The Refuge Outdoor Festival returns for a second year to Tolt-MacDonald Park, Sept. 27-29. Photo courtesy of Sally Phnouk

The Refuge Outdoor Festival returns for a second year to Tolt-MacDonald Park, Sept. 27-29. Photo courtesy of Sally Phnouk

Refuge Outdoor Festival returns for a second year

The festival will take place at Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation, Sept. 27-29.

The Refuge Outdoor Festival is returning for a second year to Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation, Sept. 27-29. The festival is a three-day camping experience geared toward people of color, outdoor recreation and community building.

Refuge was launched by Chevon Powell, a Texas native who moved to Seattle nine years ago. Powell said she created the festival after she had an incident with a police officer in Vermont. After being followed, stopped and questioned by the police officer, Powell said she saw that as an opportunity to create an experience where people could come together and build community.

“As an event planner by trade, I thought I could use my skills to change what people see around people of color being outside,” she said. “I wanted to bring community together so that we can all be in a safe space outside and enjoy a weekend together… it’s like a family reunion.”

The festival is planned to be a safe place that brings together people of all ages and recreation levels to explore and celebrate diversity, nature and life. The festival includes daily outdoor recreation activities including hiking and fishing, community conversations, nightly conversations, workshops, yoga, meditation, music, dancing and art. Workshops and an ice cream social will kick off the event on Friday. A Snoqualmie Tribe recognition will also be read. Saturday is packed with workshops, outdoor activities, music and silent disco to end the night. Sunday will include a service project and conversation.

“There’s a notion that people of color don’t do the [outdoors],” Powell said. “There’s a lot of negative stereotypes and perspectives in people of color… I wanted to create a space where we could have those conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors specifically.”

This year, the festival is expecting about 200 people. Powell said community members are welcomed to drop by for a full day or stay the full weekend. Refuge is an intergenerational event and all are welcome — people of color and allies.

Full access passes are $110, youth passes are $45, children under 8 are free. Ticket information is available online at Detailed festival lodging information can be found on the festival website,

“There is a low number of [people of color] in the outdoor industry. We don’t necessarily get the opportunity as people of color and this is the opportunity to learn from people that look like us, and I think that is important,” Powell said. “Refuge is creating that space where you can find those things and learn from people that might look like you.”

Refuge was created by Golden Bricks Events — Powell’s consulting business — which has a record of developing events and festivals that encompass outdoor recreation, community and diversity.

Golden Brick Events builds experiences showcasing the voices and faces of people of color and marginalized communities, bringing people together in the outdoors and serving the needs of a diverse and inclusive community.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the Snoqualmie Tribe would perform a land recognition on Friday night. The Snoqualmie Tribe will not perform a land recognition. Refuge Outdoor Festival will read a land recognition provided by the Snoqualmie Tribe.

The Refuge Outdoor Festival is creating a space to explore and celebrate diversity, nature and life. Photo courtesy of Tennishia Williams

The Refuge Outdoor Festival is creating a space to explore and celebrate diversity, nature and life. Photo courtesy of Tennishia Williams

More in Life

From left: students Riley Retinger, Abby Smith, Mimmi Hubbard and Sadie Rabinowitz. Photo by Calah Webb
‘It’s one of my favorite places to be’: School of Rock Issaquah gears up for January shows

In January, students will be paying homage to the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Chris Cornell and others.

Embrace the struggle for a complete picture | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and general wellbeing.

KCLS continuing to build connections in 2020

A monthly column about library happenings.

The Snoqualmie Lunar New Year Celebration will be held at the YMCA Community Center on Jan. 25. File photo
Snoqualmie Lunar New Year Celebration set for Jan. 25

The celebration will be held at the Snoqualmie YMCA Community Center.

Seahawks legend Alonzo Mitz signs Herb Altmann’s 12’s flag at Sno-Valley Senior Center on Dec. 13. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Seattle Seahawks Legends visit Sno-Valley Senior Center

The 12 Days of Goodness made a stop in Carnation on Dec. 13.

Eat this not that this holiday season | Health

A monthly health column from a local naturopathic health care provider.

Santa waves to the crowd as Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson leads the crowd in an acapella version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” during the annual Winter Lights on Dec. 7. Corey Morris/staff photo
Santa Claus came to town

Photos from the 2019 Winter Lights celebration in Snoqualmie.

Photo by Nityia Photography
Three simple rules for the holiday

A monthly column about mindfulness.

Jacob Pass and Anita Young at Twede’s Cafe with Buddy the Elf during a North Bend Downtown Foundation photo campaign promoting downtown businesses. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
North Bend holiday happenings

Celebrate downtown with Buddy the Elf.

Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, next door to the American Legion Post 79, which houses the Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services Resource Center. There will be a free community meal at the church on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, at 3 p.m. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Community Thanksgiving meal at Snoqualmie Methodist Church

The church will host Thanksgiving dinner with Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services.

Erin Wakefield
Recognizing the value of veterans

A monthly column from Waste Management.

The Island’s third Pumpkin Walk is set for Oct. 27 at Luther Burbank Park. Photo courtesy of Amanda Colburn
Eastside Halloween roundup

Family-friendly seasonal events throughout the Eastside.