After the disaster of the 2016 European Rainbow Gathering in the Alps, I was speaking to a brother and sister who have been to countless Rainbow Gatherings and they suggested that the future might be to prohibit any kind of publishing on the internet about upcoming Gatherings.
‘Maybe it should just be for Family,’ they suggested.
It would seem a catch-22: how do you get to be part of the Rainbow Family if you can’t find a Rainbow Gathering?
Of course once upon a time in a world without internet the European Rainbow Gathering still attracted a few thousand people who found out about it only via word of mouth. Postcards with directions were sent out to squats, communities, prominent people in their respective Rainbow Families and, sometimes after long and interesting journeys, everyone found their way there.
Some believe that the internet has changed the Gatherings to the extent that it’s mostly people new to the Rainbow who turn up and who don’t know anything about Rainbow traditions and practice. Each Gathering we have to tell everyone again the same old mantras of help in the kitchen, bring firewood and cover your shit.
But it’s just naive to think that in 2017 you can get thousands of people to agree not to share information about the Gatherings on the internet.
Another suggestion has been to make the Rainbow Gatherings in remote locations which require serious effort to reach. That way only those truly committed to the Rainbow would turn up. Maybe somewhere at high altitude, a plentiful wild bear population or undiscovered land mines. But however romantic the dream of a hardcore Gathering of the Rainbow Elite might be, children are the lifeblood of the Rainbow and if it’s too hard to reach then families just won’t come.
As much as it’s a favourite Rainbow pastime to sit around the fire, shake one’s head and reflect how the Gatherings aren’t what they used to be, it’s worth looking at the numbers and remembering that the European Rainbow Gathering isn’t growing. We didn’t hit 2000 people at full moon since Slovakia in 2012.
‘But it’s almost all new people coming!’ I often hear.
Maybe so. Though I’ve never seen anyone going around with a survey to actually find out.
And wasn’t everyone new once?
And even if it is true, it also points to another conclusion: those with plenty of Rainbow experience aren’t coming to the Gatherings any more. Maybe they just get tired of telling people not to cut green wood for the fire. Maybe they move on in their lives and have children or animals to take care. A living to make.
Maybe they just get tired of talking about the future of the Rainbow.