Porcfest 2020 is over. Is today the eighth or first day of Forkfest 2020? You decide.

Porcfest 2020 Group Photo, Side Shot

Porcfest 2020 Group Photo, Side Shot

Good morning from Roger’s Campground! If you’ve been reading Free Keene over the last week you’ve seen some excellent Forkfest/Porcfest video blogs from Derrick J. I’ve been so busy, it’s been hard to find time to do much of anything besides record my daily talk radio show and hang out with people here at Roger’s during Porcfest/Forkfest 2020.

Last year, I was again able to attend the Porcupine Freedom Festival (Porcfest) and really enjoyed it. 2019 was a great Porcfest but 2020 may have topped it because of one simple change by Porcfest’s organizer Carla Gericke:

This year, the Free State Project made the wise choice to decentralize the event. Gone are the unpopular vendor fees and any control the FSP had previously taken over the campground as they scaled back Porcfest 2020 to a minimal number of speakers and a geographic area of only the pavilion and bowl area of Roger’s Campground.

Soapbox Idol at Porcfest 2020

Soapbox Idol at Porcfest 2020

A pervasive myth about Porcfest is that it needs big named speakers to attract a large audience. This year proved that is not the case as very few speakers were present and yet the attendance seemed similar to last year, which had way more speakers. One regular vendor said this year was his best year out of the 5-6 he’s done and the Porcfest vendor organizer Shawn Grissom said his sales were on par with last year.

Clearly, Porcfest attendees preferred the hands-off, decentralized method of organizing and this year had a laid back vibe. It was fun to be able to broadcast from the event for the first time in four years. Or, since Porcfest was in a very specific part of the campground this year, was I instead broadcasting instead from Forkfest?

Some, like Free Keene’s Derrick J Freeman, say that Forkfest 2020 began on June 22nd this year, instead of the popularly promoted June 29th. His rationale was that Forkfest was originally created to protest Porcfest’s organizational missteps and he felt that with the decentralization this year that Porcfest had returned to its optimal form, so he and Steven Zeiler of Anypay announced they’d be having their annual dance party on June 26th during the Porcfest week of Forkfest.

Space Disco @ Forkfest 2020

Space Disco @ Forkfest 2020

However, that’s just his opinion. Forkfest is a totally decentralized libertarian camping festival. There are no organizers and no board of directors. Not everyone agrees that Forkfest started on June 22nd. Others believe it is starting today, June 29th. Originally, those who attended in 2019 had no idea that Porcfest would be decentralizing control of their event, so Forkfesters were expecting that Forkfest would be a separate week entirely and had come to some level of consensus that the forked event should happen the week after Porcfest in 2020 instead of the week before, which is how it had been done since its premiere in 2017.

The FSP made their decentralization plans for Porcfest known in mid-May, only several weeks in advance of the two events. As a result, some people – me included – decided that Forkfest is now a two-week long event and Porcfest is an event that happens during the first week. Longtime attendee Jay Noone has collectively called both events the “New Hampshire Freedom Festival”. Admittedly, the range of opinions has created some confusion, but regardless a good time is likely to be had whether you attend one week or both or part of each. You decide what defines Forkfest.

Forkfest 2020 Early Tent Party

Forkfest 2020 Early Tent Party

Is two weeks too much for most people? Probably, based on the large number of people who left the park Sunday June 28th, which was the final day of Porcfest. However, other people are just showing up now for what they planned was going to be the only week of Forkfest 2020, June 29th through July 5th.

Sunday evening/night had some new arrivals join us for lots of hanging out with dozens still present on the campground as well as multiple venues staying open including a few food vendors and Colin’s large party tent which featured a bar and busy poker table. We’ll see how the rest of the week pans out for the fourth-annual Forkfest as it builds towards a hopefully epic Saturday night on Independence Day which will feature both a fireworks show and a concert featuring a new band, “FUD”, featuring Aria DiMezzo, Captain Kickass, and Michael Gordon.

Early 2nd Week Forkfest 2020 Hangout

Early 2nd Week Forkfest 2020 Hangout

It’s too early to say what’s going to happen and we have no ticket sales from which to base any expectations, as Forkfest has no tickets. To attend, you just come to Roger’s Campground during the appropriate dates and connect with other freedom-loving folks. You can also create whatever event you’d like to have people attend. The experience you have at Forkfest is up to you. You can learn more about the event and get connected with other attendees via the Telegram chat and Forkfest forum via the unofficial website, Forkfest.party.

Please do come on up this week until July 5th to Forkfest 2020 and meet a bunch of other liberty-loving people hanging out together in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. Bring along your favorite form of money like cryptocurrency or Goldbacks as many vendors and individuals accept multiple payment methods. See you soon!

Porcfest ForkFest Day Four – Pirate Luau Happy Hour

Day Four of Porcfest + ForkFest was fun! I started out by leading a 90-minute restorative yoga series under the shade of a tree in Anypay City. Some nice people joined us.

Jim Babb hosted a Happy Hour, as is tradition. I brought a speaker with some fun groovy music. Lots of people were there from all walks of life. Middle-aged and married moms and dads, young single girls and guys, older folks, a tranny in black lacy lingerie, and virile young men with scruff on their faces and armored plates on their chests. People wore Hawaiian garb. Lots had big guns and were brimming with ammo and radio equipment.

The spirit of the party was one of levity and fun. A surprising number of the men wore bright colors and short shorts.

At night, the Astra Lounge in Anypay City was lit and thumping tunes for passers-by who shook their hips to the beat. Some people ventured in to dance and explore the cool space we created. I walked around playing music from a speaker and selling tickets. We ended the night around 11pm so we could get some sleep before the next day’s Space Disco party.

Porcfest ForkFest Day Two – Jumping Off a Cliff

Tuesday, the second day of Porcfest & ForkFest, we went cliff jumping with some friends at a popular area nearby.  Also, the Space Disco starts really coming together with the lights and music. Fun night with early arrivals.

I learned that Rogers Campground reserved all available spots in the first three rows (“Agora Valley”). Yesterday I speculated that the vendors were responding to former intrusion in the marketplace by the heavy hand of FSP Inc bureaucracy by not renting sites in Agora Valley. That was wrong! Instead the truth is they are opting to come later in the week.

In previous years, FSP Inc had required all vendors in Agora Valley to register and be set up to sell to attendees ALL WEEK LONG, from the beginning of the festival to the end. That’s a heavy burden for some. They want to maximize for profit and fun, and it should be their choice whether they want to be there selling for one day or seven days. If they have employees to pay, this could mean they can’t even operate due to the high cost of paying labor all week.

Instead, this year, vendors choose. Good.

Porcfest Forkfest Day One – Ernest Hancock’s Love Bus

Monday morning of PorcFest started out slow. “Oh no,” I thought. Nobody’s coming. But by the evening it was clear that PorcFest was indeed happening. It has become a lot more spread out. In the past, most of the activity happened down on the main field. Entrepreneurial people saw the opportunity to sell things to the people concentrated there and began renting sites close to the field to capitalize on the market. Over time, FSP Inc began charging the vendors for their prime real estate, imposing rules and restrictions, and creating bureaucracies to manage what they affectionately named “Agora Valley.” Well intentioned I am sure, but the results were perfectly predictable: No more vendors in Agora Valley.

The effect of the regulations are that everyone dispersed throughout the campground. Even though FSP Inc tried to reverse course by removing most restrictions and “property taxes,” it was too late. The market internalized the new reality. The last vestige of control remains: In order to reserve a site in the previously coveted first three rows of campsites, one must first contact an official PorcFest organizer and state their intention for a particular site; then he contacts the campground, and only then can the vendor call up the campground and claim their desired sites. This caused huge delays reminiscent of a Politburo. Now when you drive into the campground for Porcfest, you see rows and rows of empty campsites. In the past, the field and its adjoining sites were bursting with activity. The good news is that there is plenty of activity to be found around the campground with “splinter cells” emerging from this diaspora. People going their own way. Fewer monopolies. More coffee served in more places. Lower barriers to entry, but less economies of scale.

Also one interesting thing is that transportation technology has changed the game at PorcFest. Now everyone has these electronic transport pods — scooters, skateboards, wheels — that they are flying around on really fast. It is really easy to get from one end to the other. “It used to be a pain to get to where Ernie is, but I rode the wheel over there, and it was a pleasure,” said Porcfest attendee Steven Zeiler. This year’s Porcfest is big, it is exciting, it is high energy, it is fun, and I think everyone involved (including attendees) are doing a terrific job bringing the best they have to offer.

This is a microcosm of the freedom experiment, and if we are to succeed on scale, then we must succeed in our independent mini village in the woods. Good to see Porcfest moving away from central control and more in the direction of what they are now calling “Independent offerings,” and they now play a more supportive role rather than a central planning role. Good!