I called up Rogers Campground in Lancaster, NH today, and reserved a motel room, as I do each year. But this time something was different: "How about a room for me and my wife on the first floor of the lower motel?" I asked. "Sorry," said the Rogers Campground guy, "all the rooms in the lower motel are already reserved."
Whoa! I've got more than a little experience with PorcFests...and I've got a sneaking feeling that this year is gonna be a different kind of animal. We're going to take the celebration of liberty up to a way higher plane this year. For one thing, the entire campground is reserved solely for Free State Project Porcupines. That's never happened before. For another, it's highly unusual for that desirable "lower motel" to be filled up at all, much less filled up this early. Still another thing is that the FSP is charging a nominal entrance fee this year. That's no big thing, and I gladly pay it, even though it's always been free in the past. The reason that the new entrance fee is no big thing is threefold: First, it only costs $20 (if you sign up before April 30th!). Second, the Free State Project is indubitably the premier freedom movement in America, in an extraordinary time our America's history. These are very strange times. But even stranger is how fast the FSP is moving toward its ultimate goal of 20,000 signed-up participants (I have always maintained that this is a 30-to-40-year project, we have to think long-term, but the FSP has gotten halfway there in a mere 7 years). To do what the organization is doing takes money (believe it or not), and not one penny has ever been spent on "staffing." We are all volunteers. Minutemen for freedom. All the money goes to advertising, Porcupine stuff, and the two bashes that are put on each year, the winter Liberty Forum and the summertime PorcFest.
So listen to me: I'm telling you all, if you haven't been to a Free State Project Porcupine Freedom Festival and Night on the Barricades (more about that name later), you've been missing out on an extraordinary experience. It's time to sign up now. I'm responsible for starting the thing. Way back in July and August 2003 we had the vote to choose the Free State (preceded by a couple of years of raucous wrangling online). Then on October 1st we announced the result of the vote and held a press conference in New York City. Oh man. Those were heady times, but not half as exciting as when the FSP hit the halfway mark just over a month ago with 10,000 signed up participants).
But back to the PorcFest. Everyone, but everyone, in the FSP leadership was totally exhausted by the time we had held the vote, tallied the results, and announced the results in New York City in late 2003. We were tired. But I said, "Hey, come on, now that we've picked New Hampshire, it's time to throw a party in the Free State. Let's all get bombed!" Well. That went over like a lead balloon, given our state of exhaustion. So I said (metaphorically, of course) "Ta hell with all a ya! The grassroots'll get it done!" And we did. I gathered together a bunch of activists into an email list, and we set it up for four days in June 2004 at Rogers Campground (a venue where New Hampshire partisans had previously held a "take-a-look-at-us!" party in a successful bid to sway the ultimate vote for the Free State). I gave it a name that first year: The First Annual Free State Project Porcupine Freedom Festival and Night on the Barricades. That last part of the name has fallen into disuse, but I always liked it because it gave part of the flavor of what the party was to be like (let's face it: Freedom is raucous; that's the way it's supposed to be, and as for the last part of the name, all you John Steinbeck readers who remember reading Cannery Row will know from whence the reference comes). A ton of "PorcFest Newsletters" and "PorcFest Criers" followed for that year and a couple of years after. Great fun. (One set included the beginning of a science fiction novel set in the Free State 100 years in the future, featuring Jason Sorens and his wife Mary meeting with Free State secret agents and interacting with a sentient computer, in a dystopian future America that you won't want to live in except for New Hampshire...but that's entirely another story...). At that first PorcFest I remember mercilessly harassing one Porcupine at the "Circle of Liberty" (the precurser to today's PorcFest Idol competition). Heh. A few years later he was the first Freestater to be elected to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives...where he still holds a seat to this day.
But enough reminiscing. Back then we devoutly hoped that as many as 300 liberty activists would attend that first PorcFest. They did. But it was nothing compared to what's coming up at Rogers Campground in two months, starting on June 24th (the exact same day of the month that the first PorcFest started, by the way). This PorcFest is going to be something extraordinary. This PorcFest is not to be missed. This PorcFest is coming on like a giant beast, slouching toward freedom, culminating in a humongous burst of liberty. I can feel it coming on. This may well turn out to be the largest gathering of freedom-lovers and liberty-activists in the world in 2010.
So sign up now, get your campground reservations, and book your flight to Manchester in the Free State now! It will be a most excellent and calamitous affair, Where gentlemen in the world now a-bed, Shall think themselves accursed they were not there, And hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, That found themselves there upon the PorcFest's day!