Daniel P. Barron

A True Church at PorcFest, in Review

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Darwin and I drove a rented car for three days to get there. We picked up Birdman in Connecticut on the final stretch. It was dusk on a monday night when we pulled in to Roger’s Campground, and the coordinators reluctantly provided us with our room key.i Reluctant because I guess they had already “closed for the night” or some nonsense. Like, c’mon, you’re here, I’m here — gimme the stupid key. But before that, our first interaction with the top-tier PorcFest was getting our box of tracts handed back with a hundred dollar bill refund. I had paid extra to get our “Jesus Kills” fold-up put in everyone’s “swag bag” but that was a little bit too much free-speech for the so-called Free-Staters. She also informs me that our vendor site has been changed because someone “accidentally”ii ran over the electricity hook up on the one we were supposed to have. The change was cool though; we got put next to Hunter of “Hunter’s Fire and Ice” — a regular at the poker table and all-around cool guy, and we’ll get back to that later. That was also my first interaction with a woman named Rachel, and we’ll get back to her later! Lot’s to cover here.

We set up our tent in a mild drizzling rain, as the sun was setting. The thing was a ten by twenty foot, four sided, bottomless red thing I bought at the last minute on Amazon.iii We dragged the campsite issued picnic table in, at first to attach the light fixtures, but left it in because it made the perfect bar. I had brought five different liquors for the purpose of giving away for free to whoever wanted. This is a multi-faceted decision. You’re not allowed to sell alcohol, and PorcFest loop-holed it by selling VIPiv passes that allowed access to a free-booze tent. The stupid pass costs 200 USD more than the regular one, and I spent about that much on enough booze to hand out to all-comers. That’d be the first raspberry to the organizers. The second consideration is that the Bible instructs us to give strong drink to those who are perishingv — it was the perfect way to get people into the tent and talking about scripture. We also set up my very cheap poker top, and we’ll get back to that later!! Oh the suspense!

We spent that first night, and almost all successive nights, playing poker late into the AM. I have a set of 100% clay tri-color chips, and over a decade of experience playing and hosting home-games. For the first couple nights our site was the go-to spot. Half a grand on the table, which for PorcFest is a lot of money apparently. Also worth noting is that first night, Redneck Nick showed up on a bag of shrooms and left Darwin with the impression that he was quite possibly the most obnoxiously beligerant person on the planet. To his, Darwin’s, astonishment, nobody else gave it much concern and played on. And in Nick’s defense, that night was an exception; he behaved much better once the bag was empty.

Tuesday. I woke up late. And this was to become the routine for the week. Darwin would wake up early and man the site until noon. Then I’d show up and he’d drive to town or wander around. We had the perfect introduction to passers-by, delivered to us on a silver platter by the very people who begrudgingly let us attend in the first place. “Here’s something PorcFest didn’t want you to see. They refused to put it in the swag-bag.” I had several people refuse at first, only to take it enthusiastically upon hearing that line. Libertarians are so easy. That’s the bulk of my week — sitting at the poker table, sipping tequila and handing out tracts. Occasionally I went for a walk around the grounds, usually accompanied by Nick.vi That night we played more poker. As a minor point, I was making money. Not enough to break even with the cost of being there, but a nice bonus anyway. More importantly, the poker table is a hub of all sorts. Pot dealing. Nitrous baloons. MDMA, LSD, etc.vii Our site was the alt-VIP site. We both have the free booze. Their’s cost a couple hundred bux. Mine just cost the cost of being seen at “that Jesus hater site.”viii

Wednesday. This is the day you’ve been waiting for! They day we got kicked out! Literally. On the days prior, several players had mentioned a poker table in the Roger’s Campground recreation room. It was sitting there, unused. They said, your table is wobbly; you should go borrow that other one. And for days I was thinking, “eh, whatever. My table is good enough. Let someone else set up a competing table. I readily welcome it.” But this day, this Wednesday, the former owner of the table told me I should go get it. His name is George, and he told me in person to go get it. He said this while setting up an apparently “illegal” wifi hotspotix at my site. Not that this is what got us kicked out; he took it down and disappeared within the half-hour. It’s a little past noon — the time of day when things are pretty slow for us anyway — I get a couple guys together and we head up to the registration building to snag this poker table. With the help of an official, we drag this stupidly heavy thing to the front, at which point he suggests we get a vehicle to bring it the rest of the way to our site. In the time it takes me to drive our rental car up there, the head coordinator by the name of Rodgerx Paxton becomes aware of the plan. One of us stupidly mentioned something about “it’s George’s table” and now this guy insists to see George in person to give permission for us to take the table. And this is despite my “uh.. George told me in person to take it” and another’s “uh.. the people in the campground office just told us it was ok to take it...” and my “can’t you just walk ten feet around the corner there and ask them yourself??” The guy had an attitude with me from the get-go, and had the nerve to tell me I had an attitude with him. The whole time, including the ensuing kick-out, I was nothing but chill and laughing — except, I guess, when I pleaded angrily that they give us till the next morning to hit the road. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday night. For the record, I did plot a sceme. I was a bad boy. First of all, we were given literally ten minutes to find George before they locked up the building that held the poker table. I called a meeting with some of the poker players. “Ok. Let’s give them an hour. They’ll lock up and leave. We know we have permission from the campground to use this table; let’s just ask them to unlock it.” And it worked! I didn’t go myself for the other record. Birdman and some other guy with a truck did the mission, and it almost worked. They got the table outside and almost loaded up. Rodger caught them. I’m sitting at my poker table when I get a visit from these wanna-be bureaucrats telling me how we’ll get kicked out if we try it again. I call another meeting saying, “Ok, this table isn’t worth getting kicked out over. It’s over. Let it be.” Except it wasn’t over. A couple hours later, after having done nothing further, we get a visit from the full force of rangersxi telling us we have to pack up and leave immediately for “attempting to steal a poker table.” And this is where Hunter comes in. He’s a ranger. He’s at my table when this goes down. He stands up saying something like “hey this isn’t right! You can’t do this!” The guy gets stripped of his rank and sorta-kicked-out.xii

We pack up most of our stuff. I decide to leave the tent up because I have a pretty strong feeling we’ll be back in tomorrow and I don’t feel like taking it down just to put it back up, and if we can’t get back in I’d just as soon leave the tent behind for them to clean up. The whole while we’re escorted by about a dozen rangers. They walk with our car from the campsite to the motel, and then from there to the exit where we are stopped by a man named Jack. He’s a PorcFest coordinator and he wants to know what’s going on. He was informed by a guy named Adam who I met at the festival a few years ago,xiii I guess with some association with a thing they call the Alt-Expo.xiv We’re forced out and across the street. Joined also by a guy named Mikey, we explain our side of the story to Jack. He arranges a meeting with Rachel. She’s another uppity-up with an attitude, doing this sorta thing where she’s clearly hating my guts but trying extra hard to be cordial and it isn’t working except in the most superficial sound-bite for the news sense. I won’t bore you with all the inane details of what was discussed, except that we agreed to meet again the next morning.

The Bumps interlude! There’s this woman who goes to all sorts of festivals and cooks gourmet meals. She also plays poker! I know her from years past, delivering things like ahi tuna sandwhiches to the poker table and selling edibles. We’re not in our temporary hotel room for five minutes before a knock comes on the door. It’s Bumps and she comes bringing gifts! Soups and sandwiches and smokeables! Needless to say we had an exceptionally fun Wednesday night despite the best efforts of the lord of the flies gang. She even offered wet cat food for my Queenie! I turned that down of course — you think I don’t travel with the wet and dry for my sweetie pie?

Thursday morning. Dun dun dun! We have our little meeting. Rodger is there with his wife and co-coordinator Jessica. I think Rachel was also there, along with Jack and some other guy who played the role of mediator. Long story short, I appologized, and agreed to pick up trash as a form of what they called “restorative justice.” As if they were the ones harmed. Not like I was cheated out of both a vendor campsite and a motel room for one night, and also had to buy a whole separate hotel room — none of which they offered to compensate. We also had to agree to some press conference later in the day, to help quell the rumors. It lasted all of ten minutes in which Darwin, Birdman, and I sat mostly silent while Piggyxv and his cohorts tried and failed to come off as though they handled the situation well. I didn’t want to challenge them on it since we were there to talk about the Gospel and this whole thing was a distraction. Lastly, I was informed that I couldn’t do the trash pickup afterall, and instead was to do basically a house arrest — unable to leave my vendor site except to walk to my motel room. The joke here is that I would’ve been there anyway. As a somewhat funny side-note, on my way into the press conference, some guy noticed my “Obama Turned My Frog Gay With Chemicals” t-shirt and asked something like, “Is that frog worse than a not-gay frog?” I guess he was trying to bait me into an argument over the morality of homosexuality, which I wouldn’t mind debating except that I was already disposed. I replied, “I don’t know, it’s a frog.”

Friday and Saturday were uneventful. We played poker. Not many people stopped to argue scripture. I won two bets off of Birdman. The first was that we’d get back into the festival. The second was that our poker table had more money on it than the one in the VIP tent — the one we got kicked out over trying to borrow. I can only assume we put it in their head that the stupid table was worth using, and they put on some dinky free-roll. Sunday was about cleanup and leaving.

The only other thing worth mentioning from the trip was our brief stay in Westbrook, Connecticut during which we got a ticket for expired registration on a rental car. We were at the public beach; Darwin was walking around handing out tracts. Some woman called the cops because she didn’t like him using the word “hell” around her children. We get pulled over and ticketed, which was later undone because — duh, how is a rental car going to have expired registration? The cop read the paperwork wrong and met back up with us to take back the ticket. I didn’t even know that was possible.

  1. I snagged an on-site motel room in the week leading up because someone else couldn’t make it. And good thing I did because the tent I bought is no good for sleeping in, and Darwin and I both have bad backs. Also the room was pet friendly and I didn’t have a solid plan for how to leave my cat behind. Queenie is now a veteran traveler — she’s been in more hotels than the average person, I’d wager.
  2. I don’t want to accuse them of doing it deliberately; I don’t know for sure. But, my neighbor was to be a Muslim sharing a site with a homosexual; both celebritarians. Also, that site was in the very first row and probably would have showed up in a lot of candid photographs taken from the bonfire area. What’s more, our tracts had the original site number printed on them. But those didn’t get given out anyway. It took us less than half an hour to correct them via pen and hand — whatever.
  3. Praise the Lord it arrived in time!
  4. Very Inspired Porcupine
  5. NKJV:

    Proverbs 31:6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart.

  6. I cannot stress enough how great of an associate he is. The guy is the best of both worlds, between cool people and well-knowns in the Free State Project. Through him, I got to meet all sorts of people that would never have been caught dead at my site. He also got me invited to a Sangria mixer.
  7. This year I stuck to just the weed and nitrous. But it was all there.
  8. We heard afterwards that some guy on some PodCast referred to us as the “Jesus Haters.”
  9. I can’t be bothered to care about the inane political deals that go on behind the scenes. I guess someone was given exclusive rights to provide the official wifi on the campground, and anyone else hosting a spot was an outlaw. On this point I especially couldn’t care less, because we’re out in the woods and I’m not here to browse the stupid web. The logic, for those entomologists, is because they need a way to spend “crypto” — not, bitcoin, mind you. That was maybe a thing in 2014. This year the whole festival was sponsored by some scam-coin called who-cares-what.
  10. Not the Roger of Roger’s Campground. Just a coincidence.
  11. These guys don’t believe in calling the COPs, so they have this stupid little force of volunteers with walkie-talkies to prented like they can enforce rules or whatever.
  12. Rangers get a free pass. Now he’s supposed to buy a pass. I think after this all got sorted out he didn’t have to do that, but props to him for standing up in the heat of the moment.
  13. He’s heard of the Republic, hasn’t gotten around to registering a key yet. Even brought his gentoo laptop to my site this year to pick my brain. I complimented him on having GCC < 5. Thing even had Stanislav’s crapolade mask file!
  14. It’s like a mini event within the event where “alternative” topics get discussed.
  15. Lord of the flies reference!