Feels II, a microfestival featuring local visual and musical artists from up and down California, took over not one but three warehouses in the heart of West Oakland on November 29 for Wine & Bowties’ biggest event to date.

With an estimated 700 attendees, Feels II boasted a lineup of eleven live performance acts–some of which included Kool A.D., Teebs and Oakland’s own Kreayshawn–in one warehouse and the talent of 21 visual artists displayed along the walls next door.

One of the local artists who performed at Feels II (Courtesy of Jasmin Porter)

One of the local artists who performed at Feels II (Courtesy of Jasmin Porter)

Wine & Bowties, arts and culture brainchild of co-creators Max Gibson and Will Bundy, advertised the event on their homepage and through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What began in 2009 as a small creative blog has grown into an movement associated with some of Oakland’s most communal parties and creative spaces.

According to Gibson, Feels II and its predecessor, Feels, have been years in the making. The primary aim of a microfestival of this scale was to combine some of Wine & Bowties’ previous successful events, like art shows and DJ sets, to create one immersive, mind-blowing experience.

“We wanted [Feels II] to be a transcendent experience that plucks out the normalcy of everyday life,” Gibson said. “You can go to any regular bar, but hopefully when you go to a Wine & Bowties event, it’s memorable. You don’t forget it, and it doesn’t fade.”

Events like Feels II also function as networking outlets for creative minds, allowing them to connect, collaborate and expand the local artistic community, Gibson said. Championing diversity and highlighting the power of what Gibson calls “our generation” is one of Wine & Bowties’ core focuses.

“We’re looking to highlight the folks we believe in, whose work really resonates with us,” Gibson said.

Courtesy of Jasmin Porter

Some of the artwork on display at Feels II (Courtesy of Jasmin Porter)

Maintaining intimacy in a large space was also an important facet of structuring Feels II, said Will Bundy, co-founder of Wine & Bowties. According to Bundy, most people at the event only had a few degrees of separation between them.

“The goal is to do something within our means, so we couldn’t throw Coachella even if we wanted to,” Bundy said. “The idea was within those limitations but a little leaner, so we wanted a stacked concert bill, but not something where people didn’t know each other.”

In addition to making larger events like Feels II a reality, the Wine & Bowties team is also invested in increasing the visibility of their smaller, more regular events such as Oakland bike parties, political community discussions and entrepreneurial lecture series.

“We want to create an effortless atmosphere of real community events with lots of friends and a lot of positive vibes,” said Danielle Schnur, member of the Wine & Bowties team. “It’s beautiful that Oakland is so receptive to what we’re doing and has been so supportive.”

Is Feels III a possibility in the near future? Both Gibson and Bundy say anything is possible.

To support Wine & Bowties, check out their website here. If you’re interested in becoming a writer or contributor for the publication, send your information to the Wine & Bowties team here.

Check out photos from Feels II here, taken by Oakland-based photographer Jasmin Porter.

About The Author

Natalie Meier is currently writing about issues in public health, tech and small business innovation as a freelance contributor for Oakland Local. Meier is a senior at Mills College studying English and Journalism and is also cross-registered at UC Berkeley. She currently interns for ABC7 News in San Francisco and has written for The Daily Californian, Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), StuVoice, and KALW.

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