Views From Within

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Thousands Gather For Rainbow Family in Arkansas

Posted by jeremiasx on June 24, 2007


Rainbow Family Camped In Fallsville, AR Through July…here is a MAP to the campsite.

(reposted in entirety courtesy of the Harrison Daily Times…lampoons in bolds are my commentary, unless otherwise noted…)

FALLSVILLE – If you have a bellybutton (I do!) you could be a member of the Rainbow Family. Members of the group are camped in the Ozark National Forest near Fallsville for their annual gathering and they say all people are welcome in the Family. (or at least those with belly buttons…innies or outies…it’s cool)
Although rumors abound in Newton County about habits of drug and alcohol use (quit it!) and abuse (is all use abuse?) , civil disobedience (damn skippy) and public nudity (woohoo!), an unofficial spokesman for the group said most members of the Family have only one goal: peace. And almost no one will disagree with that (who has a shred of moral fiber in their soul) But not everyone agrees either.(most notably, the current administration in our countries and their red-state diehard neocon dimwitted drooling fanatics)

Warriors of the Rainbow (original emphasis)
The Rainbow Family has a Web site,, but it’s called “unofficial.”
“It is longstanding Rainbow Family consensus that nobody has ever, or ever will represent the Rainbow Family,” the site says. (We don’t talk about fight club.)
The site continues by saying the Rainbow Family is the “largest non-organization of non-members in the world,” and that members are “into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles.”
Many of their traditions are based on Native American traditions and members have committed themselves to caring for the planet.
“We also believe that peace and love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world,” the Web site proclaims. (Undoubtedly…)
The Family gathers annually in a national forest to pray for peace, the site says, but it also quotes a Native American prophecy that states:
“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow.”
‘They’re just doing routine stops’ (original emphasis)
Rainbow Family members began arriving in the Ozark National Forest within the last few days. Wednesday, a Daily Times reporter went to where they were camped.
Numerous (a shit-ton) law enforcement officials stood by on Highway 16/21 outside Fallsville and for miles in either direction to make sure everything was going well, officials said.
Denise Ottaviano, U.S. Forest Service information officer out of Albuquerque, N.M., spoke to the Daily Times from Fort Smith where she is stationed during the Rainbow gathering. (just think of her as your local Ranger Dana Perino)
She said Rainbow events often attract as many as 10,000 to 25,000 members from all parts of the country.
Those members can have “a large impact” on the forest and surrounding communities, she said. (notably not mentioning the larger impact of thousands of acres of controlled burns in the county, and the ever popular local sport *and honest living, it cuts both ways* of slinging mini-logs at top speed onto a truck) So, the Forest Service developed the National Incident Management Team (NIMT) to “manage the impacts of Rainbow Family national gatherings,” a press release said. (These are your tax dollars at work.)
Ottaviano said officers come from all over the country to follow Rainbow Family gatherings. (They’re like groupies too, man…but they, like…bust you. Uncool.)
Drivers in the area are stopped often, (everyone is stopped and searched, it’s a roadblock manned by constant teams of Forestry Feds and our County boys who are putting in large amounts of overtime, on our tax dollars) especially ones who drive on or off the Forest Service road that leads the two miles to the main camping area. (if you’re driving in, this is the only way to go…DUH.)
Drivers who ask why they were stopped are told that officers are making sure everything is all right (it was till you stopped me without any reasonable cause of suspicion and then took out all the luggage, made the baby cry, scared us half to death and tried to bully us into an unlawful search and seizure, sir…duh) and to make sure law enforcement officers aren’t under surveillance themselves. (SCRREEEECHHHH…HALT. FULL STOP…WTF MATE…to make sure that “law enforcement officers aren’t under surveillance themselves? Did I JUST post about this??? Is there a law against surveilling and reporting upon the public duties of law enforcement??? When did that become a CRIME? OK let us continue.)
“They’re just doing routine stops,” Ottaviano said, adding that officers are making sure all attendees are safe (it’s always about safety…our safety…isn’t it Ranger Perino?) and for general public safety.
Some (most, most likely) officers have dogs trained to search for drugs (false positives, anyone?), she said.
Wednesday, at the beginning of the road to the campsite, a young man sat on the side of the highway while a Forest Service officer talked to him and another videotaped the scene. (They are videotaping you…but you can’t videotape them…unless there was a typo in the article earlier…I’m writing the author to ask him about this…or possibly calling Monday. I want to know if they are making this a national issue. We can make it one, for sure.)
Just ahead, three other young people stood beside a vehicle with New Jersey license plates talking with two more officers and a third officer searched baggage apparently pulled from the car. (Your bags, sir…THUMP…CRASH…)
An officer on the scene Wednesday afternoon said one reason for such tight security is because the “Rainbows” hadn’t secured a permit from the government to hold a large gathering of people on public land. (It’s all about the MONEY AND THE POWER, ISN’T IT…spontaneous freedom erupting around you is a pain in your collective asses isn’t it?)
Ottaviano confirmed that, saying groups of 75 or more are required to secure a permit for a gathering of any kind so Forestry officials can help them find a proper campsite while not disturbing “archaeological sites.” (uh…huh? if there is an archeological site at your campground…shouldn’t it be marked? or is this all speculative bullshit to try to come up with a special reason to waste more of our federal tax dollars?)
But the Rainbows, “as is customary,” haven’t gotten such a permit, Ottaviano said, although Forestry officials are still trying to work with them on locations.
But it might be too late.
‘It’s a workshop’ (original emphasis)
Rain had been falling at Fallsville for a couple of days (must have rain for Buffalo and to quench the land’s mighty thirst…sorry guys) and more than a hundred Rainbows were already setting up camp this week struggling through mud and standing water. (dedicated…)
Pitching tents and warming food over campfires, most of the Rainbows declined to be photographed due to the mud and muck. One man named Val said the pictures wouldn’t translate well. (I will get pictures for you in upcoming blogs as I intend to cover the story extensively…quite possibly a little more in depth than this article)
But Val was willing to talk about the Family.
For one thing, Val explained that the Family isn’t just one large group. He said members of like-minded groups comprise what is collectively known as the Rainbow Family.
What they share in common is being outcasts in the cities (and to some in the countryside as well, judging what I’ve heard from some highly opinionated locals), as well as a love of nature, acting as “stewards of the woods,” he said.
They come from all walks of life. Some are addicts coming to get away from the temptations that might cause them to use. (ok we must be only talking about the hard schtuff here cause you aren’t going to get AWAY from drugs by going to this gathering…lol…) Some are seeking spirituality. (as well we all should)
Val, who also studies sociology and is a woodworker, said, “I don’t know why most of them come.” (does it REALLY matter? of course… )
But he continued by explaining the main purpose is to pray for peace. The actual gathering is July 1-7, with the main day of prayer set for July 4. On that morning, he said, the entire camp will be silent as members pray.
The remainder of the time will be spent studying nature. They will have a chance to use woodland experts to explain what is growing in the woods can and can’t be eaten. There will be other people studying spirituality and any other matters that surround such a topic.
“It’s a lesson,” Val said. “It’s a workshop.”
Some people have estimated as many as 25,000 Rainbows might attend. Val calls that unrealistic and puts the estimate closer to 7,000 at most, 5,000 at least.
Val said some people think the Family is gathering to relive the flower power days of the 1960s, but that’s not the case. (kind of…)
He pointed out that many of those attending were young, born in the late ’70s or early ’80s, and were bringing their children with them. (pioneer days doesn’t distance itself from the cowboys…why should the peace/love/light movement distance itself from it’s ancestors/heritage??? be real about this and don’t deny it, folks…it only makes you look ineffectual and waffle-y)
Some of the men have long hair and beards, while others are clean shaven and have short hair. Dread locks are popular among both men and women. Many carry guitars, violins or musical instruments of other kinds. (OOOH I so hope that someone has a cello out there….most likely not though…)
But not all of them are young.
Ed “Dogman” Slook of Taos, N.M., had just arrived at the campsite Wednesday afternoon. He explained that he went on his first peace march in Washington, D.C., as the war in Vietnam raged.
He said the Family is almost exclusively peaceful. But even at that, there are some members, as in any large group, that come to the gathering for other reasons.
For instance, “Camp A” is largely segregated from the main group. Those people, he said, are the drinkers among the Family and they stay where they are.
But the rumors surrounding the gathering are a partial concern to Family members and law enforcement as well.
Isolated incidents
Some people have said Rainbows are known for raiding gardens and stealing and slaughtering cattle for food. But the Forest Service’s Ottaviano says that’s not accurate. (they are dopers, nudists, and didn’t give us our money for a permit…but they aren’t going to raid your tomatoe patch…settle down locals…seriously)
Ottaviano did say there are isolated incidents with certain Rainbows when they interact with local residents. (OH NO…INTERACTION!!!)
She said there is a vast cultural difference between many of the Rainbows and other people, so some confrontations can occur.
In addition, there have been some isolated incidents of loitering or trespassing, but they aren’t that common. (at least…not commonly reported on yet…but I have heard serious and credible rumors of a massive campaign of ticketing for hitchhiking and loitering in Jasper proper)
Val said there is an alleged incident from a 1984 Rainbow gathering in which one of the Family members got into an altercation with people in a grocery store. The Rainbow was accused of urinating on the fresh produce in the store. (Is this there favorite tactic or WHAT? The authorities and spin masters are both fascinated and horrified by “the power’ of URINE. I’m convinced of it. G. Gordon Liddy paying people to piss in hotel lobbies to discredit the Vietnam peace protestors? Anyone? Anyone? Some things never change apparently.)
Val said he isn’t even sure that happened, but it’s one of the incidents authorities bring up to locals every time the Family gathers.
He said one high-ranking law enforcement official from Washington, D.C., visited a community where the Rainbows were set to gather and told the people there they should lock up their doors and hide their children. (Was it Cheney?)
Val said that was totally inaccurate, but it’s the kind of thing that follows the Rainbows wherever they go. (Well if it was the big DICK Cheney…it WAS probably inaccurate…so we’ll go with Dick Cheney FTW.) [for the win]
Still, not everyone is scared to have the Rainbow Family around.
‘They don’t understand them’ (original emphasis)
Elizabeth Moak lives at Fallsville. She said the Family hasn’t been any trouble for her.
“I’m enjoying watching them go by,” Moak said. “Some of the buses are artwork.”
Some of the Rainbows stop and ask for directions and have been easy to get along with. (every one I’ve encountered has been more generally congenial than I can say for many of the LOCALS…and this is after a year of personal observation…but don’t get me wrong…many of my favorite folks in the world are from here or live here currently, my own family included)
“I haven’t seen any of them who are rude or anything,” Moak said.
What she fears is that there might be trouble with local people who might want to start trouble with the Rainbows. (NCSO)
She said a group of loggers came into the Fallsville store one day last week when it was raining and they couldn’t work.
One of the loggers said something vulgar to a group of Rainbows sitting together. The Rainbows all stood together, although they made no threatening gestures and the logger took notice. (I’m sorry, but I just have this vision of a tie-dyed Village of the Damned scene…it’s kinda funny and creepy at the same time)
“And he left,” Moak said. (I would have too. LOL)
Added law enforcement presence doesn’t bother Moak either.
(deep…deep inside she really secretly believe that they are coming for her veggies late at night…lol j/k)
She said one woman was complaining that she didn’t dare carry her customary cooler of beer in her pickup to drink while she was driving because she was afraid of getting stopped. And she could no longer let her 5-year-old daughter ride in the bed of the truck. (This is Newton County. Nuff said.)
Moak also said the people who drive vehicles without license plate or those who have suspended driver’s licenses are now getting rides from other people or allowing someone else to drive. (I know someone who got one of these lovely tickets just today…from teh Ranger Squad…)
She also said she knows of one individual who has taken to walking everywhere by going through the woods, not on the highway. (Come and see how oppressive the powers are that be when good and ordinary folks are compelled not to travel on the highways or biways for fear of “official treachery”…)
Moak admits there are people around the area who don’t welcome the Rainbows, but she has a couple of ideas on that subject.
For instance, many locals go to the forest where the Rainbows are camped to “drink and party,” so there could be some animosity there. (This is a dry county, and the old and wrinkled ones who made it this way and their pets in the pulpit will keep it so as long as humanly possible…)
In addition, “because they are hippies and a lot of people are scared of them,” there is automatic suspicion, Moak said.
And some people could mistake the Rainbows for “tree huggers” or environmentalists that are coming to the area to disrupt the logging industry or disturb the local way of life. (Nope…Al Gore won’t be stopping by.)
“I think it’s that they don’t understand them and they’re expecting trouble,” Moak said. “But I am really enjoying them.”
Shirley Sims is owner/proprietor of the store at Compton. She said some of the Rainbows had been passing through and had stopped.
“The one’s that were here were nice,” Sims said. (and gave her business, thus contributing to the local economy and probably increasing her profits astronomically for the day…this is the Compton General Store, and we ain’t talking South Central LA here.)
Emma Griffith was at the store last Wednesday. She said one young man was extremely polite when he came through.
“And he rode his bicycle all the way from Kansas to get here,” Griffith said.
Sims said she expects no trouble out of the gathering.
“I feel like the Sheriff’s Office is going to take care of us,” she said. (this is a nice way of the local business association, though unorganized and unofficial like the Rainbows themselves, saying…HEY Sheriff SLAPE…let us make some money off this deal dude)
‘Taking all precautions’ (original emphasis)
Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said his department is working with the Forest Service to patrol the area as much as possible.
And, given Fallsville’s location near the border of both Johnson and Madison counties, those two departments are helping out as well. (More roadblocks, probably.)
He said they will soon set up a command post near the forest and man it 24 hours a day, adding that his officers probably will be able to work all the overtime they want. (YEEHAW…let’s drain those treasuries and try to refill them with ticket revenue…I bet they can pull off that budget balancing trick…or can they? We’ll do more research into this.)
Slape admits there hasn’t been much trouble out of the Rainbows.
“Right now, there’s been some isolated incidents, but we’re trying to safeguard to keep anything from happening,” Slape said. “We’re just taking all precautions.”
Slape said that although there are three individual camps that authorities keep an eye on, he thinks it should be fairly peaceful.
“The majority of them are good people,” Slape said. (Well Sheriff, most folks are good people.)

-original article written by James L. White


42 Responses to “Thousands Gather For Rainbow Family in Arkansas”

  1. David said

    Being from the Fallsville area I went to the Rainbow gathering just to see what all the hub-bub was about. I met some very nice, extremely polite and mostly well behaved people. They called themselves Rainbows. I also met some or the rudest, smart mouth, and just plain mean people I’ve had the displeasure to meet. Gee can you believe they were the ones wearing badges? Just so you know I’m in my 50’s clean cut and obviously a local by all appearances. I was driving my pickup and had my wife with me.
    The Rainbows are welcome in my neighborhood any time as long as they can figure out how to leave those fancy imported police at home. (The local forest service people were very nice and helpful and did apologize for the behavior of their imported brethren)

  2. jeremiasx said

    Way to go Dave…thanks for speaking out. I look forward to input from locals, the forestry service, and the rainbows themselves in my quest to bring a better perspective to the issue than was given by the local media. Their report ALMOST appeared unbiased…but not really. Let’s not kid ourselves here…

  3. Kimberly said

    Thanks for the post! Being a corporate sell-out, I’m only getting one – maybe two – days off to head up to the Gathering… but I am definately there! We’ll leave Little Rock on Tuesday afternoon and will be at camp for the 4th if nothing else. We’re bringing a brother we met downtown who was at some of the early Gatherings ~ I’m most excited about that part!

  4. jeremiasx said

    Great…hope to see you there.

  5. Ivars Balkits said

    Overall the article gives a fair shake to the Family. It’s important that Val got to state and have published how the Forest Service depicted the Family to local media and governments in the past — deliberately misleading them and deliberately alarming local citizens. Keep your eyes open and expect more of that propaganda.

  6. Anonymous said

    The Hailstone will be polluted for the next year

  7. Heather said

    Great posts! I love the comments that you added to the news article, laughed a lot. Thanks for the stories, call for accountability w/ the LEOs, & updates. Just so all reading these blogs to learn about rainbow family are aware, just because a person attends the gatherings does not mean they use substances. Drugs get a lot of public attention from the media. Rainbow is made up of all types of people from all walks of life. A lot of us do not use substances. In fact, my friend and I are bringing are two teen boys so they can experience the group work, respect, and what goes into caring for all attendees that takes place at a gathering. Call it a summer-school road trip in social studies.
    It sounds like a lot of people are being pulled over & searched. However your blogs speak of people coming and going, so it can’t be too bad. Or is it? Will you keep posting updates for those of us on our way Home? Thanks & peace!

  8. jeremiasx said

    Thanks Heather…the roadblocks have been down since the day I sent the letter to Ms. Ottaviano and advised her of the probable unconstitutional method in which they were being applied to the situation. I don’t know if my letter had that impact alone or if there are other factors. I hope they have seen the error of their ways and will lighten up.

    You can get in and out of the festival without many problems…as more people arrive, the cops have backed off quite a bit. Make sure when you park that you get all wheels off the dirt road leading down to the site. They are heavily enforcing some strange ordinance that allows them to tow a vehicle for having even an INCH of a tire “blocking a public thoroughfare.” Nice, eh?

    Anyhow, have a safe trip and hope to see you there.

  9. jeremiasx said

    Oh, and by the way…I’m posting on this just about every day so make sure you check out my other ones as well for further info.

  10. larrt efurd said

    watch out for the forest service ,since they are no making no money off of the rainbow fest ,they will try other ways to make money.if this was a gathering of logging companys or gas drilling companys they could run a bulldozer thru there,no problem.

  11. resident of johnson county said

    first of all im all about freedom of speech, assembly, peace, love and all that goes with it, in these things im behind the rainbow folks 100%, BUT being a business owner in johnson county i have seen many of the rainbows come in my store in the past week, and ive seen a fair percentage of them try to and several times succeed in stealing, im sure these thieves represent a very small percentage of your group but its this segment that is giving your group a bad reputation, maybe your group should discuss this with your members, frankly im sick of dealing with having to watch some of your group like a hawk when they come in, i guess ill have to ban all rainbows from coming in because of the few bad apples in your group

  12. jeremiasx said

    Johnson County: Imagine an unofficial and unsanctioned NASCAR race was being held in Newton County…out of the thousands who would show up…many would be thieves, drunks, liars, and cheats. In a group that is so large, even though the group as a whole frowns heavily upon the act of stealing…they can not control the actions of any handful of members. I am not a member of the Rainbow Family, by the way, other than in the spirit that I am a brother to anyone who would have me as one, and that includes you as well. I appreciate your comment and I’ll be doing a post next about the negative impacts that have been seen thusfar as a tribute to “fair and balanced” media coverage of the event.

  13. resident of johnson county said

    i appreciate your comment, like i said i totally support the spirit of what the rainbows are trying to do, but it does seem that some are anti-establishment, which im sure is how im perceived as a business owner, all im doing is supporting myself and my family, people need to take personal responsiblity for their actions, it would be great to live in a world of love and peace , a utopia , but that isnt reality.

  14. Heather said

    resident of johnson: I hear what you are syaing, completely. However, what jeremiasx said is true. You are currently seeing the first few breezes of people arriving for the gathering. Come the 1st – 3rd you will see thousands arrive. A majority of us have money .. we need to purchase food, gas, water, toilet paper, candy, cigarettes, and the like. Time after time I have seen community businesses that treat us well (respect, kindness, honesty and the like) make BIG money. Scroll down the website:
    and there you will find links to news articles regarding the effect on past gathering location communities. The One titled Recap from PA speaks of the $$ placed into the community.
    A personal story: at the Michigan gathering several nearby local businesses opened their doors. One was a fabulous , tiny down-home burger shop. My kids and I decided to have one last splurge before entering the gathering & stopped in. The shop had a line waiting to get in, while we were there the line remained steady (people coming in / leaving / more arriving). A young rainbow couple near by us left, they ate what was likely $15.00 in food and left a $10.00 tip fopr the waitress , she had been kind and Genuine. We also left a $10.00 tip, for the same reasons. Now, of course many rainbow gatherers do not have the $$. My point is that if I do have it & I see a local business treat a fellow rainbow with respect & kindness .. especially when she / he has dreaded hair, worn clothing, beads in the hair, looking like they spent time on the road or in the woods … the unusual in many small communities … I will treat that business with kindness by shopping there, tipping well, etc. Despite what propoganda is spread, we are for the main stay a loving, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate people.
    Anyway, do what you will however, kindness & love go far further than fear.
    Loving you

  15. Anonymous said

    The massive amounts of people will pollute this area, period.

  16. jeremiasx said

    Anon: Massive amounts of people (many more than what is at the Rainbow Festival) camp at national forests every DAY. What makes you think the Rainbows will do more harm than is already being done by millions of park patrons each year? In fact, I think the Rainbows from what I’ve seen personally do a much BETTER job than your average “tourist” in cleaning up their sites and respecting nature. Sorry, I don’t agree.

  17. Anonymous said

    Tourists rarely camp near Dixon Road. 5-10,000 people defacating in the woods, thats what. This area is sacred to me. I support the expressed values of the Rainbows, but they do their thing regardless of the impact. If you cannot see the enormous footprint that will be left, I have to question your knowledge of our ecosystems. Remember, this is the headwaters to the Buffalo River!

  18. Kimberly said

    if you scroll to the bottom of the page at this link (
    there are several articles about the response of the forestry service and others regarding the clean-up and long-term effects of the gatherings. the family members who stay around after the gathering work very hard to return everything to a state in which the land can heal itself. our ecosystems are stronger than we are giving them credit for, when we continue to treat them with care.

  19. resident of johnson county said

    i have to agree with anonymous, ive lived in this area all my life and that part of the mountains is virtually untouched by humans, it is truly a wilderness area and it will be impossible for this area to be back to normal in a year. i think the idea of the gathering is great, less the bad small segment it attracts, and as far as my customers i treat them with the utmost of respect, however those that disrupt my livelihood are not welcome.

  20. Q said

    The Rainbow people interest me. Can anyone go in?

  21. jeremiasx said

    Anon: Animals defecate in the woods every day. By the millions. (And that’s just in the area we are speaking of.) The Rainbows are not going in the river or anything crazy like that…they have established clear guidelines for waste disposal which are as typical as any that would be used by large groups of encamped people. I don’t think we are in danger of seeing pollution on the level of the Yangtze in China or the Indus in Bombay…I’m just not understanding where you are coming from, quite honestly. Fear of poo?

    Johnson: Indeed there will be an impact. The woods will be fine though. They were here long before us and they will be here long after we are gone. We might notice a difference for a year or two, though. I’ll try to follow up on that aspect.

    Q: Anyone is welcome to attend the festival, and there is no charge for admission so don’t let any unscrupulous kids try to hustle you for parking or entry money. Rumor has it that people have done that before to unsuspecting visitors. I personally haven’t witnessed it though.

  22. riverwolf said

    lisa and i pulled into the peace festival yesterday and were watching a few younger folk lighty harrassing a guy who was wearing green shirt and trousers…they seemed to be on their
    own little mission and were going around to some of the other attendees
    and eventually two of their little group came over by us and were saying to watch out for that guy because he is
    an undercover police or some similar affiliate then went on their way still
    announcing their worry or whatever, anyway it was pretty interesting to see that he didnt really even appear to
    be anything out of the ordinary except that he was wearing green clothes but he did seem to be looking around at others just taking it all in if you ask
    me….anyway we just saw him again this morning and watching in amazement as he was parking his truck with his lady by his side and 3 kids in the back
    i think theres a moral in there somewhere.

  23. jeremiasx said

    Paranoia…CHA CHA CHA!!!

  24. scott said

    All these people will have a negative impact on the Hailstone that will not soon be resolved. Your latrines and campsites will damage our environment for months to come. Our tax dollars are being wasted on you people to police your unwanted presence and you complain about it even though it is a necessity. We don’t want you here and no one wants you anywhere you go. Get a job and quit sponging off society and claiming it is for the good of mankind. All the karma in the world wont make up for your impact on our land.

  25. Wildman said

    I’m a Johnson County resident from just outside Clarksville. I am not normal or average, but I can see it from here. I have a job & a good life and am all about “live & let live.” I believe in exercising one’s freedoms, but from what I saw at the gathering last Thursday, 06-28, the bulk of those attendees were “off the chart” bizarre.I’m cool with strange haircuts, tattoos, weird clothing,& the freedom to ingest or smoke whatever chemicals one desires, etc. I don’t do that, but I think each persons body is their own. The most distracting thing to me was the “zero hygiene” thing that seemed to be going on. Someone pissing on a campfire would have made most of those around it smell better. What’s that about? Cleanliness is paramount to good health & lack of it imposes on others senses. Being just plain nasty won’t help Rainbow hitchhikers get a ride or help them to be taken seriously either. The organization should declare a new RAP. How about RAP 123, “Wash your ass.” On the other hand, most Rainbows who bothered to speak to me(about 5%) were nice & polite although some were rude and adversarial questioning why I was there.
    I expected to see way more non-homeless, non-runaway, non-carnie types though. Where were the educated people? Did they skip this gathering or are any of them actual attendees?
    Don’t get me wrong though. The asshole cops were way more annoying. They were doing their best to be as much a nuisance as possible.Most of those gov’t slackers were doing what gov’t slackers do. They were standing around shooting the breeze with each other waiting on shift change instead of doing their fucking jobs. They were blocking the roadway making it as long a walk as possible for everyone.
    I saw lots of classic USFS bullshit too. “The Don’t Park on the Poison Ivy” program was in full swing. Those morons pick & choose what is “environmentally important” daily with no consistency. I read on the internet that this gathering was budgeted to cost the government $750K. I believe that they will spend that because they are wasteful & inefficient. They will burn the money in an ashtray before they concede their budget could be cut by 70%.
    Anyway, I’d like to say that if the gathering is actually cleaned up after I suspect it will have no long term effects on the land. Vegetation grows back and the ticks & chiggers needed the food. Six tons of buried shit will ultimately fertilize the land anyway. Take your plastic, paper, metal, & such with you when you go & I’ll not oppose your right to gather.
    Peace Brother! Wildman

    PS World Peace is a great aspiration, but will remain a pipe dream forever. I suggest picking a more achievable goal.

  26. Anonymous said

    Thank You for the forum! I think its good for folks to have a place to discuss these kind of topics. Although we will have to agree to disagree on the “poo”. Have a nice weekend.

  27. as a curious local i went to the gathering to experience a different culture. what i saw was definately a whole new world right in our back yard. there are so many different people from so many places ive never been to. the vibe is definately laid back and peace and love and healing the earth are the main topics in most of the camps we stopped at. the people we talked to were all very memorable in there own ways. it is very educational to be exposed to people so culturally different than the residents of this area. i hope i get a chence to go back again before they leave. im sure more & more interesting folks will be showing up from now until the 4th. love the cool laid-back atmosphere. these rainbow folks are nothing but love and acceptance and they are very pleasant to be around. too bad it has rained so much on the camps. what a mess!

  28. Ken said

    Very interesting thread. First off, let me say that the spirit of the Rainbow Family Gathering is a spiritual gem of the human race at this point in time, and should be nourished. I have never been, but the gathering was spoken of in almost mystical terms by close friends of mine long ago, as we searched hard for truth. The chance for so many like-minded human beings, with such a different vision for human beings living their lives on this planet, is something to cherish. Now for the downside. I’m a trained ecologist. I’m saying that not to aggrandize my own ego, but to point out that there are some technical issues with the gatherings’ effects on the environment, that also have some spiritual implications. First, there is no way that putting this many people in a forest is not going to have some significant medium-term, or maybe even long-term, negative ecological impacts. That might be ok if there were only a few million of us scattered across the face of the planet, but that is not the case. The places where the gatherings are held are remnant lightly-impacted scraps of ecosystems. They need to be protected because they are all that is left of the healthy ecosystems on this planet. The understory vegetation where the gatherings are held is heavily damaged. Depending on the location, this can require from several years to several decades to recover. Some midstory and overstory vegetation is also undoubtedly damaged, but hopefully this is minor. Soil is compacted and this can also have medium to long-term negative impacts. Any wildlife in the area that are intolerant of human disturbance can be seriously negatively affected. Due to ground disturbance, erosion is increased, leading to soil loss and degraded water quality. Clear headwater streams can be seriously impacted, with stream habitats degraded for long periods of time. Finally, the practice of large numbers of human beings defecating into shallow holes in the ground, almost certainly contaminates surface and ground water with human fecal pathogens and parasites, for quite some time. This represents a significant human health risk. Now I realize that the Rainbow Family has adopted procedures to address some of these impacts- reseeding the ground for example. And the digging of latrines probably does reduce the potential impact of tens of thousands of people defecating randomly on the soil surface across a relatively concentrated portion of the landscape. But the remaining impacts are real. The Gatherings degrade the environment. The Rainbows are responsible for this degradation. There is a spiritual consideration in this responsibility. I recommend that the Rainbow Family consider ways to minimize or eliminate this environmental degradation, either by holding the gatherings in settings that will result in much less environmental damage (in other words, places that are already degraded and have sanitary facilities for the protection of public health), or by much more significant environmental protection and restoration measures. Either of these will cost money. More intelligence, less spontanaity (e.g. more planning), and a fuller magic hat will be required to make the gatherings touch the land more lightly.

  29. ForestZen said

    My wife, two kids and I travelled to the gathering in Colorado last year from Alberta. It took us three days of driving in the minivan – the kids needed plenty of stops – and along the way we ate, stayed in motels and hotels and took in a few attractions. Sure the MasterCard took a beating, but it was well worth it. We feel very fortunate in that we saw some fantastic country on the way there and back and met some fine, hard-working folks and were very happy to support their businesses.

    We are both school teachers and are, by no means, what you may think of as stereotypical “hippie types.” From reading the article there seems to be similar rhetoric coming from some of those in authority that we heard last year. I urge anyone who is remotely interested to take a trip to the site to see for themselves what this is all about. Talk with the law enforcement people. Talk with the rainbow family folk. And perhaps, more importantly listen to everyone with respect. From there form your opinions on the issues and the people. Do not base them on news reports or other filtered viewpoints.

    My wife is in no hurry to go to another gathering. I certainly would go again. And my seven year old daughter would try it again – as long as she didn’t have to walk quite as far to get to the kid’s camp. I’m pretty sure the four year old would be willing to go again just to be able to try all the different types of food.

    If it wasn’t for the gathering we would not have gone all that way last summer. And we wouldn’t have spent all that money getting there and back. We would have missed seeing the astonishingly beautiful country between here and there. And we would have missed out on meeting some really great people – along the way as well as at the gathering. It was certainly a worthwhile adventure.


    I lived on the west coast for 30 years i am 50 now and have been to some 40 rainbow gatherings regonal and yearly and have the misfortune of living in arkansa now.I e-mailed the family as soon as they said where it was going to be here.And told them are you nuts clarkville exit has a state nazi police barracks.These militant bible thumpin meth peddlin pigs are the worst i have ever seen anywhere.Now if it was a country music festival full of drunk meth addicts these nazi pigs would be right in there partying with them.I wish all well to my brothers and sisters in the family but i know many have hardships ahead due to these nazi pigs.

  31. bodhi said

    For years the U.S. Government has performed secret biowarfare tests on the Rainbow Family of Living Light without our permission.
    During the ’81 Annual in Washington State an outbreak of a very rare strain of East Asian Shingella caused thousands of our Family to become violently ill. So rare in fact is this strain of East Asian Shingella that there has not been a reported case in the U.S. before and since!

    Now it’s bacterial Meningitis at the Gathering..hmmmmmm

    The time has come to inform the Government that they must end
    their secret experimentation on the Rainbow Family with immune-weaking pathogens such as Mycoplasma (the cause of the outbreak of the Meningitis in Arkansas), “stealth-adaptation” Cytomegalovirus (SCMV), Prions, Magnetotacticum (Fe304) bacterium, Extreme Low Freqency (ELF) transmission, Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR), pulse fields, square waves, and DC fields. Or anything below 10 Hz that can disrupt normal
    neurophysiological processes.


  32. Dude said

    I don’t guess the meningitis could be caused by the incredibly filthy conditions of both the gathering site & the majority of the people there? Ever occur to you that there is no conspiracy and it all boils down to what Wildman said above about the zero hygiene program you guys have going?
    Confucious say, “When you live like a dog having fleas is not uncommon.” Try that RAP 123. It may not cure meningitis, but it’ll definitely cure that rash.


  33. Morgan said

    I also attended the Rainbow Family Gathering last year in Colorado. I went out of curiosity and to see if I would run into anyone I knew. It was a good experience for me because it reminded me of why I liked hippies (I could be considered one once upon a time). I had forgotten about their irreverence and sense of humor, along with their definite ethical compass. I no longer connect, politically, with most of the attendees, but our discussions were open, civil, and usually ended in laughter.

    However, I was stunned by the law enforcement situation. Please don’t try to blame this on the current administration. The specific federal group dedicated to harassing the Rainbow Family has been in place since the earliest gatherings ((80’s at least). The elders of the Rainbow Family are on a first name basis with the head cops! And not congenially. I got the feeling this is a renegade police force that has been forgotten by the boys in Washington. Their tactics are always the same: try to disrupt the gathering before it starts, harass the early arrivals, feed the local media with bogus horror stories, etc. And they have a huge budget! Definitely a case of a self serving federal agency out of control. And they have been for decades. The Clintons didn’t do anything about it.

    The only thing I have to say in their favor is that they are a major reason the gathering has persevered. I believe if the federal government would have ignored the Rainbow Family, it would not be as successful as it is today. Adversity is a wonderful way to create strength. Especially when it is bullsh*t.

  34. Anonymous said

    Meningitis? Hhmmmmmm, I told you!

  35. Anonymous said

    July 8th. RAINBOW UPDATE. Current info about the gathering from some of the forest service folks who have been there.

    “They have been coordinating the incident team for the Rainbow gathering for the last two weeks and visiting the site daily. Their job was to act as a go between for the Rainbows and the law enforcement division of the Forest Service. Here is the bottom line of what they saw the last two weeks:

    Most people are nice with a few trouble makers, like you find in most groups.

    They reported the area as of today is a filthy mud pit due to the recent rains. They tested the water at the river crossing recently and said that bacteria and E-coli readings were off the chart. They also said the place was overrun with dogs and Parvo was a problem also.

    As of late today there are still about 500 rainbows in the area, most are leaving but they said some will hang around until the next regional gathering in Pennsylvania later in the month.

    As suspected, many cases of poison ivy, ticks, chiggers, and a few snake bites. They heard a lot of grumbling within the rainbows about the choice of sites this year. I bet they are cured of Arkansas for a long time.

    Finally, they reported the stench in the area is overwhelming at this time.”

  36. Arkie said

    “They tested the water at the river crossing recently and said the bacteria and E.coli readings were off the chart”.

    This be BS! Having first hand knowledge of the testing protocol I will tell you the testing was done with the specific intent to malign the folks who came to Arkansas to enjoy our natural wonders. There has been a significant bias in the “sample/reporting protocol”. For example the sample that has been reported as being “off the chart” was taken immediately after a significant surge in the river level. One will find that the level of fecal contaminants in many of our Ozark rivers can be 10, 20, 50, even more than a 100 times higher as the stream rises due to livestock and hundreds of septic lines within the watershed. And got to remeber that a single bird crapping in the water can contribute up to 100-200 million fecal coliform per millileter. Moreover albeit the USFS claims such testing was done out of concern for the “safety” of the rainbow Tribe no field duplicates were obtained, the sample was obtained at a site and time in which there were more unsettled particulates which concentrate fecal coliforms, and the samples were not submitted to the lab well beyond the 6 hours nor kept iced down for the entire duration to prevent continued bacterial growth. Moreover to rule out any contribution that may have arisen from the gathering standard sampling protocol necessitates that at least two sampling groups must be collected per site to characterize a chronic impact — and would require a pre-gathering sampling with at least 5-6 additional bacteriological samples collected on different days and at different time (to minimize effect of point source discharges)during a 30-day period and spanning a minimum of 14 days. Taken collectively — the bacteriological testing was all but rigged! Moreover excessively high bacterial counts were also discovered way downstream at sites far removed from the gathering. And lastly fecal coliforms cannot persist for a very long time in the Buffalo due to water temperature, exposure to UV, etc. — any fecal contaminate within the stream has a life span measured in hours.

    The recovery potential at the site is quite remarkable. Most of the land was extensively timbered and farmed in the 1900s and was nothing but ruts and roots. However due to moderately high levels of rainfall, rapidly growing dense foliage and underbrush, and periodic flooding it will likely be difficult to identify the site of the gathering come next spring — except for us locals who will continue to use the site for our drinking and partying enjoymnet — and pardon us if we take a crap or two while we’re at it.

    Anyway more of the tale….

  37. resident of johnson county said

    well all i can say is i hope its another 30 years before they come back, they had a good time im sure, but the entire county is glad they are gone.

  38. Jacquilyn said

    USFS Incident Command Team of Law Enforcement Officers
    tasers, batons, slap gloves, submission holds,
    deliberate false citations
    of class A misdemeanors…how does that weigh the
    expenses of the Justice Dept. to put them up and pay daily travel expenses and paying them each – how much? The
    cost of having them their vs.
    minor infractions of tickets they made up does not
    constitute the heavy funding to have them there in the
    first place. Congress needs to cut off the funding of
    them thru the Justice Dept. The judge in a makeshift
    courtroom did the speedy trial thing for “tribute pay”
    of fines only…which only further gave them the okay
    to do whatever they wanted to the rainbow family with
    no consequence or accountability of police brutality
    and lawlessness.

    Who in the Justice Dept believes any cry and whine
    babies about the need to harass the hell out of the
    rainbows at their annual peace fest
    at such great expense?

    The USFS Incident Command Team acted like a bunch of
    wing-nuts that needed to be mentally
    instituitionalized…they made the rainbows
    look like normal patriotic everyday people in
    comparison! It was way out of whack! And those who
    were supposedly “in control” acted way out of control.
    It was the weirdest assertion and demonstration of
    authority I have ever seen anywhere. They were paid to
    over dramatize, create dramas, and act like nut cases.
    They weren’t “bad boyz” that they were selling to us
    and we weren’t buying it…they were ridiculous
    wing-nuts that would not leave us alone. We need to
    have a commando team to put them in a hole, POW style,
    and feed em bananas for a week during the next
    gathering. I’m convinced America is whacked from all
    the waaayyy at the top of the political pole down to
    the lowest bottom and the constitution is out the
    window forever.

  39. Thanks and Praises said

    Hopefully what negative impact we may have made upon these hollowed grounds will be blessed a thousand fold by the positive impact we have made upon each other. Is that not what life has offered us since the begining or atleast since Adam and Eve? Again thanks and praises to all the locals, for your patience and kindness. I found Arkansas to be one of the friendliest of all the gathering sites. I know that the rehab of this site will be satisfactory to most, and I know for a fact that even our weakest cleanups have proven to be wonderfull to most. In my many gatherings I have found that the best cleanups have occured when we were the least intimidated or harassed by the forest service. Many of our more expierienced crews no longer come to gatherings for that reason and those who do stay for cleanup at times feel less motivated due to the terrible harassment and lies these public servants have burdened us with and the sheer joy they portray as they impliment these acts of human betrayal, if only the masses could see their shamefull behavior. Yes some will never admit or even believe we were a fine expierience, and thats ok. Peace and blessings to you all from a San Diego gatherer.

  40. rainbow warrior said

    we still love ya local folks

  41. Anonymous said

    You can’t catch meningitis from being dirty morons. I caught it from a friend before I even left for the gathering

  42. excursão hopi hari, hopi hari, viagem hopi hari…

    […]Thousands Gather For Rainbow Family in Arkansas « Views From Within[…]…

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