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January 24, 2013 9:46 AM   Subscribe

The American Festivals Project (previously) at the national Rainbow Gathering. This post is NSFW.

Long running community hub welcomehome.org describes the Rainbow Family as "the largest non-organization of non-members in the world." Photography is traditionally frowned upon at Rainbow Gatherings, and particularly so by outsiders. The paradoxicality of outsiders in an organization with no recognized structure aside, Benoit Paillé is undoubtedly a card-carrying member of the tribe, and his images of national and regional gatherings capture the essence of the Rainbow Family.

Bonus: Paillé's photographs of nature as seen on LSD.
posted by Lorin (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh oh oh. I love Benoit's photos. Thanks for this. What wonderful simple portraits. I feel like I've time traveled back to own 1970.
posted by cccorlew at 10:16 AM on January 24, 2013

I ♡ large format.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:26 AM on January 24, 2013

I brought a camera to a rainbow gathering once. Not four hours later I had traded it for a big chunk of hashish and a deck of Tarot cards. Barter!
posted by Lorin at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm seriously temped to do a rainbow gathering one year, sounds fun, although I'm incapable of wearing facepaint without destroying it. I'm disappointed they still build trench latrines that cause so much damage to the environment though. Yes, porta potties require infrastructure and money but if you're an ecological movement bringing 20k people into the woods then you should pay for carting out your poo. (obligatory meme)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:32 AM on January 24, 2013

I here sex at the Rainbow Gathering is fucking in tents.
posted by sibboleth at 11:35 AM on January 24, 2013

Aww yeah! Memories! Hazy, hazy memories. I brought my camera to Rainbow Nationals and I have exactly two pictures: one of the dinner circle from a distance, and one of me in front of the Grand Tetons on the drive back. Every once in a while I see pictures that other folks took at respective gatherings and it makes me glad that SOMEONE remembered to use their camera.

I went to Rainbow Nationals in 2001. I met a Krishna faithful named Hilary out there and we fell in Rainbow Love. He and I attended sunrise yoga together, I stuffed myself on the pastries they make in their camp (seriously, the Hare Krishna kitchen at Rainbow is the best) and our only real date was going to see the Granola Funk show at the solar-power-lit stage on the night before the big Om circle.

*looks around office*

My life is so beige right now. Man.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's true. If any of the curious do make it to a National Gathering, find out where the Krishnas are and camp as close as possible. The food is more than worth listening to the incessant chanting. And besides, I can testify that after being in a tent in pitch blackness, high on acid with nothing but the mysterious rustling of a national park forest in every direction—the soothing sounds of hare krishna will come as sweet relief. Now, why did I take so many long exposures of hippies twirling glo-sticks?
posted by Lorin at 1:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gods, I loved the gatherings I attended. Haven't been to one lately, but keep meaning to get back Home one of these days. They're such a vacation from everything you've known. And unless you're being a drainbow, some of the most hard work you'll ever put into having a good time.

This is a great post, and made me feel nostalgic in ways I wasn't expecting. Thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 6:24 PM on January 24, 2013

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