The Rainbow Family Gathering is underway in New Mexico. The community meeting went well on June 17th and thousands have already gathered near Cuba, NM in the forest. Here at AllStays.com, I set up a specific map of the Gathering location that also shows nearby camping, truck stop locations, rest areas, stores and more around the area for the journey to and from the annual event.
There is no leader, there is no official spokesperson, they are family. Yet these events are more organized than most large for-profit concert events. Although nowadays, information can be found online with detail down to the GPS coordinates, it has been impressive that over the years, more than 10,000 people can find an event in the National Forest somewhere in the country. They come by leather or rubber, by hitchhiking or by vehicle, by car or by camper, by van or by truck, by train or by bus.
Photo by flickr's guano
The Rainbow Family gathering is not as some people assume. Just like society, people can't be all lumped together as being the same. It's not all vegans and hippies. There are homeless and lawyers. Pilots to artists. Musicians to runaways. Christians to anarchists. Pot smokers to superb athletes. There are vegetarians and there are meat eaters. There are peacemakers and there are people who get out of hand.
Photo by alexkon
Many kitchens around the meadow provide food to all at no charge. They will serve thousands of people a day. Water is piped and filtered around the area for people to fill their jugs. Camps are organized for a variety of types. Drinking alcohol is discouraged but there is a camp for those that do. There is the Quiet Camp, the Kiddie Village, the Christian Camp, the Teepee Village, the Phat Kids, and the Granola Funk.
July 4th is interdependence day at the Gathering. Everyone joins hands in a huge circle in the meadow to meditate and pray for peace on Earth.
The Forest Service is not thrilled that these events occur under their watch. They estimate that it costs $341,000 to oversee the events. They tend to spread a little bit of misinformation to the locals each year about the attendees. They try to find a legal way to deny the gatherings from occurring. They want an official leader or organization which goes against the whole point of the Rainbow Family. There is no leader!
Local businesses do great selling out of produce, rice, flour, clothing and other items. It's a boom to the local economy near the yearly events and trickles out from there. Rainbow Family members buy gas and other supplies on their way to the gathering from all over the country. If a Rainbow Family member gets out of hand and messes up a motel room for example, the Family steps up and makes it right. The problem is that government presence often leads to more problems and costs. Just like any public event. More authority means more adrenaline is pumping and more confrontations. It puts people on edge and makes it more likely that something will happen. At the 2008 Gathering in Wyoming, Forest Service authorities got a bit out of control and wound up using tasers, rubber bullets and pepper spray on individuals. You can find more details and videos of this event below. I was not there when it happened but watching the clear videos of them shooting repeatedly into a crowd of people, including children, and knocking people to the ground looks like the over use of aggression to me.
Are you a member of the family? A visitor? Curious?
The coordinates are N 36.03647 W 106.78496 or 36.036470, -106.784960
Directions from Albuquerque: Take I-25 north to U.S. Highway 550. Go north on U.S. Highway 550 approximately 65 miles to State Highway 126 (Cuba, NM). From Cuba, NM take State Road 126 East for 13 + miles to FS Road 103 on left, go 2 miles to FS Road 69 on left then drive 9 miles to where FS Road 69 meets FS Road 70.Wikipedia