We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2018 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the southern Appalachian Mountains. DIRECTIONS TO THE GATHERING ARE HERE (and contain road closure info, and other critical information. This post is updated frequently so check back for the latest.To learn how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rap on Access

For people with special needs, ask for Handicamp - a space for people with mobility and other related disabilities with lots of folks willing to help you make the most of your gathering experience. However, keep in mind that not all people who need close in parking at Handicamp will be able to get it as the lots do fill up.  Sometimes our ability to maintain Handicamp parking is constrained by the United States Forest Service. But the situation varies year to year and even day to day. Providing access for those who need it is one of the hardest things to manage at the gathering. We often work something out, then have to change it for a variety of reasons.  My best recommendation is arrive earlier as the later you come, the more challenging the parking situation tends to become.

The gathering proper can be 1/2 to 2 miles away from vehicle access and may involve hills. There is usually a drop-off point where people and gear can stage at the trail head even if parking is further out. While the trails can be tough and conditions vary from site to site, there's usually a couple of friendly folks just waiting to assist with the rough spots. Sometimes we have cool things like rickshaws to assist people in getting around but sometimes we don't or the service of such assistance devices is intermittent and it may take hours to coordinate transport.

Also, while I understand the desire to sleep in your rig, it is actually easier if you camp in the central part of the gathering by the kitchen of your liking as it will be much easier to provide support. Getting volunteers to help 200 people into the gathering is one thing. Finding volunteers to help 200 people twice a day as they commute to the parking lot is a lot harder for everyone.

Bring your own personal supplies (catheter, wraps, chair, medical supplies, diapers, cleanup, etc.). Bring own attendant if you need assistance with personal care (bowel programs, skin, transfer, catheterization , wounds, etc) or supervision issues or other issues (mobility, access, safety) as needed. We will have registered nurses and medical doctors on site during the main days of the gathering. It's a great idea to connect up with a health care practitioner when you arrive and before you need assistance so that someone is familiar with your needs and can assist more quickly.  Please, ask for help when you need it and give another gatherer a chance to be of service.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Harvest/Thanksgiving/Fall/Council/Circle Notes

Harvest Counsel consensus report:
1. Spring Counsel will begin June 8, 2018.
2. In the interest of simplicity, Harvest Counsel declines to create or appoint banking (procrastinated to Spring Counsel).
3. There will be a scouting rendezvous on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
4. From this Harvest Counsel circle we carry the intention to help cocreate the most magical gathering possible for ourselves and all individuals.
5. Have morphun!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First Time Gatherer?

Everyone with a belly button is welcome to attend. However, if you have no belly button due to some medical procedure, you fall into the special group of people who have lost their belly buttons and are welcome to attend under the belly button challenged clause of the Rainbow Family guidelines.  (Just a bit of rainbow humor.)

That being said, showing up at a gathering and not knowing anyone can be very overwhelming. 

My best advise is to plan your arrival for early in the morning (say before 10 AM). This may mean you stay at a campground or a motel a short drive away from the gathering. Get up at 7 a.m. and do the last 75 miles.  These are always the slowest hardest miles into a gathering site, some times it is easy to get lost, roads can be rough, folks are exhausted and tempers can flare. You don't want your first gathering experience to be a bad one do you? 

First you'll need to park your car. Please listen to the folks explaining how and where to park and follow their instructions. Sure there may be other parking areas, but you may be subject to ticket or tow if your car isn't in a spot where law enforcement wants cars.

If you already have plans to meet up with friends at a specific camp, gather your gear and ask people to point you to that camp. Otherwise, ask for INFO.  The journey from your car to INFO may take hours. Bring one gallon of water per person for the hike in, more if you can carry it.  Sometimes it's a long hike in, sometimes there a lot of traffic on the trail, sometimes you need to explore the sights along the way. Sometimes you get sidetracked by a drum circle or hug pile. Filtered water will be available at the gathering but you don't want to have to fill up for at least 4-8 hours after you arrive and one gallon of water goes fast at the gathering.  Bring snacks for the hike in and leave some non-perishable items and an unopened gallon or two of water in your car so it will be waiting for you when you hike out.

Once you reach INFO, there will be a map showing the gathering layout and some of the many camps. Some camps are location based such as NERF (New England Rainbow Family), others are activity based such as Yoga Camp. If you're not sure what's right for you, ask the folks at INFO questions about the vibe of the different camps.  Again this may take hours and you want to set up your tent before dark.  AGAIN I REPEAT. You will be happier if you get your space set up before dark unless wandering around all night long without a flashlight and a jacket is what makes you happy, then go for it. I also recommend walking around the gathering and feeling out what feels like a good place for YOU. Once you find a space that feels right to YOU, introduce yourself to who ever is around and say you'd love to plug into this camp.  Then take it from there.  Always keep your day pack with you. Keep your flashlight, bowl and eating utensils, a water bottle with drinking water, as well as a sweater or such in your backpack on your back every time you leave your tent. You may think you'll be back in 5 minutes, but you may not make it back until after dark or 12 hours later. After all once you are home, you are on "Rainbow time."

Keep in mind that your first day at your first gathering is going to be a long one. No matter what, do not get separated from your gear unless the person who has it is someone personally known to you and whom you trust not to forget to hook up with you. If someone offers to help carry your gear, stay with your gear.  STAY WITH YOUR GEAR. If you don't, you and your gear may take a few days to reconnect. If you shuttle in, DO NOT put your gear on a different shuttle than you are going on.  Hiking in is confusing and that kind sibling who offered to carry your tent may have thought you were going to Yoga Camp when you said Yoga Space - and yes sometimes there are multiple camps with very similar or identical names.  Again it may take a few days for you and your gear to connect up again.  If you brought it, keep it with you and take it home when you leave (trash included).  The less you bring the less you have to haul out.

Remember, dinner circle is in main meadow - Listen for the conch shell being blown in the late afternoon. Bring your bowl and a spoon so you have something to eat with and come dine with your family.

REMINDER:  Everything at a gathering is FREE. No one should ever charge you money or anything else to eat, park a car, seek medical attention, or participate in a workshop. Kitchen's make ask for donations to help purchase food, the Magic Hat collects funds to purchase food and goes around at dinner circle. But donations are voluntary and appreciated.

If you need help with anything, go to INFO and we'll help you out as best we can.

Info Crew (Montana 2013) Providing Free Rainbow Shrugs
(you'll get the joke after you been home for a few days)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Songs from the 2017 Gathering

A wonderful brother Tenali records sounds of the gathering to share with family.

You can find this year's recordings on-line and there are links to other year's as well.

Thank you Tenali!