I recently played this festival in the Pacific Northwest that was as if Woodstock had been all electronic musicians. It was my first big festival and I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. It took place down in the backyard of farm and, though I know this brings up images of backyard wrestling events, this farm was huge, acres and acres of land.

When I arrived I was taken via golf cart down an old dirt road into a sea of tents and homemade food stands. My first image, while driving down the dirt road, was a man in nothing but his underwear (briefs) with dirt stains up to his knees who was shortly thereafter followed by a girl in a bra and panties and furry caveman boots all the colors of the rainbow (also covered with dry mud). These are all things I’m not used to becase when you see that in NYC, it’s usually followed by a swarm of cops or someone just got terribly assaulted.

My ‘fish out of water’ experience had only just begun as we entered the center of the festival. I gotta say, it was impressive; people everywhere, music reverberating through the tall trees, small children walking side by side with tweaked out acid casualties. It was kinda like a scene from the movie Mad Max, had the whole ‘needing to survive by any means’ thing not been an issue and the gas shortage was replaces with an abundance of vegan food.

Being at this festival sparked all sorts of memories I had long forgotten. Mostly, it reminded me that hippies not only still exist, they are around in droves. Now, before I get into this, I just wanna clarify that my experience with the people at this festival was great. Everyone there was super nice and helpful and it was a pleasure meeting them all.

With that said, this is about hippies.

I haven’t really given thought to hippies in a while, it’s not a very prevalent subculture in NYC. This makes sense though because being a hippie in NYC must be a real drag; Not much nature, everyone moves fast, and people, by and large, tend to not have their heads up their spiritual asses. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that New York hippies are noticeably effected, they’re hippies but with an edge. Basically, they’re homeless people.

However, like I said, hippies are very much not a part of my everyday existence. In fact, most of what I know about them I learned in college (where hippies go to cultivate) and from TV. Now, here’s the shocker…I think hippies get somewhat of a bad rap. They get shit on by most anyone with a modicum self awareness but, in truth, they’re only half bad. Hippies, in my experience, are super nice people, like THE NICEST (rivaling only Canadians). In fact, I imagine a Canadian hippie creates some sort of double negative equation and is somehow so nice, they scientifically become total assholes. I have no proof but that shit sounds scientific enough.

The thing about hippies is that you simply cannot take them seriously. I imagine at one time they fought for causes that mattered and their hearts were in the right place. But, as the years have passed and the world has gotten softer and greener, the fight in them seems to have waned. I’m sure today’s hippies have strong ideals that reach beyond hacky sacks and kind bud. Unfortunately, one of those causes is veganism. While veganism does seemingly go hand in hand with what most would assume hippies believe in (nature, feeding from the earth, uh…nature…), it also perpetuates many of the most hated things about hippies. From they’re unfavorable body odor and over all filthiness to their frail stature. Show me a healthy looking vegan and I’ll show you a unicorn.

Hippies are wistful bunch; They sigh about sunsets and have no qualms being completely filthy for days at a time. They speak of a vague non-religious spirituality that seemingly has something to do with nature. As a jaded asshole, it’s hard for me to put myself in the shoes (or Birkenstocks) of anyone like this but at the same time, hippies do genuinely seem to enjoy life. It seems as if the simple things really go a long way.

They love music and will dance to anything. I wish I could drop my defenses that much and lose my shit to some meandering jam band or minimalist electronica. That personal freedom they enjoy, on paper, is actually somewhat inspiring. In reality, not so much, seeing a 45 year old burn out hippy is pretty depressing. Being a hippy is also being youthful, it’s the ONLY time it’s ok. Once you’re an adult with actual things on your plate, that shit has to cease. If not simply for the fact that you gotta make money and selling blueberries at jam band festivals isn’t putting organic food in your baby’s mouth.

Something I’ve noticed over the years is that I can always tell I’m around a hippy when I feel like an uber-jock. Like just being around them makes me seem like a drunk guy at a football game with my shirt off and my chest painted the team colors. I also find myself editing out my normal sarcasm because it just doesn’t fly with them. Not in a ‘they get offended’ kinda way but more in a ‘they are earnest to a fault’ kinda way. It’s ironic but I get more conservative around hippies than I do around actual conservatives. It’s funny because hippies are all about freedom and expression but god forbid I tell them vegan food tastes like dirt or I start hating on shit and ‘harshing their buzz’ (this goes back to the part about them being too nice). Normally, when I meet someone too nice, I have this urge to get them to talk negatively…about anything, as if I wanna prove that deep down, we’re all pieces of shit on some level. But when I’m around hippies, I don’t feel that way. I don’t get the urge to throw my city slicker vitriol their way, it seems pointless. They may very well be as negative and crude as me but it’s just a battle I don’t see any point in fighting, they seem too content, Life is simple so why throw salt at a wound that may not be there? Unlike normal super nice guy, who’s just nice because that’s his demeanor, hippies live in a world of nice, it’s an antistress environment. They’re groomed to be laid back and pushing that issue would be like giving a priest shit for not getting pussy.

The thing about hippies is their good qualities somehow are also their bad qualities; being TOO nice, or TOO trusting, or loving everything. In an ideal world these would be the cornerstones of society but our world is far from ideal and shit happens, bad shit, all the time. But you know what, as long as they’re happy, I guess that’s all that matters. Just do the world a solid and wipe your kids asses and keep them clean and feed them while you’re at it. After all, they’re the future, even the bummy hippy kids.