The Freedom Movement Spends a Quarter Billion Every Year On Weekend Hangouts... Is It Helping?

in anarchy •  5 months ago  (edited)

So, this is something that has been coming up for me more and more over the last year or so. For those of you who don't know me, I've lived on the road for the last 4 years, and a big part of that has been spent cooking for, speaking at, and working on the production team for dozens of these transformational events (conferences, festivals, retreats).

I am in no way making a claim that these events are not having a positive impact on the world, I have obviously seen a ton of value in them and dedicated much of the last 4 years to creating them.

(Image Source)

Let's take a look at a few of these events and some very rough numbers.. Anywhere there is a potential range, I'm leaning towards the low end or the average.

  • Anarchapulco
    • 2000 attendees @ $500 = $1,000,000
    • 2000 round-trip flights @ $600 = $1,200,000 (sometimes WAY more)
    • 1500 hotel rooms/AirBnBs @ $700 = $1,400,000 (The venue rooms were closer to $1500)
    • 2000 x 3 meals/day x 4 days @ $10-15 = $300,000
  • Arise Festival
    • 15,000 attendees @ $200-300 = $3,750,000
    • 15,000 x 3 meals/day x 3 days @$10-15 = $2,025,000
    • This event is largely Colorado locals, so not too many flights
  • Envision Festival
    • 5000 attendees @ $380 = $1,900,000
    • 5000 round-trip flights @ $800(+) = $4,000,000

So, just out of these three events, and certainly (no accounting for merchandise, sponsors, not taking into account all the costs, we're looking at about $16 million dollars... About $5,000,000 of which went straight to airline mega-corporations which certainly are not working to make the world better.

These are just a couple of the larger for-money events that the movement puts on, there are well over 100 of them I've found so far, and out of all of those events, only a small handful like The Rainbow Gathering & Jackalope Freedom Festival are not massive money sinks

With just some very rough estimates & quick math, we're looking at somewhere in the range of $250,000,000 a year spent on these weekend getaways. Any guess how much land could be bought for that? How many alternative schools could be built? How many community gardens could be started? How many 3D printers could be put into the hands of communities?

Showing How It Can Be Done

One of my goals with the event I've been planning, Be Empowered, has been to keep costs extremely low, while still providing an absolutely revolutionary & life-changing experience. The total budget this event is looking at (including sales & sponsors) is closer to $150,000, which includes food, lodging, and everything else.

As things have progressed, it's seeming like we might need to cancel the event. We've got about a week to come up with the down payment for the venue, and we are currently at a tiny tiny percent of that.

A few days ago I took a big step in laying out where all of this is, how I'm dealing with it, and asking for help... Then I ended up bed-ridden sick for the next 3 days. Coming out of that, I'm feeling quite at ease with whatever happens with the event, and also feeling a strong urge to start investing my own energy & time into things that are longer-lasting and more aligned with the world we are trying to create.

An Idea

$250 million is a lot of money, every year there are more events, and generally the budget for these events goes up every year as well. What if, just for one year, all these events were on hiatus, and we instead funneled those resources to buying large swathes of land to create autonomous zones, building sea-steads, and creating all sorts of other enduring, publicly visible, resources? I know in most places a million dollars will get you at LEAST 1000 acres... The average community garden costs a couple thousand to build and rent could be gotten cheap... 3D printers for houses cost $10-20,000...

It just seems like if what we are going for is a new paradigm, a new economic model, and new way of being... consumerism, escapism, and supporting corporations is not the way to do it.

Your thoughts?

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IT'S A TRAP!!! ...though only one of so many...
This reminds me of a conversation I had with a dude in Hungary, whom I met a few year previous at the international rainbow gathering in New Zealand in 2009. The topic was the Copenhagen climate conference about a year later. You know, the usual complaints about all these folks flying around the world to this massive conference, on behalf of governments worldwide, to talk about climate change, without much hope of signing agreements, which most of them wouldn't keep anyway. Still, it's considered an event to be supported, because... just consider the alternatives!
Anyhow, the point of our discussion was that things are not much different with hippies (like ourselves), from Japan to Finland, from South Africa to California, and even Australia (which is just around the block from NZ, but still...) flying to New Zealand merely because there is a rainbow gathering, and how much the world needs some good love and compassion, and all that jazz... and how in the end it has done little good, though beautiful and exciting it may have been.
So looking at your numbers, I imagine the difference to both, the NZ gathering (where you didn't have to fork over $$ for lodging and stuff, but they did need to be airlifted out as the first seedcamp was washed away by floods) and on the other hand, conferences like the one in Kyoto, Copenhagen, Rio, and Paris are way (probably WAAAAY) out of proportion to Anarchopulco.
A 3-D printer has about the cost of a used car. Still, it's much more common to see a family sacrificing almost everything to keep their vehicle running, not even considering what a 3-D printer could do for them for the same price. I think this could be a great analogy to the conferences, and ... well, how NOT to spend your money if you want to make a difference.

Oh ya, things like those climate conferences are going to be of a scale at least ten times anything the freedom movement is doing, because those are organized & funded by governments & globalists to promote their world domination plans... and they print the money.

I think one of the great things about how the original, BIG Rainbow Gathering ("Nationals") comes together is that it's always in the continental US, and there is a disproportionately small number of people who fly to it, it's mostly hitch-hikers, buses, and carpools from across the continent.

As always, it seems like the biggest limiting factor is that most simply don't know there are alternatives, or what those alternatives are. That's where we come in :-)

I agree. Lots of time it's the lack of information of the roads available, or even the knowledge on how to create your own road.
Tying it back to the conferences, it seems to be the same: of course people tend to emulate what the big-boys have showed them. And with the rainbow it's not any different. My first experience was a small regional gathering in Canada, which gave mme an idea of what the big one must be like. Years later I attended a gathering in Germany (THE international one), and a few years following the one in NZ I mentioned. Both were quite amazing, to be honest, but in certain ways I still feel I haven't been to a "real one" if I haven't attended a national one in the States. ...though I'm sure, a lot of it is in my mind, as a sum of all I've heard about it.

Great article, Kenny! Your idea sounds much more empowering than an expensive weekend excursion that primarily benefit corporations financially. It seems like it would be tremendously impactful to see such time and resources going towards building sustainable—freedom minded—communities!

Wow, I hadn't realised quite so much money was spent on these sorts of events...

I have not been to these sorts of events for many years.

My feeling is that is that smaller scale, less expensive, more personal events might effect greater and more lasting positive change for the people attending.

I agree completely, and for myself I've focused much more on small healing retreats and more personalized gatherings for the last year especially.

No that's an excellent and educating article... Thanks Bru! I'm going to share this on the C²-hive...
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You mean you may have to postpone the event. Lets pitch in on a community 3-D printer if we can come up with a plan to reimburse ourselves for it by using it.

We could do a lot with open source engineering and workshops teaching people how to build the tools for self-sufficiency to exit the system and live self-sufficiently. I believe self-reliance and small intentional communities will pull the future toward a new positive timeline. I'm planning on demonstrating the capabilities of my Surthrival Trailer this year. I'm selling my house, and using the proceeds to build a modern technologically advanced homestead property that can be replicated en mass. These are my thoughts toward a possible solution. The open source engineering communities could help lead to a more positive future. A holistic approach can help connect the mind to the heart as many technical people can be locked into the mind. This is the project and the technologies that can be replicated on scale that will help lead the future in a better direction imho

  ·  5 months ago (edited)

Indeed, this is HUGE !

for sure it'll be way less expensive to organise meeting on steem ;) ^^ It is also sure many good things happens there, but as you also said, flight companies are in front line to get the maximum of it ! But I would need to participate to one of those event to have a well-balanced opinion (50/50 objective/subjective) !

Also I just discovered your blog and by the same mouvement the TribeSteemUp community you founded, and I blame myself for not discovered it sooner as I'm on Steem for almost a year ! I feel very close to most of the subjects (in fact, all of them !) discussed there and would love to participate ! Do you think it's possible to join the Tribe ?

I wish you a very good day dear @kennyskitchen !

Together for the Planet !


I’m really curious about Be Empowered (: I think it would be really cool to go! Seems like a cool place to meet like minded people.

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