Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Foreman and Bryan Walker.
Brian and Bryan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The roots of Jungle Space Party stretch back all the way to 2007 when we were just a couple of dudes in the USC drumline. That year we roomed together at the designated “drummer house,” where the seed of our enduring bond was planted. We quickly realized we shared the very same enthusiasm for dope beats, being silly, and making each other (and sometimes other people) laugh.
As Trojan Marching Band members, we were blessed with the opportunity to play many an epic gig together, and one of those was EDC 2008. Neither of us had been to an electronic music event before, but suddenly there we were, marching and playing USC’s cadence sequence through a crowd of ravers thinking, “what the hell?”
During this time, we were learning to produce and DJ independently, supporting each other’s projects, which organically led to collaboration. It is out of our enduring friendship and shared passion for music and art gatherings in nature that Jungle Space Party formed. After experiencing such events as Lightning in a Bottle, Desert Hearts, Symbiosis, and Burning Man we were inspired by the sense of community and freedom of expression that these events offered and began fantasizing about hosting our own gathering.
In July 2015, we were invited to help set up and perform at a friend’s private forest gathering, where we connected deeply with a fabulous community of like-minded weirdos. The “Animal Kingdom” rapidly became some of our closest friends, providing the necessary boost of motivation that made us go, “Hey, we could actually do this!”
The first Jungle Space Party was held in October 2015 at the Pioneertown Sound Stage near Joshua Tree and consisted of a full day of DJ sets, overnight camping, and an optional excursion to the Integratron for a private soundbath the next day.
For the second JSP in August 2016, our intention was to make it accessible for those unable to commit to a camping adventure, so we chose a warehouse in the heart of DTLA. We also introduced yoga, live painting, and expanded our interactive art and activations. This all-nighter certainly helped expand and diversify the Jungle Space community, but it felt too short-lived and we knew we had to have more!
It soon became clear to us that the next JSP needed to be back in the desert, and for a full weekend. It took some time to find an outdoor venue that would be the perfect fit, but during a solo Joshua Tree excursion in December 2017, Brian discovered the magical natural amphitheater that is our current home.
Having access to this gorgeous space as our canvas to work with over a full weekend has allowed our amazing team to greatly expand and improve upon every aspect of Jungle Space Party. For JSP 3 in October 2018, we introduced live music, sound healing, professional lighting, visuals projected on boulders, fire spinning, and a communal meal. For JSP 4 in November 2019, we added rock climbing, introduced a second stage dedicated to sunrise sets, live music, and workshops, and made HUGE upgrades to our sound system, stage design, and visual components. Oh yeah, we even had an ice cream truck show up!
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shifted into bringing the Jungle Space Party experience into the virtual space. Our mission during this time is to provide a platform for all our talented friends to continue sharing their passions and raise funds for the next time we can safely gather together in the desert.
Our Twitch events have been an incredible way for our community to stay connected. Since mid-April, we’ve hosted two “Jungle Space in Place Party” virtual festivals, along with several shorter Safari-themed dance parties in between. We are also currently working on developing a broader range of content including workshops, sound healing, live studio mixing sessions, and more.
As we explore and experiment with this brave new digital universe of fun, we are continuously refining our approach, and love sharing what we’ve been learning with others to empower them with the tools, skills and encouragement they need to enter the live streaming world with confidence!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Outside of JSP and the other underground festivals and events we’ve been involved with, it’s been difficult to showcase the style/vibe we want within the usual outlets. The typical LA bar/club routine generally leaves something to be desired due to the continuous hustle to find gigs, pressure to promote them, and restrictions on what we can play. Curating and throwing our own events with our best friends has required way more work, effort, and investment, but is far more fulfilling.
Transitioning to a full weekend gathering off the grid has been no easy task either. From securing a venue to raising funds for production, figuring out how many generators and portos we need, environmental factors, insurance, helping people find the spot and checking them in with little to no service (the list goes on and on), there have been challenges around every corner. Luckily, we have a tremendously creative, enthusiastic, and resilient team that has met every obstacle with heart, soul, and perseverance!
Frustrations inevitably come up when faced with the reality of balancing JSP with the daily grind, but we are always there to lift each other up when times are tough. Similarly, understanding how each of our minds works so we can communicate more effectively and work better together is an ongoing process that we’re always striving to improve.
Please tell us about Jungle Space Party.
The JSP ethos is centered around openness, sharing, connection, and community. Our goal is to provide a safe, inclusive space for anyone to explore and become familiar with their truest, most authentic self, deepen their relationships with friends old and new, and do their best to leave all judgments and prejudices at the gate. Our programming is meticulously and intentionally curated for each hour of the day and night to support the collective Jungle Space journey.
We always strive to allow everything to develop organically. All of our promotion has been through word of mouth and some social media, and we generally only book performers and artists we’ve made a personal connection with. Apart from that criteria, we are quite open to creating opportunities for anyone from our extended community with a creative passion to share! Our focus has been much more on providing a platform for our friends to showcase their talents than bringing in any headliners or high profile acts. We want everyone participating, from performers to artists, attendees, and crew to feel they are an integral part of the overall experience and be as stoked to be there as we are.
Brian Foreman (JSP “Minister of Production”) is a seasoned audio engineer and event technology specialist. He oversees the coordination, transportation, setup, operation, and strike of all things audio-visual and electrical for JSP, as well as recording and archiving all programmed content.
Bryan Walker (JSP “Chief Chieftain”) is our overall logistical overlord. He manages finance, ticketing, check-ins, communication with vendors and venue staff, and coordinates our art gallery, activations, activities, and special programming. Throughout JSP weekend, he will generally be floating around checking in to make sure everyone is staying safe and having a good time.
We are so grateful for our JSP Crew! Without them, we would have never been able to elevate Jungle Space Party to what it is today. Our core crew has expanded and shifted over time, but the two most OG members of the Jungle Space “Council” are Justin Sterenbuch and Jackie Gunn, who have been instrumental in shaping our visual aesthetic and lending their staggering arsenal of talents to the evolution of the gathering. Collectively they have created many of the dopest installations, structures, and art you’ll find at JSP. and have also played an integral role in establishing and maintaining our Instagram and Twitch.
On the production side, we are incredibly grateful to have been working with Derek Glover, James Hurwitz, and Eric Sedano since 2018. This trio’s connections and mind-blowing skills in the realm of lighting and visuals have been a key component in elevating JSP’s stage production and overall lighting design to the jaw-dropping quality they are today.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Bryan – Hmmm… don’t have one. I’d say most of my routine as a kid was pretty great! Come back from school, play drums, do homework, eat, play video games, sleep, repeat.
Brian – Yikes, I have to pick one?? This type of question is so stressful because I have so many favorites of every type of thing that are constantly changing and I feel bad picking one favorite over the others because it feels like minimizing all my other favorites. Definitely not falling headfirst into a barrel cactus though, that sucked.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/junglespaceparty/
- Other: https://www.twitch.tv/junglespaceparty
Brett Padelford, Joe Finton, Andrew Dutton, Jackie Gunn, Justin Sterenbuch, Maurice Marchant, TJ Tutay