Acorn had it’s 4th Rave last week and it was widely heralded as a fantastic event. As a funologist, i wanted to explore a bit about why.
Regular readers of this blog know that in funological grading, events which demonstrate new themes, social constructs (games, theater, interactive events) or original party hardware can get a B grade or higher. Parties which change the lives of the participants can get an A grade.
There was not really anything new about this event at Acorn. [Tho i personally liked the very late techno music, which was mashed up with pop songs i knew, which i had not really heard before.] The setting way out in the Acorn mid field with Christmas lights defining the perimeter and various different party/hang out zones was the same design as years past. There was reliable techno music, a trampoline, glow in the dark trinkets, a lovely spread of fruits, snacks and juices, and a hopping dance floor. Here again, all trusted party components. Tho there was a kiddie pool this year, which was new.
There was an overhead protected couch area, nicely covered mattresses (which got a bit wet in the rain, but were still completely usable), and a private area slightly mazed off from the main party spaces. All like previous raves.
There also appeared to be really good consent culture, which i dont think is unusual for our events, and is still worth mentioning. Consistently, when i checked in with people about touching them, they were enthusiastic about being asked. I feel like my community and this event were good models for the type of behavior which really does make consent sexy. Something which is important to me.
Yet, despite being somewhat formulaic, people had a blast. There were lots of people kissing and making out who i had never seen engaged this way before. There was lots of laughing and engaged and animated conversation. Wild and unusual dancing through much of the night. The early shuttles were largely empty, because people did not want to leave. Perhaps funological grading in it’s current formulation is too weak to handle this type of event.
My take is that beyond the party organizers efforts, what helped make this a great party was the mindset and cultural environment of the participants. People were up for a great party. A significant fraction of the participants came from Acorn or Twin Oaks. The two communities are thriving and largely without divisive drama at this point in time. In short, we had a great party, because we were up for having a great party and we brought that intention with us and manifested it.
We have different types of holidays in terms of inviting the outside world. New Years and anniversary are more public ones, Validation Day tends to be more just us and our closest friends. An ex-member suggested i invite a couple, the wife of whom had been a member here many years ago and lived in the area. The husband showed up without her, and very nearly got himself thrown out of the party for acting inappropriately. Ultimately, the ex-member wife showed up and whisked him away. But with this smallish exception this largish event went off without a hitch.
I was asked to MC the coffeehouse portion of the program, which happened in the early afternoon. This turned out to be a relatively easy job since many of the acts felt like they were so famous (in our little local circle) that they needed no introduction. i only had to yank one act off the stage before they were willing to go. And there was a sweet mix of our talent with ex-members and locals.
Always working on funological principals an analysis, i discovered another useful metric in this quantification of fun. I had several conversations with the son of an ex-member from way back. The son had never been here before and knew no one at the event. Still he said that he had had a grand time and that people were open and friendly to him. Thus the hallmark of certain types of better parties, is that you can come to the event, not know anyone and still have a great time.
On thing that we succeed at (in my never humble opinion) is creating multi=generational events. The acid test for this is the dance floor. Early in the evening Sara and i were dancing a bunch with the kids. And Willow was being especially energetic (complaining this afternoon that “25% of his body was in pain”) jumping and flying around. At another point in the evening ex-member Denny Ray grabbed my hand and we did some strange couples dance i would be hard pressed to mimic, chronologically Denny could be Willows grand dad. That they both felt welcome and inspired to dance on the same dance floor despite their age difference is something i dont see much of in the mainstream.
I have to say i am proud of us. We have endured, built something worth bragging about, and can still throw a respectable party to celebrate it.
Janel took a bunch of pictures, which she has already civic mindedly put up on the network, but i cant snatch them up right now, so you will have to view my Instagram shots until i am in the courtyard and can share more.