Having participated in this scene I was impressed by a few things. This is an exclusive group of what I think of as “Hipoisie.” The focus is on making money by packaging the illusion of the hippie experience, (that never was except in the romanticized memories of those who weren’t there.)
Security is provided by a group of insiders whose status ranks near the top of this hierarchical system. The vibe that surrounds these people can be experienced by watching the proceedings at any county court. The slightly remote air, sideways squint of suspicious eyes and readiness to exert personal dominance are the same as police everywhere. The only difference is that these people pretend to be hippies while they act imperiously.
The stratification of the society is most noticeable in the Gen-X participants. It seems that there is a hierarchy of pseudo-aristocratic proportions. The Springfield Creamery stall in “Energy Park” is the apotheosis of all that is hip. The children of Pranksters project an air of noblesse oblige as they smile beatifically, surrounded by a coterie of devotees absorbing the glory of the aristocratic presence, imagining themselves to be among the elect. The children of the original participants in the OCF are parents themselves, now, and, with the increased numbers of people trying to get a place to work at the fair, there is considerable political activity involved in gaining one of the coveted passes entitling the bearer to stay after security “sweeps” the fair to expel the customers.
This is what the fair is about for those working at the multitude of stalls and businesses purveying groovy hippy clothing, accouterments and food. After the punters are gone, those remaining inside the tall fence proceed to party like it’s 1969. Exotic tea ceremonies, drum circles and special musical performances take place in a world of darkness that enables lighting for artistic effect and the anonymity so crucial to a pleasant psychedelic experience.
Unfortunately, I was unable to ignore the hypocrisy upon which the enterprise is based. This is an event that is perpetuated by those for whom it is a money making opportunity. These days, the demand for a workers pass is the highest thing around. This enables the hipoisie capitalists to get needed work done for free. This is a dream for entrepreneurs, no labor costs mean higher profits.