The Largest, Longest-Running, Truly FREE (in every sense) Gathering of Humans is About to Begin! Hope to see you there!!

in travel •  5 months ago

3 years ago this week, after much preparation, intention-setting, and giving away of belongings, I left my old life in Portland and hit the road heading for the Rainbow Gathering. I had 2 backpacks, $200, and no plan besides "Go cook at Rainbow, trust-fall the Universe"

Since that time, I've traveled tens of thousands of miles, fed tens of thousands of people, spoken at events like Anarchapulco & Libertopia, and become a full-time content creator. (thanks Steemit!)

I've chipped away more and more at trauma & old programs that don't serve me, I've practiced self-love, I've opened my throat chakra and learned to communicate my feelings, needs, and desires.

I've connected with some of the revolutionary, magical humans on the planet, been inspired & supported by them, and been able to inspire & support them.

Much of this time has been spent co-creating (often cooking for) transformational festivals, healing retreats, freedom conferences, and other world-changing events. Through all this time and all these dozens of events, one thing has consistently been the highlight of my year: Rainbow

What is Rainbow?

Since my first Gathering in 2015, I have spent untold hours attempting to encapsulate the experience of Rainbow into conversations and through my writing. I wrote the massive Rainbow Gathering: 5 Decades of Beta-Testing Anarchist Society, and have given multiple 45-60 minute presentations based on that piece (like the above video). Rather than try to explain all the history, logistics, and ethics here again (since you can already read it here), today I'd like to break down what Rainbow means to me, some of the experiences I've had there, and why I see it as THE most important event for people to experience.

  • Let's start with the basics real quick: Rainbow is an temporary anarchist city in the woods. Rainbow started in 1972, and while the original Gathering still happens every year from July 1-7, it has also expanded into countless smaller "regionals", and at this point there is ALWAYS at least one Gathering happening somewhere, and they span the entire world.
  • Rainbow is completely decentralized. Full stop. All major decisions (like where the next Gathering should be) are made by consensus through council circles open to everyone who wants to be involved. The body of the Gathering itself is made up of dozes of camps & kitchens, there is no organizing team/company, and everyone is welcome to add their own flair to the Gathering.
  • Rainbow is completely FREE and operates as a family, with all the necessities of life being taken care of communally. Nobody goes without food, water, or shelter; medical care is always available, and conflicts are resolved quickly & compassionately, all by people simply stepping up to whatever job arose in the moment. Rainbow proves, on a large scale, that when everyone cares for the well-being of their fellow humans, there is no need for jobs, money, or exchange.
  • Rainbow is FREEDOM; everyone can be and do whatever they want, as long as they are not harming others. Want to wander the forest naked for a week? Want to spend 36 hours in a drum circle? Want to teach workshops? Want to do nothing but smoke weed? Whatever it is, you are free to follow your bliss.
  • Most of the festivals & conferences I go to focus heavily on what has been happening, on the problems of the world, and on trying to figure out how to move forward... Rainbow starts with the knowing that a world of peace, love, and freedom is possible, and simply opens a portal to that future/alternate-timeline. Any of you who are also students of manifestation and the Law of Attraction know how potent it is to hold yourself in the vibration of what you want to see. The universe brings to us more of whatever we practice, whatever our focus is on. Getting thousands of people (16-17k last year) together to practice living in peace & cooperation, in love & connection...that's a powerful spell.
  • Rainbow is LOVE! In 3 years of spending weeks every year at Rainbow, I've only seen 1 or 2 handshakes, because everyone HUGS. It is a pretty regular occurrence to hear a group of people screaming "WE LOVE YOU!" at the top of their lungs, followed by that call being repeated all through the forest.
  • Rainbow is weeks of build-up to one moment. On the 4th of July the entire forest is silent from sunrise until noon, with everyone spending their time in whatever a prayer for world peace looks like for them. At noon, everyone gathers in the main meadow in a giant circle (or concentric circles) and holds hands. The children parade into the middle of the circle, and the silence is broken by a collective OHM, then explodes in dancing, music, watermelons, and celebration. Every year, this morning is the longest time that I spend not cooking or sleeping, as I go sit in the main meadow and bask in the healing energy, processing and releasing SO much, and finding so much forgiveness for myself and others.
  • As I explained above, the Gathering is effectively a portal into to new paradigm, and it is amazing to see how self-organizing everything is. At the entrance to the gathering is the Gateless Gate (a banner which reads "welcome home", pictured at top) and starting at the point, you can truly feel yourself move further and further from Babylon with every step. The deeper into the forest you proceed, the higher the vibes, the more peaceful & loving the behavior.

How I Rainbow

On my first day of my first Gathering, I connected with Instant Soup Kitchen, and I've been there ever since. Instant Soup is a 24-hour vegan kitchen, known for being a hangout of world-class musicians, for always having coffee & tea, and of course for our delicious food. The kitchen started 22 years ago, is one of the best-known Rainbow kitchens, and is truly my home and my family.

After my first year at Rainbow, my little sister Alyssa has come to the Gathering with me every time, and has become an integral part of our kitchen as well, which is so AWESOME! Whether they were actually working in the kitchen or not, I've met many of my most beloved humans under that tarp. It's where I met both @mountainwashere & @kerrismiles!

I spend between 12-16 hours per day cooking at Instant Soup, and it is the most energizing, joyous, and smooth-running kitchen experience I have, EVERY YEAR! As I said before, I rarely leave the kitchen, but I certainly don't miss out, because the most amazing humans, music, and experience always come right to us :-)

In 2015, I shipped 600 pounds of dry food to Rainbow on a friend's bus (I had just quit working at Bob's Red Mill), and brought boxes of crystals to give away. The two years since, I've been living out of my backpack and basically just brought myself to the Gathering... This year I'm excited to be bringing patches for our kitchen, designed by Steemit's own @baa.steemit. My plan is to make an annual patch for everyone who plugs into the kitchen, so they can bring a piece of the experience home with them.

Where does the Rainbow Gathering take place?

Every year, the Rainbow Gathering is in a different national forest (and never with a permit). Part of the statement the Gathering is here to make is that land should be accessible to everyone, without having to ask for permission from organized crime syndicates.

Last year (in Oregon), Main Council lasted a few days, and we finally came to consensus on the Southern Appalachia bioregion. Just days ago Spring Council happened, and the exact location was decided on.

The "official" dates of the Gathering are July 1-7 (with the 4th being THE day), but there are already people on the land, and the earlier you get there the better. I LOVE watching it all grow around me, seeing an empty forest become a bustling metropolis of beautiful humans.

Rather than writing out a giant breakdown of what to bring and how to prepare for your first Rainbow Gathering, I'm just going to link to the one I wrote last year.

Where is Rainbow 2018?

From the unofficial official Rainbow website:

The gathering is taking place in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia.

From Interstate 75 south east of Chattanooga, Tennessee, take highway 76 east approximately 67 miles towards East Ellijay, Georgia. From East Ellijay, take Highway 52 east towards Dahlonega. About 28 miles from East Ellijay, turn north (left) on Nimblewill Road. Then turn right on Forest Service Road 28-1. Then turn left on Forest Service Road 83 (aka Bull Mountain Road). Continue about 1.5 miles to Welcome Home.

From Karin's Rainbow Gathering 2018 news:

DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 75 south east of Chattanooga, Tennessee, take highway 76 east approximately 68 > miles towards East Ellijay, Georgia. From East Ellijay, take Highway 52 east towards Dahlonega.


From Atlanta take Interstate 85 north or from Greenville, South Carolina, take Interstate 85 south. From I-85, take exit 22 for US-129 North toward Gainesville/Jefferson. From Gainsville, take GA-60 North approximately 22 miles to Dahlonega. From Dahlonega, take Highway 52 west towards East Ellijay.

From all directions: About 28 miles from East Ellijay, turn north (left) on Nimblewill Road (aka Nimblewill Church Road or Nimblewill Creek Road). Then turn right on Forest Service Road 28-1. Then turn left on Forest Service Road 83 (aka Bull Mountain Road aka Route 83). Continue about 1.5 miles to Welcome Home. Parking for buses is available.

There are rolling and intermittent mandatory check points that people are going through. Please read Rap 420 and make sure you know your rights.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization!
Live lightly with the Land and People!
Be the peaceful and loving person you want to see more of in this world.
Please copy and distribute this information widely


Roads and parking situations will be in flux for the next week. When you make it home, please listen to the people on the land and park where they tell you. Then in a few days touch base with INFO to see if the parking rules have changed so your car doesn't get towed. YES, the USFS does that. They tell people they can park in an area, then USFS changes their mind and puts a 72 hour notice on your car to move it.

Folks on the land are working with the USFS to open up new parking areas. Please go home and follow the parking instructions given by the parking crew. Please park tight as parking will be hard this year. Please save Handicamp for those with mobility issues.

Misc. Additional Information

Dahlonega is supposed to be a university town with a health food store.

Main circle is 1700', Most of the site is 1500-1800' It will cool down a decent amount at night due to elevation but not that much. Expect 80s day and 60s night. It is very wet and rainy lately so it will be humid.

Due to rain, Mosquitoes are very bad this year. Yes to ticks (also worse than normal). Yes there is Lyme in this area but not huge. Chiggers likely.

It is a tad far north for most venomous snakes, there could be but not likely. Don't know site specific but yes poison ivy is common in this area.

Apparently this area is not used for cattle grazing.

If you are interested in the USFS information on critters, floods, etc., including weather reports for the forest, click here.

Public Transportation Options:

Greyhound has a bus station at the Atlanta airport which can take you from the airport to Gainesville, Georgia that is about 20 miles from Dahlonega for just over $20. The buses leave the airport for the connection at the downtown station at about 5:40 am and about 2:30 pm, so if you get there in time for either of those, take the bus.

Amtrak's "Crescent" leaves Atlanta's Brookwood Station at 8:21 pm and arrives in Gainesville, Georgia at 9:16 pm. Not much schedule flexibility though. Only the one train daily. Base fare is about $14.

Gainsville, Georgia is about 60 miles North East of Atlanta. Gainsville, Georgia is about 20 miles south of Dahlonega.

There is a bus network called MATS in Gilmer County that operates on a non-fixed route, taking passengers to their requested destinations. They work to accommodate all passengers and their vehicles are equipped to aid individuals with disabilities. They do request advance notice, so call them at (706) 276.6287 for details. Pretty cheap $2 or $3.

You can also take Greyhound from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Dalton, Georgia. From there you can try MATS or hitchhike the route listed above.

8 Pillars of TribeSteemUp



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Main Circle
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I'm going to try and make it for the meditation on the 4th after the LNC in New Orleans.


I made it by hook and by crook and hung my hammock to camp for the night on the 3rd. Very cool experience, everyone was so helpful. I used your GPS coordinates to find it! Thank you Kenny, I participated in the meditation in the morning, but packed it out before noon as I was ready to begin heading home. I am definitely down for another gathering in the future and would like to get the perspective from volunteering in a kitchen.

Highly rEsteemed!

A better world.png

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Wow, sounds amazing. Would love to attend sometime in the next few years. Enjoy!! :)


I truly cannot recommend it highly enough!

Lovin you brother❤. Be safe and feel the vibes✌👍. I really enjoyed Rainbow last year. Instant soup was like a safe haven for my greenhorn self. Never witnessed humans in a more uplifting, true, raw, loving, and family-like way. I am glad I did lots of research and was still incredibly surpirised by the atmosphere. It was definietly an enlightening event to know we as a human family can function mindfully without need for authority and control. P.s. Trade circle is permanently closed! :) ha ha ha!

Great to find my colourful brothers here

Lovin you! Thanks for being you and for letting me be me. I went to the 2012 national in TN and saw the most beautiful, awe-some lightning storm ever. Now every time i hear "chimes of freedom" it takes me back.

Interesting. Psy attended many festivals over the years.. And it was difficult to find the truth within.. Psy mostly came across drug fiends with good intentions.. but more or less, people trying to get so fucked up over the weekend, people who suck away from the 9-5 to let loose.. Of course there were the few special types. Psy stepped away from the scene from many year but you've sparked my interested again. You make Rainbow seem more mature.


Well, Rainbow is very much NOT a festival. There aren't stages, there's no sound systems, no vendors, no "famous" people, etc. Personally I only go to festivals that are truly intentional & prayer-based, alcohol free, and focused on healing, and even those I'm limiting more and more. Rainbow, however, will be a constant in my life :-)

Psy mostly came across drug fiends with good intentions.. but more or less, people trying to get so fucked up over the weekend, people who suck away from the 9-5 to let loose.

Those folks are certainly there too, as it is the whole spectrum of the Rainbow.


rainbow, however, will be a constant in my life :-) > psy mostly came across drug fiends with good intentions..


That sounds soo good! The Anarchapulco vibe was so positive. That is the energy Eye'm looking for. Wish Psy could make it to Rainbow. maybe next year.

May the Universe always provide a home to all those who wish to become family.

Khumba Mela beats this claim, but in the context of North America the Rainbow Gathering wins!

Posted using Partiko Android


Yeah, it's kinda hard to compete with 40 million people!

I love Rainbow! I went to my first Annual Gathering in 2001 and spent the next 7 years or so plugged in to various things Rainbow. I deeply miss the gatherings and the sense of community that traveling provided. With Rainbow, I was able to feed tens of thousands of people through the kitchens and through general taking care of people I ran into while in those circles. I was also able to help with disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina through Rapid Rainbow Relief.

I'm going to be in Georgia next week and am really hoping the timing works out for me to at least stop by the gathering on my way out.

Have you heard the phrase, "You can never go home again"? I'm a bit concerned that coming back after so many years will tarnish my memory of what it was before, but like you said, there is a huge Welcome Home sign when you arrive. I'll certainly stop by Instant Soup if I make it in. Is Lovin' Ovens or Quiet Camp still around?

Have an incredible time. I'd love to check it out. I think they have one in Portugal as well.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure Portugal has one every year. Most European countries do :-)

Interesting event. Wish i can join Rainbow.

sounds like fun, have you been to PorcFest?

Looks fantastic I have heard about it before. I just wish the UK would catch up with things like this; we are so far behind 💯🐒

Wish I could get to Nationals!

Just got back from the Oregon regional gathering. That was insane. Saved a man's life twice over.

I am kid village family. Been adopted by Felipe Chavez and the rest of the people there. And met you in Oregon. You helped de-escalate a situation with Zeus, when some couple allowed their dog to snap and chase my service dog.

I saw your light then and now.

Give Fox and Jenny a hug for me.

And you are much needed in Oregon!

Family is reeling from the issues and wild regional. Would love more help with the local family. I'm definitely looking forward for the next Oregon potluck.

Would love to finalize some more steemians here in Oregon and we are already going places!

Hope to catch you soon!

I’m so glad I came across your post. This truly sounds like something I’d love to partake in. Unfortunately this year is out of the question but next year it’s totally doable. My husband and I are anarchists and are hoping to eventually make it to Anarchapulco (maybe to stay). We are in Texas now. Wish I had known about this Rainbow sooner because this sounds like something we would LOVE. Thank you for sharing!

Your work & sharing this is so WONDERFUL @kennyskitchen! Please, remind us of your Rainbow name? I am Stag or on here @wellnesshero & will begin my journey home to GA from NY w/ my lil man (Scorpio), exciting times to be welcomed home. I know the adventure and journey for this pilgrimage is always a challenge due to the FEAR of the Feds!

How you have shared this is powerful, especially with taking it to anachopolco...Happy NEW Follower, upvoter & resteemer! Thanks for sharing this powerful LIGHT for others to get HOME this year in the US.

The ANARCHY side is what attracted me to my first gathering, now only 9 short trips around our star ago in PA. Happy to see you spreading this PRACTICE of what the family of living light (all of us, hahaha) gathers for every 4th of July to cultivate the anchoring of peace on this plane of existence!
Would love to get a heart hug from you brother, safe travels & LOVING YOU!!!

Wow full rainbow power! Thank u for sharing about this amazing raninbow movement that i love so much..

Seems like an amazing time.... Im honestly gonna make an attempt to come... Imma tell a few loved ones as well

The way you speak about this gathering is so inspiring and so beautiful. I have always been interested in going to a Rainbow Gathering, but after reading your shining review I am even more eager and excited to go some day soon. Thank you for always writing such lovely content. Always a pleasure to read.

Damn, that's so close to me, but unfortunately I only found out about it last night. My teacher/healer was huge into Rainbow Gathering, and I would love to check it out.

What a lovely post about something that sounds so awesome and foward-thinking!

Amazing I so want to jet involved UK is so behind. Whats the best way to get involved? 💯🐒