Counterculture

Capitalism at Bonnaroo

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Columnist Ron Hart recently attended the Bonnaroo Music Festival and filed an amusing report on the rampant capitalism on display there among lefty hippie-types:

The entrepreneurial spirit abounded, a shining example of the same capitalism they seem to detest on a larger scale.

Vendors offered a wide array of pot, coke and acid for a reasonable market-driven price. Ironically, drugs were sold at a more competitive price than the Prescription Drug Benefit Congress "gave us" because at Bonnaroo, at least, the drug dealers are forced to compete.

The way dealers at Bonnaroo operate is that when they walk past someone they say their product. So I hear the word "pot" said by a passerby. If you wanted to buy said product, then, unlike our government's drug purchases, you would engage a vendor in price negotiations. And like most all of my purchases, they would begin with: "You ain't no cop, are you?"

Being one of the oldest dudes there, I really did not get many offers to "Rock the Vote" or buy drugs. In fact, I am not sure that when I walked by one dealer he didn't say "Geritol."

They register voters there because they know that they are going to vote for Democrats since they get most of their political views from the drummer for Third Eye Blind. This is the same drummer who rails against oil companies' 10 cent a gallon profit, yet has no problem selling his band's T-shirts at his concert for $35.

More here.

reason on the hippie menace here.

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  1. I doubt anyone takes their marching orders from Third Eye Blind’s drummer. TV on the Radio, maybe.

  2. I self identify as a capitalist hippie. I’m totally libertarian philosophically. But I do like the hippie aesthetic. Psychedelic colors, recreational drug use, crafting you’re own stuff, and especially peace and love. I wish peace and love got more respect from everyone.

  3. Third Eye Blind? heh, why not take orders from Hootie and the Blowfish?

  4. Warren,
    Maybe you could be our liaison to the hippie movement. Start by telling your comrades not to be such socialist, smelly assholes. And that guns are fun to shoot.

  5. I’ve seen Redneck Democrat bumper stickers. Who wants to print up some Hippie Libertarian stickers? I’ll pay you in weed.

  6. Better yet – Hippie Capitalist

  7. Hey he was just being funny with Third Eye Blind. Anyone who goes to Bonnaroo must be hip. I do like the Geritol comment.

  8. It is amazing how entertainers bitch about capitalism yet the price of concert tickets go up at twice the rate of CPI. Fuckem and Feedem Fishheads!

  9. Yes and our friend and faux socialist Barbara Streisand….the worst of all. $600 a ticket to hear her bitch.

  10. warren,
    Thanks for changing your moniker to all lower-case.

    The real Warren

  11. I’ve always thought hippies were tailor-made potential libertarians. It is, after all, the only real pacifist philosophy out there.

  12. Funny take on what is a great capitalist success (Bonnaroo). If you have not been, you should go. Hart is a great writer, I have read his stuff in the past. Funny and PJ O’Rourke like. His take in these kids and thier “causes” is so true. I guess it gets the kids laid to be for the liberal causes.

  13. There’s nothing pacifist about frying the nostrils of innocents with goat-balls shoe-compost Calcutta-whore-choad plague-stink.

    If anything, it’s a repressed mass-murderousness.

  14. Hart is a great writer, I have read his stuff in the past. Funny and PJ O’Rourke like.

    Like this line, “The outdoors is best left outdoors.”

    I’m pretty sure he bit that from O’Rourke’s, All The Problems In The World. But for all I know PJ could have bit that from Twain.

    Still liked the article.

  15. It is, after all, the only real pacifist philosophy out there.

    Yes, my personal libertarianism is pacifist in the sense that if you try to hurt me or my family or break into my house, I’m going to blow your goddamn head off or bash your rib cage with a Louisville Slugger.
    I can see how you would think libertarianism is pacifist.

  16. If you have ever camped at Bonnaroo you would agree that the outdoors is no place for most of us today who are used to the creature comforts of home. And I would not be surprised if O’ROurke lifted that line from Hart. They do think alike. Libertarians with humor. It is really the best way to get our point across.

  17. His comments on the drugs at Bonnaroo being priced at the market, and our fine government gives us an entitlement called a prescription drug plan that, with millions of dollars of lobbying by drug companies, was passed by congress with a provision that they do not have to compete on price for the business. The biggest fraud ever committed on us taxpayers. Hart is on the nose on this one and all the past columns I have read of his.

  18. HollyMolly,

    Oh I agree with the thought. My willingness to camp is directly proportional to my distance form the nearest hotel room.

    But, All The Problems In The World was published like in 1989. I could be wrong. May just be a case of great minds and all. Now that I think about it, PJ’s line was something like “Outside itches.”

    I’m not familiar with Hart, but I certainly check out more of his stuff.

  19. I have got to type slower. Or at least read what I type.

  20. Google Ron Hart. His columns are right there. I saw him on CNN after the debates recently. He was good and a nice balance to the hard right and way left which we must normally endure.

    He is southern but well educated and plays well with the masses. He may get beat to hell in this type blog, but I can promise you, he is a good libertarian messenger.

  21. In Brian Doherty’s area of expertise…
    I’m on the email group for Burning Man (called Jackrabbit Speaks). The BM event professes to be a no-selling-allowed function (a ‘gifting’ environment) and has a anticommerce ideology. They give prominant exposure, for example, to a faux Reverend who preaches the “Church of Stop Shopping”.

    I recently got their ‘Resources’ email. It listed about 20 different preferred vendors, from truck rentals to airlines to clothing and glow wire, etc, etc.

  22. The way dealers at Bonnaroo operate is that when they walk past someone they say their product. So I hear the word “pot” said by a passerby. If you wanted to buy said product, then, unlike our government’s drug purchases, you would engage a vendor in price negotiations.

    What an innovative business model…

  23. It would be great to let them, just for once, as an experiment, put up product names and prices, like the fruit stands at farmers’ markets. Then see how the price structure develops.

  24. It is amazing how entertainers bitch about capitalism yet the price of concert tickets go up at twice the rate of CPI.

    Want to have fun? Ask a headline performer if there should be a law capping CEO pay to X times the lowest-paid employee in the company. Then ask if the star’s take should be capped at the same multiple of the lowest-paid person working the event. (Don’t forget to duck.)

    I’ve always thought hippies were tailor-made potential libertarians. It is, after all, the only real pacifist philosophy out there.

    You must have missed the part where they blew up or burned down ROTC facilities and trashed administration offices.

    I grew up with hippies. I was regularly lectured, then shunned because “doing my own thing” didn’t look like their thing.

  25. I’ve always thought hippies were tailor-made potential libertarians. It is, after all, the only real pacifist philosophy out there.

    “I dabbled in pacifism myself. Not in ‘Nam, of course.” ~ Walter Sopchek

  26. I didn’t see any acid or coke at Bonnaroo last year, goddamnit. Just pot, clonopin, way too much nitrous and fake ecstasy.

    i would have enjoyed tripping my sack off.

  27. Don’t try to take Barbara’s money or Bono’s. They might send Three-6 Mafia after you.

    Ron rocks! He makes all the major points with humor. I really like the Dennis Kuchinich line.

  28. I was at Bonnaroo this year (and last year, too). They were definitely searching harder for contraband at the front gates this year. What was funny is that each day (we’re hotel types, not campers) we’d get behind some car full o’ hippies at the gate that would get searched extensively. Afterward, the security types would take one look at my wife and I in our rapidly-approaching-middle-aged state, and wave us on through without so much as a “have a nice day.”

    Not as much open pot use during the daylight hours as last year, but that may have had more to do with the fact that they overloaded the day slots with indie pop, while saving the jam band stuff for the overnight hours. The Government Mule set was a haze of pot smoke.

    I’m such an old fogey that I spent most of my days there in the air-conditioned jazz tent, enjoying far more interesting improvisation than any jam band could dream of perpetrating….

  29. I remember leaving a Phish show one night and thinking there isn’t a more raw display of Capitalism than in the lot scene. Drugs are available, but not as obvious. Anything related to food, clothing or paraphanalia was available. My favorite pitch was the guy selling garlic-grilled chese sandwiches – “what the fuck, it’s only a buck”

    As for politics, it’s like any group of high school/college age kids. A few very committed people and a lot more who are more interested in getting high and/or laid.

  30. Camping sounds an awful lot like homelessness. No sane person does that voluntarily, and the homelessness-lite that campers actually do makes even less sense.

  31. camping and fishing. There is a thin line between camping and looking real stupid.
    I am digging this Hart guy in a big way. I wish he was half his age!!

    Or I guess I will date these dopes my age…damn this convention that societies norms places upon us!

  32. And like most all of my purchases, they would begin with: “You ain’t no cop, are you?”

    Kind of like the drug manufacturers when confronted by a possible regulation.

  33. Hey he was just being funny with Third Eye Blind. Anyone who goes to Bonnaroo must be hip. I do like the Geritol comment.

    Warren, no one is hip wearing tie-dyes, ponytails and birkenstocks. Can the hippies please, please move the fashions forward 50 years? I don’t care what your philosophies are, but when you show up to Folklife wearing the EXACT same outfit you wore fifty years ago, it just gets old.

    Imagine the ’60s if the supposedly bright young things had gone around dressed in the height of ’30s fashion; wearing fedoras, spats, cheesecutter caps and zoot suits with foot-wide lapels and white kipper ties. –P.J. O’Rourke

  34. Imagine the ’60s if the supposedly bright young things had gone around dressed in the height of ’30s fashion; wearing fedoras, spats, cheesecutter caps and zoot suits with foot-wide lapels and white kipper ties. –P.J. O’Rourke

    Ironic considering that there was a period during the late 90s when the hip kids were doing just that.

  35. I would imagine that much of the cold cash in Rep Jefferson’s (D-La) freezer was from drug companies. It was amazing that a GOP admin fell to pressure by the Dems to fashion such a entitlement as the Prescription Drug “benefit”…and to not make the drug companies compete on price for the business. How could that happen?? Hart is right, the free markets are more efficient at Bonnaroo than in our government in DC.

  36. Funny line about Kucinich’s fear that if the oceans rise 4 feet that he would drown. I saw his wife, she would not drown. My guess the only reason that troll stays in the race is for all the political tail he gets. That, and the hotel room mini bars which seem like a sub-zero to him.

    Well done piece here by Hart. It hits on all the points and shines lights on the hypocracies out there. He really seems to get it, in a Dennis Miller kind of way.

  37. Wrigley Field Peanut Guy : Thanks LOL.|

  38. I don’t think its hypocritical to be an individual entrpreneur operating within his own community and still have a distaste for larger scale corporate capitalism. Too often corporations care nothing for the consequences of their actions as long as they enhance the bottom line. The small time operator is forced to deal with the consequences of his actions in a way that the distant corporation is not.

  39. “no one is hip wearing tie-dyes, ponytails and birkenstocks.”

    Not true… There are some amazingly hot hippie chicks, (just as there are some amazingly hot alterna-chicks and goth chicks and librarian-chicks, etc. etc. etc.) roaming the visual landscape.

    Just my .02 cents worth…

  40. The small time operator is forced to deal with the consequences of his actions in a way that the distant corporation is not.

    True. The same concept applies to local government versus central government, but is universally ignored or even denied by those who rail against large corporations. How often do you hear the word “federalism” from these groups who want to raise awareness?

  41. The Oregon Country Fair is the height of Hippieocracy hilarity. Unmasked commercialism wedded to the delusion that partying somehow makes the world a better place, and then the old hippies that have run the place for eons trying to ban amplified music at night so they can get their sleep.

    I wasn’t alive in the sixties, but if you were and you ever wondered how the hippie ideology/lifestyle would be holding up after 50 years, come to the OCF and find out… it’s every bit as hilarious and ironic as you might expect.

  42. I just read this column. What a great piece on an event I always wondered about. Hippies aside, it sounds like a blast. I certainly laughed out load when I read this column.

    I am not sure how long it has been since Hillary has been polled, but I bet she polled well at this concert. It must be funny to watch the wide eyed stoners, still in thier infant stages who really believe Hillary or any candidate can actually do something with this out of control government we have in DC.
    At least Ron is there to make us laugh about it.

  43. I actually went to Bonoroo on a corporate junket with my wife for her job. It was a lot of fun, too hot and too dirty. I was way to old and well dressed to get any good offers for drugs. I was a bit disappointed but I understood because I had to have looked like a NARC to those kids.

    Beyond the drugs, Bonoroo is a monument to capitalism. The locals make money charging $20 for clean showers. There are tons of venders there selling everything from tie die baby clothes to concert posters to hand made insturments to really good fair food. You name it and you can buy it there. It is more of a modern medieval fair than anything else. Everyone there was very nice. The only thing that bothered me was the dingbats who brought their small children. There were a shocking number of children under the age of 10 there.

    I don’t blame bands who charge high prices for tickets. Every dollar they sell the tickets for below market value is just taken by the scalpers. I would rather the bands make the money than the scalpers.

  44. ” Anyone who goes to Bonnaroo must be hip”

    anybody who uses the word “hip” —

    ISN’T

    although, in an article about hippies, you might get a pass.

    the idea that hippies have any libertarian cred is pretty laughable.

  45. No joke, I went to the first four Bonnaroos, watched music at most of ’em…The one I set up a pizza shop with a buddy and only saw two bands the whole weekend was the most fun I had at any of ’em.

  46. It is, after all, the only real pacifist philosophy out there.

    Except for the Quakers. And the Buddhists. And the Jains. And, well, you get the idea.

    “Hippie” isn’t a philosophy. Its more of a dress code than anything else.

  47. Want to have fun? Ask a headline performer if there should be a law capping CEO pay to X times the lowest-paid employee in the company. Then ask if the star’s take should be capped at the same multiple of the lowest-paid person working the event. (Don’t forget to duck.)

    Wrong parallel. The performer analogizes to the entrepreneur, not the CEO who is an employee brought in to run the company. Unless it’s the same person, but then you need to consider salary and investment income separately. Talk to the performer about capping his top paid employee (probably his manager) “on principle” and you could have a very cordial conversation indeed.

  48. Wrong parallel. The performer analogizes to the entrepreneur

    The entrepreneur, most of the time, is the producer who hires the venue and the performer, covers all the other expenses like insurance, security, etc., sells tickets, and takes the risk of losing money due to poor attendance. The performer gets his standard fee for appearing plus maybe a percentage of the gate. Of course sometimes the performer doubles as the producer.

    The same is even more valid producing a movie, where the star is every bit an employee.

    Regardless, the “you shouldn’t get rich from the labor of peons” mantra still applies.

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