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 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!

 

Straddling Two Worlds | Smiling Faces or Concealed Faces

My partner Steven and I walk through the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire after a unique experience attempting to dine out.

Documenting a walk through downtown Portsmouth on a Wednesday afternoon, June 3, 2020. Some people are wearing masks because they are required to by dictate of Chris Sununu. He will shut down the businesses if they don’t comply. But it’s really depressing to me to see people like this and to be required to do it myself to enter certain businesses. I want to live life! I understand life has risks, and I am willing to take this one.

“Nobody” Files First in NH Republican Gubernatorial Primary

It’s official. New Hampshire voters will for the first time be able to cast a vote for Nobody for governor. Sick of Sununu and his insanely destructive “stay at home” lockdown where he tries to micromanage everyone’s businesses? Do you wish New Hampshire was actually a live-free-or-die place instead of an insane authoritarian medical state? Nobody should be your candidate of choice during the September primary.

Here’s footage of Nobody filing first for the republican primary gubernatorial election for 2020 and his answers to why he’s running and how differently he’d handle the COVID-19 situation from the tyrant-King Sununu:

Vist ElectNobody.com and vote for Nobody on the republican primary ballot on September 8th, 2020. Remember, if you’re registered as undeclared you can declare as republican when you go to vote, cast your ballot, then undeclare again as you leave the room.

You can connect with Nobody via his campaign website, Telegram chat, and Forum.

Massive Black Lives Matter Protest in Keene Rivals Manchester’s Turnout

Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.

Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.

Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.

Floyd’s death wasn’t the first such death at the hands of police across the United States.

However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.

KPD's Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?

KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?

Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.

Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.

Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.

Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.

The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.

Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?

I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.