The Fourth Annual Forkfest 2020 to Include Independence Day! Jun 29th – Jul 5th

Forkfest Logo

Unofficial Forkfest Logo

Have you been to Forkfest yet?  If you have, you already know how great it was and are likely planning to return.  If you haven’t been yet, you won’t want to miss Forkfest 2020.  Forkfest is a libertarian decentralized camping festival, with no board of directors or organizer, so there’s nothing official about it in any way, but this week, Rogers Campground‘s owner Crosby Peck has “officially” welcomed Forkfesters back for the fourth annual festival happening in 2020 from June 29th through July 5th.

Of course, those are just some arbitrary dates chosen by some Forkfest old timers, who this year decided that Forkfest 2020 would move and expand to the entire week after the Porcupine Freedom Festival. Though Porcfest has yet to officially announce their dates, we have no reason to wait. For the first time ever, Forkfest will coincide with Independence Day weekend!

Rogers Campground for decades has been known for having a well-attended Indpendence Day weekend, complete with a fireworks show.  Rumor is the fireworks professional Rogers has hired for years is retiring soon, but there’s a good chance Crosby will be hiring someone else to keep the longstanding tradition going. Whatever happens with the campground’s fireworks show, Forkfest will surely be a perfect event to happen during that timeframe. Many Forkfest attendees are big secession fans who love the idea of New Hampshire independence.

Given the point of Forkfest is that attendees create the event they want without asking permission, it should be interesting to see the variety of ways independence will be celebrated across the week, leading up to Independence Day that Saturday July 4th, which happens to also be the final night of Forkfest 2020.

Pirates’ Big Gay Somalian Road Builders Disco 2019

Pirates’ Big Gay Somalian Road Builders Disco at Forkfest 2019

Something else Forkfest attendees seemed highly interested in this year was cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, DASH, and Bitcoin Cash. All the food vendors at Forkfest this year were offering their wares for those three cryptos, at least. As a result, this year’s Forkfest felt like a libertarian crypto festival, held in the woods. At one time, Porcfest felt similarly, when people like Roger Ver, Charlie Shrem, and Erik Voorhees all attending the event during Bitcoin’s earlier years. I don’t like predictions, but think it’s safe to say the crypto aspect of the event will continue and perhaps even grow stronger at Forkfest 2020.

If you want to attend, keep in mind that the demand for camping, RV sites, and hotel rooms will likely be even higher in 2020, not just because Forkfest grew significantly on its own from 2018 to 2019, but also because in 2020 we’ll be mixing with the regular Independence Day weekend campers.  Plus, since Forkfest will be following Porcfest in 2020 and it was heavily marketed to Porcfesters this year, you can expect more people to stay on if they were already attending Porcfest. Make sure you lock-in your reservations for June 29th through July 5th as soon as possible. You can visit Rogers Campground’s website and call them at 603-788-4885.

Want an excuse to stay in the Shire even longer? The long-running Porcupine Freedom Festival aka Porcfest will be happening before Forkfest in 2020, though you do have to buy a ticket to attend Porcfest, while there is no ticket required or even available for Forkfest, as there’s no organization to support. Forkfest is New Hampshire’s decentralized libertarian camping festival.  No one is in charge, so everyone is.  Hope to see you at Forkfest 2020!

Meanwhile, you may also want to connect with other past and future Forkfest attendees. It’s easy to do that with the popular unofficial Forkfest Telegram channel and also the Forkfest forum at the Shire Forums.  Want to show the world you are planning to attend?  RSVP on the Liberty.menu event here and then share it on your favorite social media!

Unofficial Forkfest Wide Logo

Unofficial Forkfest Wide Logo

Mayoral, City Council Candidates Participate in 10th Anniversary 420 Rally in Keene’s Central Square

Mayoral Candidate Nobody and City Council Candidates Ian Freeman and Robert Call toke up at the 420.

Mayoral Candidate Nobody and City Council Candidates Ian Freeman and Robert Call toke up at the 420.

In September of 2009, liberty migrants and New Hampshire natives gathered in Keene’s Central Square to commit mass civil disobedience in violation of the state’s prohibition against cannabis. They did this heroic act despite the risk of misdemeanor charges that could have resulted at the time from the simple possession of cannabis.

The 420 rallies were historic and made local, state, national, and international headlines. They started small, with just a handful smoking cannabis in the iconic New Hampshire town common and quickly grew to upwards of 150 participants at their peak. The celebrations of cannabis freedom went on daily and lasted for weeks, despite desperate attempts by Keene police to crack down.

Once the events grew to a crowd, Keene police arrested a couple of the perceived leaders of the event in hopes of intimidating the peaceful tokers into calling it quits and going home, but the police aggression had the opposite effect. Instead of scaring away the protestors, dozens marched down to the Keene police headquarters and smoked cannabis behind the police station and later smoked up inside the lobby!

After that, the police never returned to the daily 420s and they eventually died off due to winter weather setting in. Though the rallies were revived the following Spring, we had clearly won the ground as a demilitarized zone for open cannabis use. It was a beautiful thing. Beginning in 2010, on April 20th the 420 rallies continued as a yearly event at the Concord state house steps and participants even came to include multiple state representatives.

Last weekend, the 420 rally returned to the place where it began – Keene’s Central Square. The founder of the rallies, then known as Rich Paul, now known as Nobody and running a campaign for mayor of Keene had the prior week announced a special rally to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the historic events. Held on Saturday September 28th at 4:20pm, the 10th anniversary rally was attended by locals, liberty migrants, and even included Robert Call and me, who are both candidates for city council in this year’s Keene municipal election.

Here’s a music video I made from footage of the original rallies in 2009, footage from the Concord rallies, and fresh footage and photos from last weekend’s 10th anniversary 420 rally:

In the past decade, we’ve seen some political progress in New Hampshire, including medical cannabis passing in 2012 and decriminalization of less than 3/4ths of an ounce of cannabis and 5 grams of concentrate passed in 2017. However, prohibition is not over and it continues to be a felony to grow or sell cannabis – an amazing plant that has helped countless people.

As long as prohibition exists, expect the 420 rallies and the civil disobedience to continue.

Kudos to Warehouse One for their awesome “Victimless Crime Spree” song, that was inspired by “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree”, which itself was originally inspired partially by Keene’s 420 rallies.

Mayoral Candidate Nobody Announces 10th Anniversary 420 Rally at Central Square on 9/28 at 4:20pm

Guy Fawkes Mask Cannabis

It’s 420 at 4:20pm Saturday 9/28 at Keene’s Central Square!

Ten years ago, in September of 2009, a group of liberty activists and NH natives made history by gathering every day in Keene’s Central Square at 4:20pm to smoke cannabis in an act of mass civil disobedience protesting New Hampshire’s insane drug prohibition. You can watch a bunch of videos of it here. The group grew larger as the days went by to where, at its peak, there were at least 130 people in the tiny little common in the heart of Downtown Keene. The Keene police were unsure of how to handle the situation after a couple of arrests they made at the rallies resulted in a bunch of protestors smoking cannabis inside the police station lobby!

After that, the police simply ignored the ongoing civil disobedience, publicly stating that they investigated and had found no one was smoking – which was a lie. The historic events garnered local and even international headlines and most importantly got a conversation started among the community about ending cannabis prohibition.

Eventually, the weather got too cold for most to bear, but the following spring, the daily rallies returned! Over time, people went back to their regular lives and the rallies continued yearly at the Concord, NH state house steps. We’d won the territory of Central Square and had essentially turned Keene’s little town common into a demilitarized zone where cannabis prohibition was not enforced!

Now, Keene’s mayoral candidate Nobody, the man formerly known as Rich Paul who created and led the original 420 rallies in Keene, has announced a special ten-year anniversary smoke out will occur this Saturday, September 28th at 4:20pm, at Keene’s Central Square. Nobody will address the rally and it will likely feature other speakers. Here’s an excerpt from Nobody’s official announcement as posted on his campaign website, ElectNobody.com:

420 Rally Meets Pumpkinfest 2009

420 Rally Meets Pumpkinfest 2009

We have made a lot of progress in 10 years, but we have a long way left to go. We have gained medical, we have gained decriminalization, we have, most recently, loosened the cruel and pointless constraints on medical marijuana. Most importantly, we have won the hearts and minds of the people but we are not done. We must serve notice that the people will not be satisfied until the crime against humanity that is the “war on drugs” is over and those responsible brought to justice, or at least to peace.

Cannabis users are not disposable people. Whether we use it for medical, spiritual, or recreational purposes, we retain our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, even if we seek that happiness through unapproved chemical means.

Nobody has invited people to bring cannabis to smoke and share, though in case of a police crackdown, avoid having over three quarters of an ounce, since that is the decrim limit in New Hampshire. As of 2017’s overwhelmingly passed slight decriminalization, possession of under 21 grams of cannabis or five grams of concentrate will only net the first time offender a $100 ticket. Whereas previously it would have been a misdemeanor arrest. So, now the risk to participants at 420 rallies is lower than ever.

However, if the police do show up to attempt to confiscate your cannabis and you end up with a ticket, I highly suggest you don’t take the plea deal! Take the ticket to trial and make them work to get their conviction, and even when you’re found guilty, refuse to pay the fine and instead do community service. Or just sit in jail for a day, since NH allows you to sit off fines at $150 a day. Whatever you do, don’t pay the fine, as that only encourages them to target peaceful cannabis users for fundraising purposes. If the police know they can’t get money out of people for cannabis “violations” and the police’s victims will instead clog up the courts via their right to trial, the cops may just stop ticketing people for cannabis entirely.

I look forward to seeing you out this Saturday, 9/28 at 4:20pm on Keene’s Central Square for the return of the 420 celebration rallies! If it goes well, we might even come back the next day…

Annulling the Victimless Crime Spree Charges (16 Total!)

It has been 7 years. No arrests, no nonsense. Just normal everyday living. I reached out to a consulting firm to help me with some business I am conducting, and part of their introduction letter informed me that they can’t do business with anyone who has a criminal record that hasn’t been annulled. So I looked into what it takes to do that. It took me about a week to figure it all out from reading the law and the paperwork, filling it out, calling the court clerks, and making sure everything is in order. It boils down to this:

You have to wait a certain amount of time after your final sentence, depending on the severity of the crimes. Then you can file for annulment, meaning they get “erased” from your record. (They still appear when searched, but a note is made that these have effectively been nullified since I have been rehabilitated for several years.)

I can file to annul multiple charges at once, so I filed to wipe out 14 of the charges that I had in District Court, and 2 that I had in Superior Court. It costs $125 per court, so $250 total. Later, there may be a separate fee from the Department of Corrections or other agency if they need to do some work to help get this settled. They tell me the whole process takes about 3-4 months.

At the end of it, though, I should have some kind of certification that I am no longer considered a criminal in the eyes of the State. That is good because it will allow me to do business with more people and afford me more freedom generally. If all it takes is filing some paperwork, paying a fee, and waiting, I say it is worth it. I will keep you updated on how it goes!

Rest in Peace, Julia Miranda

Julia and her brother, Luthor Miranda, at the only rave held in the last 15 years in New Hampshire - at the Laser Center in Hooksett

Julia and her brother, Luthor Miranda, at the only rave held in the last 15 years in New Hampshire – at the Laser Center in Hooksett

Julia Miranda, the first true love of my life, passed away last weekend at age 34. Julia moved to New Hampshire with me in 2006 as part of the Free State Project. She was a longtime co-host of Free Talk Live, originating here in Keene, where she lived and once even ran for office. Her boyfriend and former FTL co-host and comic artist Marcus Connor spoke at her memorial service in Peterborough yesterday and shared some kind words from one of the many listeners of Free Talk Live who she touched with her witty, compassionate, and intelligent comments on-the-air. Julia loved electronic music, especially the Happy Hardcore subgenre. Since she discovered them as a young teen, Julia also loved attending raves and it was her passion for the electronic music scene that led her to my radio show, Free Talk Live.

In October of 2005, there was a ridiculous and shocking police raid against a peaceful rave in Utah. The raid included a helicopter hovering with spotlights and armed men rappelling down to violently kidnap approximately sixty people whose only crime was dancing without government permission. It was an outrage, but for the rave community, it was nothing new. Police had been harassing and arresting ravers for more than a decade prior to the Utah rave raid in 2005.

Because of her rave community connections, Julia heard our broadcast on Free Talk Live where we discussed the Utah rave and she was amazed that anyone in the media would actually empathize with the situation and further, support her right to live life how she wanted. After listening to Free Talk Live and later calling in to tell her own personal story of police harassment and arrest over cannabis possession, Julia sent me a very nice email. From that moment, our lives were never the same, and we would be forever intertwined, for the better.

It wasn’t long before Julia had signed the Free State Project‘s pledge to migrate to New Hampshire and moved in with me in my house in Florida. She’d lived on the East coast of Florida for years, while I’d lived on the West coast for my whole life to that point. Within months, we’d made the move to New Hampshire on Labor Day of 2006 as partners.

As Dave Ridley remembers in his recent video memorial for Julia, she excitedly ran for city council, and was horrified by the experience:

Beyond being threatened by the Attorney Genital over her campaign promise to return her paycheck to the people, a local politico had come into Panera, where she worked as a manager at the time, and bugged her about her campaign. For her, this was an unacceptable result of political action and she decided she wanted nothing to do with the process from then on. Politics is a nasty business and it wasn’t right for Julia, understandably. She decided to focus more on her career, our relationship sadly ended, and after working for years in the corporate world, she became a self-taught graphic designer.

Without ever having spent a single day inside a college classroom, Julia became a capable and competent graphic artist while working in the charitable giving department of C&S Grocers, one of Keene’s major employers. That was what Julia did – she mastered anything she set her mind to.

Julia in Toronto before the last Hullabaloo

Julia in Toronto, feeling great before the last Hullabaloo

She was super-smart and also very beautiful. It was a pleasure to be her partner for as long as I was. I’m definitely a better person today because I knew her.

While there was a time when Julia and my eventual teenage love, Renee were not close, thankfully they ended up becoming great friends, as I hoped they would. Renee loved raves as much as Julia, and Julia ultimately became her “rave mom”.

After leaving the corporate world, Julia set out as a freelance graphic designer and took a Christmas season job at Target in Keene to help pay the bills. Since she excelled at everything, they of course asked her to stay on after the holiday season. Julia always had an inspirational work ethic, and loved her new job in the electronics department. With her lifelong love for robots and computers, it was an easy fit for a her.

While the autopsy has not yet come in, I suspect her early demise at only age 34 had to do with an injury she recently suffered in her workplace, where two weeks before her death, she accidentally turned around and ran into a metal column, and as she described it to me, “almost got knocked the fuck out”. Apparently she did not go to the hospital, despite being laid out on the floor by the impact. Like Julia, I dislike hospitals and would probably have done what she likely did, brushed herself off and went back to work, as best as she could.

Julia passed away last week at an electronic music festival in New York. Renee and others were with her at the time, so she was with those who loved her, at a place where she felt at home. Some will take the easy road and blame drugs for her early death. Those people didn’t know Julia. No one I’ve ever known in my life was more careful about recreational drug use than Julia. She always tested what she’d acquired and spent time researching what she chose to put in her body. She also made it her mission to educate other ravers and anyone who was willing to listen, about responsible recreational drug use. (more…)