What we do know was this weekend was a case study that will go down in DAO history and be referenced over and over again for all the right reasons!

No Fields Found.

Also published on Medium.