My life is guided by permaculture and as a permaculturist, I am part of a certain counter culture. That being said, even within the counter culture of permaculture (culture culture culture) there are many different expressions. Cultures, as it turns out, defy simplicity (like most things).
So, there is a faction of new-aged counter culture hippies that put on festivals such as burning man. Burning man espouses values of up-cycling, art, trade economy, etc. and these things are celebrated in the giant desert party that is so famous. There are also, however, many smaller, local versions of such festivals that are less famous and more grass-roots. I’m not really much of a festival-goer. I like a part and dancing like most folks, but I also like to go bed before sunrise. What can I say? I’m from New England?
Anyway, I went to a festival out in Green River, Utah called “Building Man, Building Woman, Building Community,” and it gave me a totally new understanding of the modern hippie culture.
We were out in the Book Cliffs, a little ways from the Green River itself, on a harsh, dusty piece of land along a BLM road. For two and a half days, we went to various workshops during the day from arch-building to women’s circles. At night, we listened and danced to music. Saturday night was the big one. The music started at 7 pm and ended at 8 am. It was a lot. When the sun got too hot in the afternoon, we went to the beach down the road.
Here’s what I’ve learned: 1. festivals are much better when you are not alone. Go with a group or a friend. 2. Festival people can be the most welcoming, generous people you will ever meet. 3. Everyone has their own reason for going. 4. You can do whatever you want. Drink to coolaid, don’t drink the coolaid. Just be yourself. I feel particularly introverted in festival spaces, and that’s okay.
That type of freedom is something I can support.