I spent the morning at a Stirlng Council licensing panel organising the licenses for the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival this year. Happy to say that the council – both officers and councillors – could not have been more conscientious or more helpful. I have been spending a fair bit of time on community engagement for the festival this year, and have also extended my activity to quite a heavy involvement in the more established Eden festival. Being with nice people organising something joyous helps keep me going, and if it requires the odd gap in blogging, it keeps me both sane enough and happy enough to plough on, and manages to be very hard work and immensely refreshing all at the same time.
The final line up for Doune the Rabbit Hole is now complete:
I will again see some of you there, either as punters or working as volunteers. We still need more volunteers for the Eden Festival also, which is on us quite soon (7 to 10 June), and specifically I need people to help me in the bar. For that one can you contact me initially through this blog’s contact button top right.
The existence of a counter-culture is as important to me in terms of personal motivation as clarity of intellectual critique of society, and can manifest in various ways. Music festivals have become very commercialised and anodyne; rip-off ones seem to multiply while festivals with an “alternative” vibe have been struggling to survive, a struggle in which I have actively immersed myself and my resources, such as they are.
But whether it is as one of the 90,000 people who marched through Glasgow lately, whether it was addressing “Occupy London” or several university sit-ins, or being part of the community at music festivals, the happiest and most intense experiences of my life, outside personal family moments, have come from occasions where I am temporarily part of a group of people acting outside normal governing political structures, even for short periods, and often openly in defiance of them, in self governing “pop-up communities”. It feels like a glimpse into another possible world, a society of horizontal solidarity where we do not exist to be exploited. It is the fun of escape, the aspiration of alternative, the realisation that freedom is plausible. If I did not feel like that occasionally, I would not be able to think like that, all the time.