ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

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avalok
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by avalok »

Yeah we did it a few times before the pandemic and I never felt I could relax, and the realistic worst case here was being told to move on. A couple of years ago I did a two night ride and camp locally; first night wild, second on a campsite. The experience the second night was so much nicer knowing we wouldn't be disturbed, not needing to act covertly. I agree it's not worth penny-pinching over.

AxelHeyst
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

There's a mild learning curve but in the western states camping/boondocking on public land is easy, legal, and vastly preferable to 99% of normal campgrounds.

We could easily pull off a large ERE fest on public land with a modicum of planning.

AxelHeyst
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

I really like the idea that traveling to fests is part of the experience and can be done cooperatively. Could spin up an ere caravan that travels from fest to host to fest, people joining and leaving, coming together and dissolving... maybe in a decade there's not only ERE community hubs but multiple caravans circulating NA, Europe, Asia, some sailboats...

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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2023 6:41 am
... However, it's conceivable that barriers of entry are actually a good thing: "You most be at least this skilled in improvising travel to show up". Kinda like how destination weddings ensure that only those who really want to spend the bucks show up---in this case have the skills. This could unintentionally have contributed to the vibe of the event in a good way.
To be fair, Quail Haven (the property formerly known as Ft Dirtbag) isn't the easiest place to get to. The simplest method is fly to LAX >rent a car. Other methods get more difficult quickly (public transit to the boonies exists as I outlined but it's not great). Cabs and Ubers are not a relevant option.

But my intent wasn't for there to be a barrier to entry, eg to exclude anyone, but to emphasize cooperative self sufficiency. People self organized to help each other get here. Met at the airport and carpooled in a rental etc. Asked me if they needed to being a tent or if I/anyone else had spare gear, etc. I thought of it as an opportunity for people's needs to be met at a group level rather than an individual level. But I guess your point stands: the situation was a barrier to anyone who lacked the skills *or* the instinct/inclination to ask for support.

(Naming it Ft Dirtbag, on the other hand, *was* a filter, but not because I wanted to exclude anyone. I wanted to make sure no one had false expectations that I have this place set up as a glamping resort. No sympathy for anyone who shows up to ***Ft Dirtbag*** and complains about the poop bucket/lack of AC etc. ;)

AxelHeyst
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2023 9:30 am
Not as much as a complaint as a bullet point for future events.
Heard and noted, I think it's a good point. Part of the aim of the fest/community is to support each other, develop skills, etc. Part of what I struggled with was articulating the 'cooperative self-sufficinecy' vibe I wanted. I had the abstract vision down, and some specific examples, but actually doing the thing made it clear in many more ways how to actually embody the theme. For future fests this can now be more clearly articulated for travel, eg:

# Getting Here
There are a lot of ways to get to erefest, including some you may not have thought about! Creative solutions to travel is part of the experience. Below are listed several options but the list is not exhaustive. If you're struggling to come up with a way to get to fest, post here and we'll help give you ideas/connect you with other travelers.

Etc.

Fwiw, the private /darknet channel was necessary for discussing logistics in a way that fit people's opsec.

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Jean
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by Jean »

also, there are flights to bakersfield, they were similar in price to flights to lax or vegas

Crusader
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by Crusader »

Just wanted to clear up a possible confusion: I checked in my bag with the tent. It made my ticket more expensive, but I didn't want to risk it. It depends from airline to airline and airport to airport whether a tent is allowed in carry on.

Also, Google Maps had no problems finding Quail Haven (even in offline mode, which is what I use - I always save the label/waypoint/whatever it is called in online mode, just in case).

To whoever found that Sisak festival: wow, cool! Croatia has many festivals like this, as it is a popular tourist destination, and the Adriatic coast is beautiful. (not a very cheap place to be at, though!)

guitarplayer
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by guitarplayer »

Re wild camping, yeah I would be a bit more hesitant to do it in the US because guns everywhere. Also, $12/night is half the price of a UK pitch without any hookup, for a small tent with 2 people. In Scotland, I choose wild camping at almost all times. Or in fact bothies are excellent, wish this was practiced everywhere (I know there is something similar in the Alps ETA: Of well, wikipedia has more to say about it!).

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mountainFrugal
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by mountainFrugal »

Back home after 10 days away. EREfest was great. Not sure I have much to add to what has already been said, but DW and I left energized. She is much more interested in taking on the garden permaculture project after various conversations. We stayed the rest of the week as participants gradually left. The last 2 days at Quail Haven were very quiet. Lots of time, space, and open skies for contemplating. I had two days to thumb through the Osinga book about Boyd's OODA loop framework. It felt even more relevant as there were military aircraft exercises going on overhead the last few days in the Mojave. We are looking forward to next year and all the excitement around other festivals.

7Wannabe5
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

$12/night is relatively inexpensive for a campsite east of the Mississippi. Most state park sites are closer to double that, but pitching two tents per site would usually not be a problem. Also, you can camp for free in undeveloped parts of national forests, so long as you move every 2 weeks, but not ideal for a large group.

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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:36 am
$12/night is relatively inexpensive for a campsite east of the Mississippi. Most state park sites are closer to double that, but pitching two tents per site would usually not be a problem.
The low-cost trick is in-state plus walk-in out-of-season away-from-metropolis cash payment. This avoids all the add-on fees from reserving online with a credit card which can often end up looking like a phone or electric bill. More importantly, for a meetup, you can have two non-family-members' tents on one site, which cuts the price in half.

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Jean
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by Jean »

most sites are limited to 6 people, sometimes 8, rates i've seen ranged from free to 25 per night per site, most beetween 12 an 20. That's not a lot of money when compared to the cost of food or going there.
Many parks also have group sites, which can end up even cheaper.
Beside someone owning a beatifull multiacres property inviting us all(thanks again @axelheyst) i don't see what could be better.

shaz
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by shaz »

The Rainbow Family gatherings are held on National Forest lands where there is free camping. The last one I witnessed had a thousand people, at a guess. They also had a lot of conflicts in the nearest town over things like dumpster diving and washing up using the produce misters in the grocery store, so that's a potential negative. But an ERE gathering can be expected to be much smaller, especially in early years, so less likelihood of those kinds of problems. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Gathering

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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by jacob »

All things considered, I doubt that camping fees would be the biggest barrier of entry or cost compared to "getting there" (travel) and "staying there" (bringing a tent, etc.). If nothing else, many sites offer "primitive group camping" at about half the price. This usually implies putting your tent up in a wide grassy area with no access to water or electricity but still with a few thunderboxes (open pit toilets) available.

Insofar a 2024 MidWestFest is done, it will be possible to do both. Also to stay at a nearby motel and drive in every day.

mathiverse
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by mathiverse »

jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2023 6:41 am
I've been contemplating an ERE Midwestfest ... I'm not so sure whether it's a good idea.
I would make the trip for MidwestFest if it happens.

AxelHeyst
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

shaz wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:23 pm
They also had a lot of conflicts in the nearest town over things like dumpster diving and washing up using the produce misters in the grocery store, so that's a potential negative.
That is the most creative dirtbag af move I've ever heard of, wow.

--

I had the idea of sending out a post-fest survey, but I think instead I'll just pose the question(s) here so everyone can see them. If you'd like, feel free to PM me responses.

1. Observations: What surprised you the most about your experience at EREfest? What experience or epiphany did you have that you least expected?

2. Effects/decisions/outcomes: How do you think you've changed, if at all, as a result of EREfest? In other words, what were any first or second-order effects of your engagement with EREfest? Have you made any decisions or resolutions as a result of your experience there? Any tweaks you intend to make to your WoG?

--

My answers:

1. Observations:
a) How well a nominally introverted group of diverse individuals maintained energetic and high quality conversations for an entire weekend. This was my second greatest concern, that there'd be lots of awkward silences.

b) how well the workshops went off. Next year I'm going to put extra attention to crafting good structure and clear communication about workshops, now that I have a sense of how they flow.

c) I realized that I too tightly associated 'alternative' with 'high WL'. If someone is living alt and are into ERE, chances are they're high WL. But high WL does not imply alt. I didn't realize I had this unconscious assumption. Seeing the variety of people who attended as well as spending a month with Quadalupe made me realize that high WL doesn't have to be obvious. Duh, in retrospect, because Jacob is famous for having a lifestyle that isn't performatively alt.

2. Effects:
a) I am *very* encouraged about irl EREfolk activity. Fest felt like the tip of the iceberg, like there's a large untapped potential for cool effects/outcomes of ERE people getting together and learning, doing, sharing, experiencing, building, talking, etc. (I also sense a great opportunity for EREfolk engaging with EREadjacent people in intentional as well as serendipitous ways, but what this might look like at the scale of groups/networks/communities is only abstract for now. I/we'll have to experiment our way in that direction, I think.)

b) I have a clearer sense of purpose/direction around creating events/activities/shared goals for groups of people, including but not exclusively EREfolk. I'm brainstorming other modalities for collaborating with EREfolk (caEREvans...) and I'm also brainstorming on ways to coagulate/bring together my notERE friend group. (And ways to appropriately intersect them..). In short, my aspirational 'social/community/network' node cluster has expanded, cohered, gained a sense of direction, etc.

c) My motivation for building infrastructure at Quail Haven to host more people comfortably has grown. It worked fine this time, particularly since I put effort into warning people about the primitive conditions they could expect, but I'd like to be able to not have to filter out people who aren't up for that. I'm not about to, like, install flush toilets or anything :? , but tasteful improvements can and will be made.

ertyu
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by ertyu »

re: the improvements, have you considered hosting woofers or similar?

7Wannabe5
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

You might also consider surveying forum members who didn't attend for reasons why they chose not to attend to eliminate some bias. "Conditions too primitive" might not be primary difficulty/barrier to entry. I would have assumed that distance-to-travel would have been a large factor, but that doesn't seem to have been the case, although people willing to travel more than X miles might also be more willing to travel more than 10X miles.

AxelHeyst
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by AxelHeyst »

Ertyu yes, I might try hosting on workaway next uear. Although before that I'll likely try EREaway. ;)

7 - interestingly no one closer than 400miles came. I wonder if there was an attraction based on my proximity to cool stuff people could do before and after? Several attendees were bundling erefest into longer trips involving backpacking, biking, etc. Local people wouldn't see an opportunity delta. Anyways - yes, I'm interested in reasons people didn't come as well.

(But the improvements I have in mind are homeotelic - they'd be on The List even if I weren't planning more events/fests)

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Seppia
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Re: ERE Fest 2023: Ft Dirtbag

Post by Seppia »

Sorry for the late quotes, catching up on a lot of stuff!
Jean wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2023 10:27 pm
I'm thinking about how to host one on my land or where i live.
That would be easy to reach without car, with three airport to choose from.
This is huge for all of you who love nature. Switzerland is home to possibly the best looking mountains in the world, and they are all within an hour from anywhere

AxelHeyst wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2023 9:55 pm
I wonder what the minimum viable size for a fest is? We had 20. There was some speculation that 40 would be too much, too easy to get lost in the crowd.
I’ve done many similar in concept meetings, where people share something but don’t know each other.
It was usually 1 afternoon + night and everyone left on the next morning.
10-20 is really the best number.
Less than that and people feel obliged to talk with everyone often, more than that and people don’t have the time to bond for future meetings.
jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2023 9:30 am
I think this might have been a bug rather than a feature in that this Signal/organizing activity was hidden on the darknet. I wrote off attending early on because the only apparent solution to me was a 2x5 day car ride from Chicago going back and forth, alternatively, flying with checked-in camping gear and lugging this into destinations unknown, which seemed like a relatively overwhelming problem to be solved (I don't have personal experience with this particular form of travel.). In retrospect, I would/could have flown in with a carry-on bivouac system insofar I had known about the social/technical support available.

Not as much as a complaint as a bullet point for future events.
Or you could have PMd the organizer and asked a couple questions :D

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