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At the basal of a clay aisle apparent by a chicken catechism mark corrective abominably assimilate a annular allotment of wood, a abatement articulation can be heard: “The ability is in the exhale. Release yourself. Lose yourself.”
“Now,” the articulation says, “Feel your affection move into your neighbor’s heart. Now accompany it aback to yourself already more.” It is 1 p.m. at the What the Anniversary in Dufur, Oregon, and an afternoon affair of “Good Times Yoga” is actuality captivated in the Illuminated Forest. Trek added into the Illuminated Forest and you’ll acquisition a Japanese tea lounge; a makeshift Buddhist temple; and assorted art installations, like a board unicorn, a life-size stag fabricated alone of mirrors, and a massive dream catcher. Emerge from the copse to ascertain a hookah lounge furnished with best couches and coffee tables. Continue added into the average of the festival—passing the amoebic coffee vendors and the blaze twirlers until you get to the basin affair helmed by a algid out DJ—and you’ll be reminded that changeable toplessness is technically legal, that not anybody makes astute boom decisions, and that questions like, “Who actuality is on acid?” are sometimes answered with aural acclaim and a sea of aloft hands.
It’s difficult to acquaint if the What the Festival, abbreviated as WTF, which includes date names such as the “Effin’ Stage,” the “OMG Lounge,” and the “Late-Option Lounge” (or “LOL Stage”), is authoritative an acrid ache at boilerplate ability or a clumsy attack at cultural relevance, but it is bright that the alpha anniversary in rural Oregon sees itself as an addition to better-known and added accepted summer music and arts festivals (Coachella, Sasquatch, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and the Electric Daisy Carnival).
The summer music and arts anniversary has connected been a hub for binding ability and a jumping off point for political and amusing protests. Woodstock, the quintessential counterculture anniversary in upstate New York, was a absolute moment for ancestral and animal equality. It apparent the acceleration of hippie ability in the Baby Boomer bearing and sparked a countercultural trend throughout the world. England additionally took part, establishing its own hippie ability at the Isle of Wright Anniversary in 1970, a year afterwards Woodstock, area bands like Led Zeppelin and Ten Years Afterwards admiring an estimated 600,000 attendees, breaking the almanac for better agreeable accident of its time. Three years later, Australia hosted the 10-day Aquarius Anniversary in Canberra, area bedrock musicians and alpha amphitheater actors performed ancillary by ancillary in what’s been alleged “the ablution pad for Australia’s hippie movement.”
Today, some avant-garde festivalgoers are attractive to acknowledgment to these countercultural roots. “I feel like there are a lot of bogus contest that acquire gone boilerplate and are absolutely materialistic,” says Craig Erickson, a biographer from Portland, Oregon, who abounding the What the Anniversary for the aboriginal time this year. “I capital to arise out actuality because I heard it was a lot added low-key. I feel like you can get awe-inspiring here. It’s a altered mindset.” But, admitting Erickson’s enthusiasm, the age of the counterculture anniversary seems to acquire connected back passed.
In Music, Power, and Politics, Annie Janeiro Randall, an Oxford-educated musicologist, argues that the aboriginal hippies—“proto-hippies”—emerged in Germany at the alpha of the 20th century, and acclimated the works of Nietzsche, Goethe, and Hesse to abutment their bounce of urbanization and admiration to acknowledgment to attributes and airy life. The movement, accepted as Wandervogel, or “migratory bird,” was alien to the United States in the 1950s back abounding of these proto-hippies larboard Germany afterwards Apple War II, affective abnormally to areas with balmy climates like southern California. The beatniks, led by Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, helped actuate hippie ability acceptance in the U.S. in the 1960s, and, afterwards 1967, back the three-day Monterey Pop Anniversary apparent the alpha of the “Summer of Love,” hippie ability became a acclaimed subculture in American society.
It became so popular, in fact, that a July 1967 affair of Time annual ran a awning adventure advantaged “Youth: The Hippies,” which summed up the hippie actualization this way:
Do your own thing, wherever you acquire to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave association as you acquire accepted it. Leave it utterly. Blow the apperception of every beeline actuality you can reach. About-face them on, if not to drugs, again to beauty, love, honesty, fun.
However, in 1969, back Charles Manson, who was beheld by abounding as a hippie (a dropout artist active in California), orchestrated the murders of extra Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, the apple bound grew disenchanted with hippie culture. The televised balloon of the Chicago Seven (a accumulation of seven bodies who conspired to cantankerous accompaniment curve to abet a anarchism in beef of President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War policies) additionally approved the abolitionist ancillary of hippies to a accumulation American admirers and led to their added amusing exclusion. By the mid-’70s, hippie ability had all but fizzled out.
Those who still articular with the appellation hippie became nomads, and for those who were still a allotment of hippie ability or artlessly capital to alive by hippie values, festivals became the absolute way to meet, meditate, actualize art, agreement with drugs and uality, and acquire to music. Until actual recently, this subculture has connected to thrive, admitting in abate numbers than 50 years ago, affair at a array of countercultural contest captivated throughout the country.
Daftastic Data at Woodstock, 1969. (Photo: Suzi Duke/Flickr)
Burning Man, a week-long accident area participants body a burghal in Nevada’s Black Bedrock Desert, is conceivably the best archetype of the avant-garde counterculture festival. Although Burners may not accredit to themselves as hippies, best adorned themselves counterculturalists. The event, which is home to all-night ball parties and massive art installations including the eponymous figure that’s austere at the end of the week, started as about a acting collective area appurtenances and casework were traded in a “gift economy”: favors unconditional, budgetary exchanges irrelevant. It was a absolute acknowledgment to the administration of commercialism and to accumulated sponsorship, the anniversary adaptation of Occupy Wall Street, a pushback adjoin the blazon of apple presaged by David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, in which aggregate is advised by announcement and branding.
Recent issues with admission s (where distinct ers bought up dozens of tickets and anon awash them off at ante too big-ticket for best Burning Man regulars) and the actuality that Silicon Valley CEOs acquire amorphous battery out for guided VIP Burning Man “experiences” (creating socioeconomic tiers at the festival), however, acquire led to the abasement of the festival’s aboriginal countercultural values.
Likewise, the five-day Glastonbury Anniversary abreast Pilton, Somerset, England, which began as a “free festival” area aggregate was chargeless of allegation in barter for volunteering, now costs £215 and is sponsored by the adaptable buzz aggregation Orange. So too Lightning in a Bottle, a “transformational” anniversary meant to affect “social cohesion” in California’s Angeles National Forest absent abundant of its countercultural cachet back a adult badge bite that belted on affair led to the arrests of 58 attendees at aftermost year’s anniversary for biologic deals, mainly for the auction of baby amounts of marijuana.
Connected gone are the corrective Volkswagen buses, allocution of “free love,” and shoulder-length beard for men, but it’s alone afresh that the festivals associated with those things acquire additionally amorphous to disappear, replaced by a new cast of anniversary that’s tailored to a altered accumulation entirely: hipsters.
Bonnaroo. (Photo: Matthew Tosh/Flickr)
Hipsters, who carefully and ironically debauchee declared boilerplate values, oftentimes allotment the alien actualization of hippies: the connected beards, the consciousness-expanding drugs, and the bounce of “popular culture” from Katy Perry to affluence cars. Yet a hipster is not the aforementioned as a hippie for he is not a bohemian, but rather, as New York Times columnist David Brooks writes in Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, a bourgeois-bohemian, or “bobo.” The hipster is able to comedy the role of the bohemian while accompanying wielding the assets of the bourgeois.
What has acquired the avant-garde abolition of the countercultural festival—and, by extension, the analytical abasement of the avant-garde counterculture movement—is not so abundant arguable badge raids or cher tickets, but the actuality that avant-garde festivalgoers absolutely acquire they are demography allotment in commodity countercultural while they are in actuality accommodating in the mainstream. Hipsters are not hippies, and to anticipate that camping for a few canicule after showers, smoker edger and bustling Molly (the accepted methylone-based drug—essentially a distilled anatomy of ecstasy), and active after responsibilities save for which artist to see abutting makes one a cultural advocate is an inherently awry beck of logic.
Although the hipster believes he is all-embracing counterculture and anti-establishment through his bounce of the mainstream, he is in actuality beneath absorbed on amusing change and added agog on accepting advanced of and ambience cultural trends—even as these trends are generally advised through capitalism. Implicit, yet nonetheless important “rules” of hipsterdom accommodate bubbler the “right” cast of beer, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon (as it was already associated with the blue-collar worker) and the accent of cutting the “right” cast of sunglasses ($200 Ray-Bans? Sure! Equally cher Persols? So gauche).
Such affliction for bogus trends and actual appurtenances is adverse to the counterculture ethos. The acumen the hipster is so adamantly pursued by corporations, brands, and bartering interests is that as an upper-middle-class, 18- to 35-year-old, he is not alone a allotment of the best adapted demographic but additionally a accommodating consumer, commodity the hippie never was.
Future Music Festival, 2013. (Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr)
At this year’s South by Southwest anniversary in Austin, Texas, or SXSW, which combines concerts with a blur antagonism and art installations, the actor Jimmy Kimmel beatific his aggregation to ask festivalgoers if they had heard of fabricated agreeable acts such as “Contact Dematitis,” “Neil Patrick Harassment,” and “DJ Heavy Flow.” Too accessible to be perceived as up on the latest agreeable trends, the interviewees responded empathically in the affirmative: “[I’ve] heard a brace songs” from DJ Heavy Flow’s album, The Toxic Shock Experience, says one girl; “I heard it, but I’m not absolutely into it,” says addition on the rap-country music of the fabulous Willie Nelson Mandela. It is absorbing and funny to watch these bodies caring so abundant about trends, about what added bodies think, and about actuality perceived as cool, but it is additionally an accessible band in the beach amid hipsters and counterculturalists.
But like abounding dying subcultures (even those who apprehend concrete books still acquire a few actual bookstores to boutique in) there may be a few aftermost bastions of achievement for the counterculturalist.
Two years ago I wondered if the countdown What the Anniversary could become this generation’s counterculture festival. This year’s accident admiring addition abiding army from the West Coast; Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco were all represented. The attendees weren’t absolutely hipsters but they weren’t absolutely hippies either: There didn’t arise to be any active amusing censor abaft the anniversary (save for conceivably eco-friendliness—e.g. composting bins, hemp milk), admiration to “drop out” of society, or apparent action to about-face bodies on to “drugs … beauty, love, honesty, [or] fun,” as the Time commodity wrote of hippies. But based on about two-dozen interviews and two years of attendance, it is bright that these festivalgoers aren’t the upper-middle-class twentysomethings attractive for a abode to prove their breach bona fides or to try new constructed drugs, as it tended to be with the attendees I batten to at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Sasquatch.
The volunteer-created Counter Ability Anniversary in Utrecht, Netherlands, and the pagan, new-age Yaga Gathering in Varena, Lithuania, additionally abide in this ambiguous space. Hippie ability may be dying, but a new subculture—a array of affliction amid hipster and hippie—may be arising.
Electric Daisy Carnival. (Photo: Jim Wall/Flickr)
Alike as Burning Man, Glastonbury, and Lightning in a Bottle acquire amorphous to accede to commercialization, and Coachella, Lollapallooza, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Firefly, and the Electric Daisy Carnival are wellsprings for hipsterdom and accumulated interests, there are some festivalgoers who are afraid to acquire apparent announcement and branding or the brain breach that exists in hipsterdom.
The catechism is whether these abreast counterculturalists can advance their character in the face of added accepted festivals area appearance skyrockets into the hundreds of thousands. For the What the Festival, the Counter Ability Festival, and the Yaga Gathering, accepting a few thousand attendees is beheld as a success. Yet all new subcultures charge alpha small. And their attendees authority able aesthetics about approaching growth.
“We’re a allotment of this affair alleged the neo-geo Renaissance,” says Kyle O’Neil, an absolute administrator from Oregon’s Lincoln Burghal Coast. “This is what’s activity on all about us: a Renaissance. There’s been abounding of them, and every distinct one of them has led with art.”
Dressed in a bubble catchbasin top, O’Neil paused to accomplishment practicing his blaze agents twirling routine. “We’re award that path.”
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