here's my spin on some basic elements of what we call The Gathering. trying not to waffle on, as i am more than occasionally prone to do, i'm adopt the convention of keywords:
Some words/phrases i have heard/read/written in association with The Gathering or have been given significant emphasis in the past:
fun, safety, happiness, participation, freedom, huge, festival,community, lunacy, communion, playtime, dance, unity, diversity, spectacle, society, big, DIY, nice, family, escape, magic, excitement, hype(r), humans/humanity, spirit, drugfest, mission, party, respect, enthusiasm, faith, flow...
okay, some of those popped into my head as i was writing. these are not all my own perceptions of the... i don't even know whether to call it an "event", a "festival", a "party", or a "rave". for me, the dimensions of The Gathering occupy a large percentage of my personal horizons... only recently, with the certain distance i now have from the core am i able to try to see it from more than one perspective...
but i digress into self-indulgent contextualisation...
if from the above words i was asked to take out five which for me expressed what i consider central to The Gathering's purpose/mission, and my hopes for its potential, i would choose: (well i couldn't, i'd try to integrate them in the way the experience is a synthesis of so many correlated elements...
one thing that i've always considered special about our parties is the way we create a place where people are able to be their childself, to play outside the realm of shield and threat. the freedom to express our smiles to each other is part of the delicate magic we try to sustain amidst the hullabaloo of a spectaclar birthyear party. though they may miss all the rest of the message, everyone knows that here, its OK to have fun.
for a short period of time, several thousand people are removed from the rest of society, in an immersive environment which envelops them all equally. in this context there is the potential for similarity to outweigh disparity; ideology/style/scene taking second place to common humanity
(with the exception of the crew which has more direct access to resources and information, is more of an intentional community organised/focused toward specific goals, and is therefore less able to release from function in favour of disassociative communion) unity in diversity has been a key component of our objectives/identity from the beginning; a response to the overwhelming message/vibe of previous parties, but also a mission in itself - the coming together of our cultural tribe in one place, for a few days, and exploring the diverse threads of our rich hypercultural tapestry without preferential bias.
the option of immersion in an interactive environment; that is the valuing of everyone's contribution (of whatever nature), so that the jo/e dancer can be involved, their net contributions interweaving with the intentional concept to create a consensual environment. participation is liberation. by taking responsibility for our own safety/ surroundings/ fun, we improve our lifeskills and opt out of a consumer status