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.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

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

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Courtesy photo. Scott Brittain and his son Ryker at Blake’s Pizzeria in Carnation (before state regulations for COVID-19 mandated restaurants switch to takeout only). Scott has been a customer since he was a kid, and now he and his family are still regulars.
In Carnation, Blake’s carries on with carryout

Community supports local pizzeria during COVID-19 pandemic.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Ralphs family after their home along the Raging River was yellow-tagged. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Ralphs Family GoFundMe page
Family of four forced to leave home along Raging River in Preston

Erosion has deemed the house yellow-tagged by King County services.

Courtesy photo
                                The Snoqualmie Valley Evergreens 4-H club will host a rabbit show on Feb. 29 in North Bend.
4-H rabbit show on Feb. 29 in North Bend

The show is open to the public. There is no admission for spectators.

Courtesy photo
                                North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland (R) presents the 2019 Citizen of the Year award to North Bend resident Beth Burrows at the city’s Feb. 4, 2020 council meeting.
North Bend’s Citizen of the Year

Beth Burrows recognized for outstanding contributions to the community.

Making a human connection in a sea of social media

A monthly health column about natural medicine.

(Pixabay photo)
Master Gardeners workshop on Feb. 15

Topics include soil, food and climate change.

The archway at last year’s Relay For Life of Snoqualmie Valley event. Courtesy photo
Relay For Life of Snoqualmie Valley kickoff

Dessert auction event Feb. 1.

Award-winning play ‘The Good Adoptee’ coming to Mercer Island

The autobiographical drama was penned by acclaimed playwright Suzanne Bachner.

Embrace the struggle for a complete picture | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and general wellbeing.