PorcFest is Over, Wha, Whaa, Whaaaaa

PorcFest XIV

The Free State Project’s 14th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival has come and gone. Today, as happens every year, I am totally bummed out. Bummed out because our prickle family reunion is over for another year. Bummed out about the friends I will have to wait a whole year to see again–just move already!

But counteracting this bummed-out-ness, most of all, I am RECHARGED. Know why? We are doing something unique, historic, and it is working.

Having been so closely involved with PorcFest over the years, starting as an attendee in 2006, organizing the event and doubling attendance in 2009 and 2010, and being hands on until I retired from the FSP presidency last year, PorcFest was especially fun and liberating this year for me because I could just “be.” A giant shout out to the whole PorcFest production crew! From my vantage point, things seemed to go off without a hitch. Thank you all for your incredible efforts!

Overstock’s CEO, Patrick Byrne, who has keynoted at both PorcFest and Liberty Forum, returned to what he calls “his tribe.” He gave a brilliant, fascinating philosophical talk about the origins of liberty and what a blockchain-driven future can look like. 4th amendment privacy advocate, Lyn Ulbricht, mother of alleged Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht, spoke about the devastating news regarding his appeal, and the serious legal issues his case represents for internet freedom. She read a letter from Ross to the PorcFest community, thanking us for our support over the years. Crypto was well represented in various talks and throughout Agora Valley, and thanks to SwarmCity, a decentralized commerce platform, for the wifi boost!

While there was waaaaay too much going on to catch it all, I did attend the “Women in Liberty Panel” with Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Melissa Mann, Terry Kibbe of Free the People, Avens O’Brien, and Kat Murti of Ladies of Liberty Alliance. It’s great to see some serious grrrl power in the house, and loved the comment about PorcFest having almost an equal balance of ladies to gents.

The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, with panelists Keith Ammon, Louis Calitz, Lisa McGunnigle and Stephen Villee, filled in folks about the pro-liberty successes from this legislative session, e.g.: constitutional carry; marijuana decriminalization and expansion of medical; outright ban on Stingray use by law enforcement; YUUUGE expansions in school choice; and more. In 2016, the NHLA donated more than $33,000 to endorsed campaigns across New Hampshire, helping 71 pro-liberty candidates win seats. Their annual fundraising dinner is coming up on July 16th with NH Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. Get your tickets today!

As usual, we had a good mix of music and dance parties. I boogied down and shook my booty at the 80s party on Friday night, getting my New Wave on. Regions were well represented at the New Movers Panel and the regional mixer. If you are visiting soon, check out these 6 self-guided tours of New Hampshire.

I participated in two events. A discussion about “First Before, First Again?” with my fellow Foundation for New Hampshire Independence trustee, Neal Connor. During this well-attended event, we discussed the value proposition of more independence from the corrupt and immoral federal government, also covering some of the geographic and economic advantages of the Granite State. The audience asked insightful questions and appeared receptive to the idea of independence through voluntary, peaceful means.

I also hosted the 6th annual SoapBox Idol on Saturday night, joined by three SBI judges: the hilarious Brett Veinotte of School Sucks Project; Los Angeles-based libertarian activist and writer Avens O’Brien; and Freedom Phoenix’s Ernie Hancock. In their 3-minute rants, the contestants covered some interesting topics. Aria, a self-described “she-male,” who came in third, expounded on her frustration with the alphabet soup in the LGBTQ community that turns supporters into victims. “I am not a victim,” she declared to applause. Nick of Puke and the Gang ended with time to spare, making a strong case for personal responsibility. This year’s winner, Mary (self-described as “Denis Goddard’s girlfriend”) had some choice words for the local liberty community about not being “hypocritical a$$holes;” meaning, if we say private charity will take care of something… we have to LIVE those principles through action and take care of it. I agree! In fact, her words have inspired me to volunteer more within my own backyard. I hope you consider doing the same!

Attendance appeared to be down from past peak levels, but everyone I encountered only had positive things to say about this year’s experience. I was amazed and encouraged by all the little ‘uns around, and applaud the volunteers who have stepped up to specifically provide children and teens with their very own PorcFest experience. My main suggestion for the PorcFest team is to improve the attendance numbers with earlier announcements of speakers, and more consistent, cross-platform marketing.

I’d also love to see a “Bring a (Local) Buddy” program, where movers are encouraged to bring a Granite Stater friend or neighbor on Saturday for free. (In the morning, before the group photo would be good. ;))

Many moons ago, I had a vision for PorcFest, spent years building on this vision with help from many, many wonderful people, and it is gratifying to see how these folks, my friends and past volunteers, have stepped into and owned their roles, managing their areas with expertise and aplomb. It takes a Quillage, and my heart is full.

In the News

“Libertarians worldwide should draw inspiration from the Free State Project, perhaps the greatest movement of libertarians putting their beliefs into action. Founded by Yale doctoral candidate Jason Sorens in 2001, the movement specifically sought to address concerns within the libertarian community over the difficulty facing third parties at the national and state level, due to a political and legal establishment that exists to support a two party system.” Read more at Panama Post.

“Independence is not a strictly libertarian issue either, it is a local issue. In general, it is a positive to have your food come from local sources, to eat at local restaurants, and drink local beer. The closer government gets to the local level, the better it is. Unity on a national scale only creates controversy, violence, and resentment currently among people who don’t agree and shouldn’t have to.” Read more at The Daily Bell.

“I urge the left to unite with Libertarians and work to reduce the power of government so that they can create the life they want instead of waiting their turn to crush the opposition.” Read the full Letter to the Editor from FSP early mover Edward Smith at The Union Leader.

“But perhaps people of all stripes can now find common ground to have this conversation. Now that the left hates the President, suddenly the idea of secession doesn’t sound so crazy. Americans can actually find more common ground by going our separate ways. Then people can all try different governing structures and ideas, allowing for experimentation in government that will let the best institutions emerge. And what we will likely find is that different governing structures make a lot of sense based on the region, culture, geography, resources, and the natural diversity which makes a one size fits all approach to governing a quagmire.” Read more at Zero Hedge.

Upcoming Events

Governor Sununu Signs School Choice Bill at Croydon Village School, June 29th at 2PM

Good people worked tirelessly on what is now known as the “Croydon Bill.” SB8 clarifies town tuitioning by specifying that all towns (not just border towns) in New Hampshire can include non-religious private schools in their school choice program. Light refreshments will be served. Come witness this monumental event and celebrate with Governor Sununu! RSVP on Facebook here.

Doug Stanhope at The Shaskeen in Manchester, July 8th

Early show, standing room only, doors open 5PM, show 6PM, which means this may be the soberest you will ever see the one and only Doug Stanhope. Doug is vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited and is certainly not for everybody. Little known fact: One year, I tried to bribe Doug to attend Liberty Forum by sending him a first class plane “Golden Ticket” wrapped around a gallon of cheap vodka (his favorite) with a bunch of PorcFest branded silver coins stuck to the top of the bottle (the only way I was sure he was going to find them). While he declined to attend, we did have some epic phone conversations before I lost his number after dropping my phone in the toilet. (Don’t ask.) I’m out of town, but go support my man, Doug Stanhope, and get your tix here.

Frank Edelblut at NHLA Dinner at Derryfield Restaurant in Manchester, July 16th

Join New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education and prior NHLA-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Frank Edelblut at the NHLA’s premier annual fundraising event. Buy your tickets today, enjoy the company of your peers, and help promote and expand liberty in New Hampshire! RSVP on Facebook to let your friends know you are planning to attend.

Freedom Fest, Las Vegas, July 19th-22nd

Liberty folks from across the world will gather in Vegas for the 10th annual Freedom Fest. I will be joining Doug Casey, Lyn Ulbricht, Jeffrey Tucker, and Tatiana Moroz in a panel discussion on “From Walden Pond to the Digital Frontier: Circumventing the State in a Parallel Universe.” Maybe I’ll get Steve Forbes to dance with me again!

Lakes Region Beach Day at Ahern State Park, July 22nd

Brought to you by the Lakes Region Porcupines, the 3rd Annual LRP Beach Day BBQ and fundraiser goes to the dogs! Super Doge Activist Lola the Wonder Dog has taken over this event and is ensuring that our four legged friends have a beautiful day in the sun and surf. As such, this year our proceeds benefit Lakes Region Humane Society and all dogs are welcome at Ahern State Park!

Please note, dogs are welcome to bring their humans along for burgers and potato salad!

All we ask is a small donation of $10 per eating adult. Kids eat for half price. If you feel that you can’t afford to eat with us, we still ask that you come along and if you feel up to it, drop a few bucks in the hat. Save up now, as you’ll regret not sampling some of Glen Aldrich’s World Famous Potato Salad! RSVP on Facebook here. Pre-order your tickets here.

One Response to "PorcFest is Over, Wha, Whaa, Whaaaaa"

  1. Patrick   June 26, 2017 at 9:26 PM

    Great write up. Too much to cover of course.

    My one comment, and I might be alone here, is that “improve the attendance numbers” does not mean a better experience, more movers, or liberty in my lifetime. I’d say “improve the attendance”. Better attendees, better speakers and better vendors. Better means principled 🙂

    I don’t expect PorcFest to ever have Donald Trump speak as FreedomFest did, but both events allow anyone to vend. Big Al is at PorcFest and some hungarian chics sell “electric massages” at FreedomFest; I’d prefer my liberty festivals be liberty to the max.

    Most importantly, a targeted audience, not just bigger is better.

    I mean, target their philosophy but also, have a target in mind. When 400 people attend a festival made for 400 people it is a different experience compared to a festival with 400 but hoping to hit 600, 800, etc.

    I didn’t eat at the non-liberty vendors. I avoided conversations when someone advocates violence and wasn’t open to peace. I couldn’t avoid noticing that talks that have seating for a hundred have 10 people there. Basically, I had a great time.

    Reply

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