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 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 inĀ 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!

 

Porcfest Forkfest Day Zero – The Dome

The Porcupine Freedom Festival is in its 17th year, and every year brings changes. Sometimes a step forward, sometimes a step back. You can follow along and see for yourself what life is like at this event as I document each day for you.

Here is the first video in the series. Steven and I begin construction on the Dome, the centerpiece and hub of activity within “Energy City.” The mini city encompasses 3 “city blocks,” (campsites) and contains spaces for meeting, eating, moving and dancing, stretching and exercising.

Abby and Ryan provide fresh fruits and vegetables with their tent “Porcupine Produce” right at the entrance to the city. Propane heaters and picnic tables flank the sides. James provides the Bistro lighting and ambiance by illuminating the trees of the city. Steven rocks the dome with heavy beats that can be heard from far and wide. Derrick leads morning yoga under the shade of the big tree by the exercise area, complete with weight bench, free weights, and a barbell. Health, strength, and energy to achieve liberty in our lifetime.

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.

What do you get BitCoin for his tenth birthday? A Pizza Party!

A local business owner walked into the Anypay offices a few weeks ago.

“Would be awesome to take bitcoin at my restaurant. Do you guys… do that?”

Turns out he owns a pizza shop and likes bitcoin. Well isn’t that good timing? Bitcoin Pizza Day right around the corner, and a guy walks in ready to sell me pizzas for bitcoin. It was fate.

He downloaded Anypay, set some addresses, and took a payment.

“Cool! That’s it?”

Yeah, that’s everyone’s reaction the first time they use Anypay.

I asked him if we could bring some friends to his restaurant and use bitcoin. He was like, “Yeah!” So a week later, we went to try it out. Bought some spicy chicken wings and a case of cold Guinness beers to go. Tap, tap, tap. Scan, ding, cha-ching! Easy.

Okay, that worked.

(more…)

Bitcoin Pizza Day 2020

On May 22nd 2010, someone spent 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase two pizzas. This historic first-real-life-usage-of-bitcoin has since been celebrated as “Bitcoin Pizza Day” and here in Keene we celebrated Bitcoin Pizza Day for the fourth year in a row at Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene. Little Zoe’s has been accepting cryptocurrencies for years and the weather was perfect for a gathering of those who not only were interested in crypto, but also willing to potentially violate “HIS EXCELLENCY” Chris Sununu’s “executive orders”.

As has been the case for years in Keene, more than several crypto-enthusiasts gathered for Bitcoin Pizza Day, though one did have a mask.

We continue regular meetups, every six days. The next one is Wednesday at 4pm at Thirsty Owl whose porch is so popular, reservations are recommended. So, if you plan to attend, please make sure to RSVP.

Bitcoin Pizza Day 2020 at Little Zoe's in Keene

Bitcoin Pizza Day 2020 at Little Zoe’s in Keene