EarthWell Festival is not his first creation
Chris Bachman cheered when "The King’s Speech" won the Academy Award for best picture last month, even though he describes watching the film as "miserably painful." Bachman, a successful local entrepreneur and founder of the innovative EarthWell Festival at Redstone last fall, grew up a stutterer. "I was there with him, right in his shoes. You can’t imagine what it’s like when you can’t even say your own name out loud. I was so glad that a movie was made about stuttering so other people could get a glimpse of just how difficult it can be," he says.
"For me, there were no experts to turn to," notes Bachman. "I coped with my stuttering by learning ‘tricks’ to get around it. I chose words that allowed me to speak around the problem. I modulated a bit more and used a singsong voice sometimes, just like in the movie."
There was also the social challenge that stutterers face. "On the one hand, you tend to become introverted and quiet. Yet, as you learn how to speak around the stuttering, you realize you have a lot to say but aren’t sure how to say it," he says.
Indeed, Bachman has always had a lot to say and do. "My father was a physicist and inventor and my mother a spiritualist, which gave me an interesting, balanced world view. There was the spirit world, co-existing with theoretical quantum physics, where pretty much anything you can imagine is possible. It was a wonderful way to grow up."
He got the travel bug early in life. "When I was two weeks old, we left for a two-year trip around the world with my father. He stopped to teach and lecture in cities around the world. I’d lived in Florence, Delhi and Tokyo before I was three years old. I never stayed in any one place for more than nine months until I was 19 years old."
Though a New York native, Bachman’s fondest childhood memories are of summers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., at the family cabin. "It was about 20 miles outside of town and pretty isolated," he explains. "In the evening the coyote packs would commence howling. When I was about eight years old, I began honing my howling skills and sang along with them. One moonlit night, they were howling especially close to the cabin, so I crept out of bed and went outside. Pretty soon I was running through the tall sagebrush, howling. When I looked around there were probably half-a-dozen coyotes running along with me. That was quite a night, especially explaining to my parents how I got so scraped up."
Always a globetrotter, Bachman attended Maui Community College in Hawaii. He returned to the mainland and settled for a time in Ogden, Utah, though he claims he can’t remember why. He says his 20s were a blur. "I refer to my teen and 20s as my ‘deformative years.’ Somewhere in there I got hooked on promoting and spent several years producing concerts and festival around the intermountain area, including the first Deer Valley Bluegrass Festival," he says.
By his early 30s, Bachman had overcome his stuttering. "For me, it was a liquid, essentially natural physiological process. With time I just grew out of it," he says.
An entrepreneur at heart, Bachman had started several travel companies by the mid-1990s and dabbled in online marketing. "Luckily, I noticed a new thing called ‘domain names’ and picked up several on a whim. That turned out to be among my most success ventures when I later sold them, sort of like buying a handful of winning lottery tickets," grins Bachman.
Bachman moved to Park City in 2000. "I love the diversity and convenience here. I’ve worked in over 50 resort areas from Hawaii to the Florida Keys and nowhere has as much to offer as Park City," he says.
Now in his 50s (as of last year), Bachman found himself with an abundance of free time and useful skills related to starting and running businesses. He created ProClass Web Design, building fully search-engine-optimized websites for small businesses on tight budgets.
"I also wanted to get back into promoting and had always wanted to produce a wellness and sustainability festival," he adds. The result was the inaugural EarthWell Festival, held last September at Redstone. Bachman is busy planning the second EarthWell Festival, which he hopes will become an annual event in Park City.
The ambitious endeavor also offers a business-services side, including a speakers’ bureau and workshops, all designed to support green and wellness businesses. "EarthWell is an amazing project, the fulfillment of a great dream. I believe if you are passionate enough about any dream, you can make it happen. I hope it will keep me busy for at least a few more years," Bachman says.
His fifth decade marked the beginning of another chapter in the odyssey of this perennial bachelor. He met Carina, a Park City-based holistic healer, at a local parking-lot party. True to his spiritual roots, he describes the encounter as serendipitous: "When we walked by each other our eyes locked and we had this recognition from lives past. Funny thing, she was everything I ever visualized in a life mate and then there she was. It was just a matter of time after that."
The couple married last year. He speaks glowingly of his wife and new family. "She already had three daughters who are wonderful. What a great family to be welcomed into!"
Bachman, long free of his youthful stuttering shackles and ever the entrepreneur, continues to dream big and do things his way. "A lot of what I’ve figured out over the years is simply the power of creative visualization. Just imagine what you want out of life, keep that image in the back of your mind, and let the universe bring it to you."
(To find out more about EarthWell and the festival, go to http://www.EarthWell.org )
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at email@example.com
Favorite things to do: ski, hike, bike and take advantage of the 2-for-1 coupons during "local season."
Favorite foods: "I suppose I should say salads and couscous or such. Truth is my favorite foods are bacon cheeseburgers and Philly cheese-steak pizzas. I really do eat pretty healthy most of the time."
Favorite reading: "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, and anything by Dean Koontz.
Favorite music/performers: Sheryl Crow, Tom Pettty, Aerosmith. "Mix in a little Jimmy Buffet, Vivaldi and maybe some African drumming."
Animal companions: "A little Maltese puppy. I like to wrestle with her and let her win."
Bucket list: "Create a live-in center for artists, unwed moms and abused women focusing on esoteric studies. Also write a novel or two and, oh yeah, I still have 45 countries to visit."
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.