The Rainbow Gathering

With a name like the Rainbow Gathering, one would assume that it is just another hippie festival, encompassing all the general characteristics of festival life, but it is in fact much different than many of the other festivals discussed.

The Rainbow Gathering was first held in 1972, and is held annually in the United States from July 1st through the 7th every year on National Forest land. This festival is put on by the Rainbow Family of Living Light, put simply the Rainbow Family. What makes this festival different is that the Rainbow Family, as stated by its members:

Is the largest non-organization of non-members in the world.

What this means is that there is no official leaders, no formal structures, no official spokespersons, and no membership. The only requirement to be apart of the Rainbow family is a belly button, but even this isn’t a real requirement. Principles that are characteristic of all rainbow members and rainbow gathering attendees include; love for the earth, peace, diversity, respect for others, volunteerism, etc.

Another factor that makes this festival different from others is the idea of non-commercialism. Rainbow Gatherings do not require the purchase of a ticket for entry, and the use of money to buy or sell anything is taboo, therefore a bartering system is generally used. In fact, snickers bars have emerged as a semi-standardized unit of exchange at some gatherings.

Every summer tens of thousands of people go to a different U.S. National Forest, where a temporary city is created in the wilderness. These cities come complete with kitchens, plumbing, medical care, and childcare, all thanks to the endless supply of volunteers and donations. The only comparable event is burning man, yet the Rainbow Gathering lacks the extremism of burning man, and even burning man requires ticket entry.

It is safe to say that the Rainbow Gathering stands alone when it comes to festivals. It is one of the few completely non-commercial festivals that remain, it is also one of the few that is put on by a non-organization and generally relies on word of mouth and the good of people. The Rainbow Gathering has stayed completely true to it origins, and I respect this. Although I have never been to a Rainbow Gathering, I still consider myself part of the rainbow family, belly button and all.


Hippies: A History Lesson

Hippies. We throw around this word in reference to the drug using, long-haired, music loving people of the 1960’s or even of today’s day and age. But what does being a hippie really mean? Although a light-hearted and generally carefree people, the true definition of being a hippie lies much deeper.

According to an article by Skip Stone on,

Being a hippie is a matter of accepting a universal belief system that transcends the social, political, and moral norms of any established structure, be it a class, church, or government. It is a philosophical approach to life that emphasizes freedom, peace, love and a respect for others and the earth.

The hippie movement in the United States originally began as a youth movement in the early 1960’s and rapidly grew to an established social group by 1965. This was a time of standing up for your beliefs, mind exploration and sexual revolution. Many during this time, especially young adults between the ages of 15 and 25, found these ideals appealing. It was a step outside societal norms, it was something new, which led to the rapid subculture growth.

Some would say that the hippie movement like that of the 1960’s has fizzled out, but it is still alive and well today. Not only are the legacies of this movement still apparent in many aspects of today’s society, but there is also a modern hippie movement occurring.

Some things that the hippie movement left its mark on includes; religious and cultural diversity, a wide range of appearances and clothing styles, frankness regarding sexual matters, interest in naturals foods, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements.

Although less apparent, there is still a hippie movement occurring today, what some call the modern hippie movement or the neo-hippie movement. This movement doesn’t differ much from that of the 60’s, except general political activism has turned largely towards environmental activism. Over recent years, an increasing amount of people have noticed the fragility of our environment and how we are on the brink of destroying it forever. In response, we have seen an increase in environmental activism comparable to the activism of the original hippie movement. Aside from environmentalism, many of the core ideals like peace and love remain the same. I believe that in time, the modern hippie movement will reach the size of the original and people will

Once again let their freak flags fly and become all they are destined to be.

Dubstep: Sounds of the Future

Dubstep artist VibeSquad

According to, dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music characterized by

overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.

Replacing the sounds of legends like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, dubstep is completely altering the hippie music scene. During the hippie movement of the 1960’s you would often find live bands playing rock or folk music at festivals across the nation, but nowadays you will find one man at the center of it all, creating electronic beats and intense bass lines with as little as a computer and a set of turntables.

To those who don’t understand it, dubstep isn’t music, it’s simply an odd combination of electronic sounds. Well, if it “isn’t music” than what is the appeal and why is it sweeping the underground scene?

Dubstep began in London nearly ten years ago and originated from UK garage and grime music. Over the years this genre of music has slowly gained popularity, eventually making its way into the rave and festival culture.

Currently, you will find dubstep being played at most major festivals and/or dance events, and at these events you will find the dancefloor jammed with people completely lost in the music. The appeal of dubstep lies within the fact that the possibilities are endless, to its creator and to the dancer.

The DJ is free to create whatever mixes his imagination will allow, and as for the listeners, we are free to move our bodies however we feel necessary. For the followers of dubstep, this is where the true appeal lies. There is no specific dance style when dancing to dubstep, you just move your body however the beat moves you. Also, wherever dubstep is played there seems to be an unspoken understanding among listeners that anything goes. This means that you can dance however you like, you can dress however you like, and no one is there to judge you. Maybe this is why it has grown so popular among the hippie culture.

For those who don’t understand dubstep, it is likely that they have never let the bass vibrate through their bodies and the beats move their soul. It is a beautiful experience, and it only takes one time to get hooked on the dub.