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!
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.
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.