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1,500 Liberty Lovers Gather At 12th Annual PorcFest

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Annabelle Bamforth
New Hampshire-based writer Annabelle Bamforth is TruthInMedia.com's editor-in-chief, focused on breaking the left/right paradigm through new media and local politics. To share a news tip, contact annabelle@truthinmedia.com.

The Free State Project’s 12th annual week-long Porcupine Freedom Festival, also known as PorcFest, concluded last Sunday. Truth In Media’s Annabelle Bamforth visited PorcFest to catch a glimpse of some of the activities at the festival, which takes place at Roger’s Campground in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

PorcFest is the Free State Project’s premier summer event that showcases the movement’s purpose, which is to inspire 20,000 individuals to move to New Hampshire in pursuit of personal liberty. A large number of attendees bring their camping gear to spend the week enjoying the festivities and ample space offered at Roger’s Campground, surrounded by one of the state’s most scenic mountain regions.

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Personal freedom encompasses the atmosphere of the FSP and PorcFest, and attendees had plenty of avenues to explore. The following is a mere sampling of events that PorcFest had to offer:

  • Tours of New Hampshire’s scenic North Country
  • Appearances by Lenore Skenazy discussing the “free-range kids” movement
  • A kombucha-brewing tutorial
  • Discussion from residents in different regions of NH offering their perspective on ideal locations in which to settle
  • A Q&A session with Ross Ulbricht’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht, following the screening of the Silk Road documentary Deep Web
  • A “Jury Rights Jeopardy” game testing its attendees about juror’s rights
  • Daily activities for families and children
  • A lecture from Muslims 4 Liberty about spreading the voluntaryist message globally
  • Yoga and various dance classes
  • Screening of 101 Reasons: Liberty Lives In New Hampshire
  • Annual cook-off hosted by The Liberty Ladies of NH
  • A panel examining different forms of activism
  • A Crony Awards ceremony to award various crony capitalist “winners”
  • A speech from Julie Borowski about spreading the liberty message to a broader audience
  • Discussion from recent FSP “new movers” sharing their moving stories
  • Multiple discussions to assist people interested in running for elected positions locally and statewide

Many of the discussions and events illustrated New Hampshire as a state boasting a low tax burden, a diverse and thriving economy, a high quality of life, and a state legislature striving to limit government authority.

Beyond PorcFest’s pavilion area stood Agora Valley, the vendors’ section of Porcfest. Attendees visiting Agora Valley had access to over 60 vendors near the campsites offering freshly prepared meals, handmade products, Bulletproof coffee, endless varieties of homemade canned goods, locally caught trout, a vending machine refurbished to accept bitcoin, a great deal of pro-liberty literature, and plenty in between. Amanda Bouldin, whose homemade ice cream stand is a PorcFest favorite, enjoyed her sixth year at the event serving up flavors like Surveillance State Strawberry, WaterMolon Labe, Orwellian Oreo, and Constitutional Carry Chocolate Cherry.

Two agents from New Hampshire’s Department of Revenue made an appearance at this year’s PorcFest in an attempt to ensure that the food vendors at Agora Valley had “proper licensing” and were collecting the state’s meal tax at the festival. The agents warned that some vendors could be considered non-compliant. The incident, caught on video, showed a confrontation between the agents and Free Keene’s Ian Freeman. The agents were quickly notified that they were on private property and were asked to leave. After speaking with the campground’s owner, the agents exited without gaining access to any vendor paperwork.

Matt Philips, a FSP participant, spoke with Bamforth about his experience organizing this year’s PorcFest with his girlfriend, Kristin Weitzel. Philips estimated that at least 1,500 attendees were to be expected over the week and said that as the FSP grows, PorcFest grows steadily as well.

“We’re longtime Burning Man people,” said Philips of himself and Weitzel, “so we bring a little bit of that perspective.” He said that his time volunteering as a Black Rock Ranger at Burning Man inspired him to organize a new set of volunteers, called Porc Rangers, to assist at PorcFest. “They can summon medical, they can summon community support, they can help people help themselves,” said Philips.

Philips also spoke of the “principles of Porcfest,” something that he and others have been working on to “identify the parts of the culture that we really want to emphasize, get more of.”

“We’re trying to get people who think they might be interested to come, meet everyone, see what it’s about,” said Philips. “To see the experimentation that’s going on here with the vendors and the people here around each other. The little microcosm of the free society that we could have if we all came to this one place and magnified, amplified, each other’s efforts.”

There are innumerable tenets that draw such a large crowd to PorcFest. Some attendees had specific advice to share or to seek. Some attended to hear speeches relevant to their principles. Some attendees have described the event as a week-long experimentation showing what a truly free society could look like. Some simply wanted to go camping with like-minded friends. No matter what brings them to Lancaster year after year, PorcFest is an ideal setting for liberty-loving guests to unite in celebration of the Free State Project’s motto: “Liberty In Our Lifetime.”

 

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