I found this really nice picture of our Saturday effigy from our first outdoor Recycled Rainbow:
Well firstly I’d like to thank my friends who couldn’t make it for their support while at home. It is your positive vibes that I attribute our good weather and my quick recovery from the flu. Many of you who couldn’t make it still participated by spreading the word, or lending equipment to those who could, or by simply creating art all weekend to join the vibe, either with someone or by yourself. I appreciate the concern from anyone who wanted this to succeed. I wish more of you could have made it, and being one who typically doesn’t make it out to shows for this reason and that, I fully understand why you couldn’t make it out to this event. Your energy was missed, and next year, it’ll make it even better when you hopefully show.
The previous weekend’s cleanup effort had about 10 participants, and when we set out to party on the land that night, I considered it extremely successful.
We created our own entertainment and by the time we went home on Sunday, we had already felt like we attended the RR event. Sometimes the energy of a few is far greater than the quantity of the many.
I guess it all depends on what you consider “great.” I’ve done a radio show for roughly 10 years with no listeners and thought the experience was great. It had more to do with the challenge of creating content versus exposure or ratings. It also much had to do with whom I did the show. We worked together, challenged each other, and learned from that experience.
I think success is measured by whether or not you met your goal.
I ran cross country in high school, often never coming in first place, but usually beating my previous week’s time. My goal was always to win, but I defined winning as “beating my last time.”
Our goal for a successful RR wasn’t that of high attendance, but of how people chose to attend.
If we had 300 people show up and stand around waiting to be entertained, I would have considered that a major failure.
What makes this so hard to understand for some (especially our local media) is that we’re not looking to make money by offering entertainment for people to passively consume.
We have no advertising, no underwriting, and no investors to appease.
This is a radical departure from their understanding of festival or concert or “show.” This is more of an experiment or a project.
An experiment because we really don’t know the outcome and it’s difficult to “test” without actually doing the event. This is untried within our community and we never really know what kinds of people are going to show up until the gates are officially open.
From there, it could be a disaster or a success. You greet them, hand them survival guides, show them where they can camp, give them a big hug, and hope for the best.
A project because it is indeed a very large major undertaking involving a lot of money, personnel, and planning. So is a festival, but the word “project” doesn’t imply festival. A festival is one kind of project, typically with different goals and objectives, usually with meeting financial goals based on hopefully a large number of attendants.
If we make a lot of money, then we get better insurance and get more porta-potties and build a better base of operations on the land. The money pads your infrastructure at the event, not our pockets. Drawing in passive consumers and high sales isn’t our goal.
Instead, we’re offering people the opportunity to entertain themselves and others by actively participating in a temporary community. Instead of people buying, you’ve got people gifting. You’ve got a huge chunk of land on which you can build whatever you dream, and a large number of people to collaborate with if you so wish. It’s a blank slate and entirely up to you, so long as you leave no trace.
If 10 people showed up and did this, I would have personally considered it a success. We expected more than 10.
Given this was our very first attempt taking this outdoors over an hour away from where the event used to be held, we had high hopes for about 30.
Instead, we got over 60, and they all participated. It indeed exceeded our expectations.
One of our participants (Head Greeter: Mediaeval Baebe) took this photo of the event Saturday night of our “Downtown” area:
Here’s a small clip of our main effigy burn (of what previously looked like downtown Cleveland!)