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 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!
Heroic Open-Air Drug Market at Porcfest 2019 During #FreeRoss Auction
Ross Ulbricht has been in prison since 2013 and is sentenced to stay there for the rest of his lifetime, plus another lifetime and forty years on top, all for the “crime” of creating and operating a website known as the Silk Road. Ross is a longtime advocate of liberty, even when he was acting as the head of Silk Road, “Dread Pirate Roberts”. He’s a lover of peace, not an evil drug gang kingpin, as the government goons were trying to portray him. The sham of a “trial” they forced on him was a travesty including corrupt cops and more. Rather than retell the sordid story here, I recommend you watch or read Railroaded.
It was a moving presentation and was followed the next day by the historic #FreeRoss auction! With dozens of items donated, the illegal auction ran for more than two hours and raised over $10,000 for Ross’ legal defense fund. Of course, many winning bidders paid for their items with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The auction results alone are impressive, but real civil disobedience history was made at the auction, in two ways. One, auctioneer Jay Noone was unlicensed by the New Hampshire state gang. That made the entire auction an act of civil disobedience. Two, at the very end of the auction, a cannabis grower from Maine donated two eighth-ounces of cannabis and they were auctioned off to two lucky winners, one of which was me, the other was Cop Blocker Angie Gordon. This auction was the icing on the cake for this year’s Porcfest – what fun and productive civil disobedience. When was the last time, if ever, that cannabis was auctioned in New Hampshire? This had to be a first.
Here’s a video featuring all of Lyn’s speech, her intro to the auction, a little bit of auction footage, full footage of the cannabis part of the auction, and a song from musicians Josh Noone and Jordan Page:
Free Talk Live host Mark Edge delivered a speech he called, “What is Freedom?” at the Porcupine Freedom Festival this year. Sadly, in recent years, Mark has become a jaded activist and has looked heavily at moving to some “special economic zone” project or another, or perhaps Seasteading. This was part of the focus of his speech, but luckily his negativity was trounced by facts presented by Free State Project founder Jason Sorens.
As he’s explained many times on Free Talk Live, Mark is disappointed with his confused perception of the activism happening in New Hampshire – he doesn’t believe many people are doing any, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary that he’s not willing to even investigate for himself. All of the amazing political success stories or other outreach successes are not persuasive to him. Government is slow to change, and Mark is soon to turn 50 and worries his time is running out, so why bother trying to change the system when he now believes he can just bribe a government to leave him alone? That’s the plan with the “special economic zone” concepts – pay off a government for more freedom. If you think that will work, I have a bridge to sell you.
Anyway, after his speech, Free State Project founder Jason Sorens called Mark out and corrected his various misinformation. The fact is, the New Hampshire freedom migration is a tremendous, unprecedented success. The activism happening here is varied and ongoing and the more libertarians move here, the better. Mark seems ready to give up, when technically we’ve barely just gotten started. The Free State Project’s official five-year move window began in 2016 and doesn’t end until 2021.
Mark has pointed out his frustration over the FSP’s slogan, “Liberty in Our Lifetime” given that many in the FSP have died in the last 15 years. I’ve tried to explain to him that it’s just a slogan. The odds we’ll end the coercive state in our lifetime are quite slim, however there’s no better place to give it our best shot than here in the Shire.
That’s not to say Seasteading or a special economic zone is a bad idea – I wish those projects much success and if they ever get anywhere, I’ll seriously consider a move there. Meanwhile, New Hampshire has more libertarians, voluntarists, and liberty-loving anarchists in the same geographic area than anywhere else on the planet. More are moving in every month. Plus, the natives here are naturally more freedom-friendly than places like New York. Yes, progress toward freedom can be frustratingly slow, but no one said this would be an overnight success or a cakewalk.
This year, after a four-year absence, I returned as an attendee to the Porcupine Freedom Festival, aka Porcfest. I’m happy to say that Porcfest 2019 was a success and even featured some history-making civil disobedience. More on that in a moment. First, kudos to Rodger and Jessica Paxton and their crew for throwing an excellent festival – in spite of the now-expected political bungling by the Free State Project‘s board of directors. Longtime Porcfest attendee, and Free Keene blogger Rich Paul had this to say:
The tension that has subdued Porcfest for the last few years is finally healed. It feels like 2012 again.
Before I continue my review of the event, a little background:
After its rise to being one of the most well-attended libertarian gatherings on the planet and also becoming the most cryptocurrency-welcoming event as far as its vendors are concerned, the Porcupine Freedom Festival, which is organized each year by volunteers, but ultimately controlled by the Free State Project corporation, ended up making a few key errors. Yes, it was a mistake for them to kick me and my radio show out after a few volunteers made a stink back in 2016, but I don’t hold a grudge, and at the time even published a blog encouraging people to continue attending Porcfest.
That’s one of the more obvious mistakes they made, as despite my urging of people to continue to attend, attendance did drop sharply the following year, from what I have been told. However, the other things they botched were even more damaging to the event.
For years, and from before they decided to ban me, people who’ve attended the Porcupine Freedom Festival each Summer in Northern New Hampshire have complained that its recent years have been lacking in fun, partially due to an ever-increasing burden of rules at the event and centralized decision making on the part of the Free State Project’s board of directors. For instance, longtime vendors felt pushed out of the “Agora Valley” prime trading zone by the artificial extra costs imposed by the FSP onto the RV campsites in that area.
Nearly Empty Agora Valley @ Porcfest 2019
Where did these artificial costs come from? The story of Agora Valley is one that libertarians should know well and should have seen coming, but the libertarians running the FSP failed to see it and fell into the same centralized control trap they typically argue against. In the earlier years of the Porcupine Freedom Festival at Roger’s Campground, the first few rows of the RV camping area became, through natural market functions, the most desirable real estate in the park. The reason is that all the major speakers and events are held at the Pavilion at the bottom of the hill, so most campers will pass through that part of the RV area on their way to attend Porcfest’s various events. Eventually the zone was dubbed “Agora Valley” and vendors would compete to reserve the prime spots first for the upcoming year’s event, however the cost to the vendors at the time was the normal lot fee charged by the campground.
Eventually, someone at the FSP got the bright idea that Agora Valley should be managed by the FSP’s festival organizers, and a vendor’s fee and agreement was created. When asked, the FSP’s representatives generally will defend the fees as reasonable, since they include a ticket to the event, promotion to the event’s VIPs, as well as a listing in the event’s “Whova” event program app, for a very small premium on top. They are right – the Agora Valley vendor prices are reasonable. However, the market is clearly speaking, more this year than ever before, that the fees and rules are not welcome.
However the other way the market responded during this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, was the creation of the “Where it’s at” zone deeper in the RV area. Longtime Porcfest vendors and attendees, fed up with paying more than they had to or simply frustrated by the restrictions for Agora Valley, decided to opt-out and setup a hot zone of economic activity in the RV rows past the Valley’s “jurisdiction”. This mass exodus left Agora Valley nearly a ghost town at this year’s Porcfest.
To be fair, according to Shawn Grissom, this year’s Porcfest vendor coordinator, there were vendors in the lonely Agora Valley that did very well this year. That said, even Grissom agreed the FSP should let go of trying to organize the campground and focus on their event production alone. Let the market self-organize again in the camp/RV area.
Heroic Open-Air Drug Market at Porcfest 2019
Aside from the centrally-planned failure of Agora Valley, the rest of the 2019 Porcupine Freedom Festival went off well and received rave reviews. The Paxtons did a great job of bringing balance back to where Porcfest wasn’t just a family vacation spot – with approximately 200 kids and teenagers in attendance – but also a great party. This year there was a naked guy down at the campfire at night on at least a couple of occasions that I saw, along with a topless young lady, plus an amazing open-air drug market.
During the final night’s Free Ross auction to benefit imprisoned liberty hero and founder of the Silk Road underground market, Ross Ulbricht, there were two vendors set up just outside on a couple of picnic tables right next to each other. One vendor offered items for sale on a whiteboard such as “not mushrooms” and “not pot” while the other seller’s blackboard offered shrooms, flower, and edibles. It even included a shout-out to #freeross.
The little things like that made this year’s Porcfest feel like Porcfests of the past, but what made this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival historic was what happened at the end of the Free Ross auction. After two hours and well over $10,000 had been raised from bidders on dozens of donated items, two activists donated a couple of eighth-of-an-ounce containers of cannabis to the remaining auction items. The auction was run by Mancamp founder Jay Noone and since he doesn’t have a auctioneer’s license, the entire event was civil disobedience. Noone then made Porcfest and likely New Hampshire history by auctioning off the cannabis to two lucky winners including me and the his assistant, Angie. What fun! (more…)