PORTSMOUTH – Shire Liberty News reported extensively on last year’s first annual Freecoast Festival. The event was so successful that it’s returning this September. Most of this year’s event will take place at the Praxeum, a libertarian-owned and operated cooperative work-space in downtown Portsmouth.
We spoke with Tom Hudson, the lead organizer of this year’s event.
SLN: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Tom: I moved here in ’95 (from Texas). I remember getting involved, many thanks to Gardner Goldsmith’s radio show at the time “Against The Grain” (circa 2004 or 2005?) I remember the early days of the Free State Project (FSP) and hanging with some of the first people arriving in New Hampshire. It’s nice to reminisce, however it’s so much more impressive to see how the community has grown in the last 10+ years. It’s amazing how I can go to an event and not know many people there, it seems like each week there’s a new face among us, either a native or a new mover.
A bit about me, well, while I’m not a fan of labels, color me a voluntarist. That said, I wasn’t always that way, it’s been a journey. If you start back to when I became active, my primary issue was the 2nd Amendment. This led me to getting involved with the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance (2006), starting a successful blog, starting the New Hampshire Chapter of Freedom Force International, being the Welcome Wagon Coordinator for the FSP for many years, organizing and starting Seacoast Liberty (aka Freecoast) in 2008. I also was a delegate to the NH Republican State Caucus and spoke to the GOP in the cities of Minneapolis in 2008 as well as San Francisco, ending 2008 by winning the Political Activist of the Year award from the NHLA. By 2009 I saw just how corrupt the system was and while I had already changed my label from libertarian, to minarchist, this is when I become full on black and yellow.
SLN: What are the goals for this year’s Freecoast Festival? Are they the same as last year, or have they changed?
Tom: The goals for the Second Annual Freecoast Festival are the same as last year. As you may have heard Mike Vine state, “there is an underserved market for decentralizing and regionalizing [these] events”. The intent behind this festival is really to showcase why we want to live here, celebrate our community, provide a venue with locals for those that are considering moving to the Seacoast, all with an emphasis on family and entrepreneurship.
SLN: Do you expect this year’s event to be bigger than last year’s?
Tom: Many people have asked this, however while it would be nice, the focus is on quality and really embracing our community. This year, we have added a track for children which is super exciting seeing that there are so many children from newborns to teenagers as a part of our families. In addition, our speakers this year all live on the Seacoast which really helps people that are visiting for the event to get to know just who really lives in this awesome region known as The Freecoast.
SLN: Will this year’s pub crawl hit the same pubs as last year, or different ones?
Tom: It’s a surprise! I can guarantee that we will make a stop at The Coat of Arms. It’s a local favorite.
SLN: What’s the plan for the “Present Your Startup” session? Do people need to sign up to participate? Should people plan presentations ahead of time?
Tom: I’m so happy you asked! In short, yes they need to sign up and contact me. The session itself will be similar to Shark Tank. Each person is meant to present their idea to a panel of local entrepreneurs. It’s not going to be all crazy and full of drama like television, however we do want to provide value to those presenting as well as to those watching. So, you’ve got 6 months to get that business plan and idea ready to present!
SLN: What’s the best way for people to get updates on the event?
Tom: The best way would be Facebook. However, knowing that many people do not use Facebook, our website would be the next best place. At both places you can see the schedule, purchase tickets, contact us and see who we are and what we’re about.