BIG RED PARK and STEAMBOAT SPRINGS - This doesn't happen in resort towns very often.A miniature gathering occurred in Steamboat Springs Friday evening when approximately 2,000 people stood holding hands in a circle, spoke "Om," raised their arms in unity, then cheered for the peaceful effect and ran toward the center to dance, sing and drum with their brothers and sisters following Michael Franti, his band, Spearhead, and members of the Rainbow Family's more than than three-hour set. The band was in Steamboat to play a free show (a real double-rainbow - triple and quadruple for moments - emerged in the sky during the music), and the Rainbow family of living light had been trickling out of the woods all day long.The sight at the end of the show was nearly as big for its significant fractions of Steamboat locals and tourists as the actual peace circle - held on July 4th around Main Meadow at the 2006 35th Annual National Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes - though the numbers differed significantly."It was the Rainbow Family uniting one last time and keeping the vibe and the circle going," said Summit County resident and attendee of this year's gathering Caroline Foley. "I feel like the family makes any place that they are their home, and the circle and the family concepts exist in our daily lives."
Between 10,000 and 15,000 people gathered at Main Meadow last Tuesday in the gathering. The children at the gathering traversed to Center Circle from Kiddie Village and broke the silence - thousands of individuals collectively agreed to be quiet for an entire morning - which began at dawn. Before the kids reached the middle, the masses gathered and held hands in a giant curving form that was impeded by trees in spots. The rings of people toward the center of the crowd were literally circles, and the world flag (picture of the Earth) flew above all others.The crowd of individuals from all walks of life (Rainbow, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Wiccan, Rastafarian, members of the Baha'i faith, self-guided spiritual beings and many with atheistical perspectives) held hands in giant circles, made an Om vibration, raised their hands and cheered jubilantly before moving toward the music in Center circle or to other locations surrounding the meadow to speak kind words and hug each other."You are the Earth, and she is you; Gaia, mama, big and blue. Make a piece of heaven right here in this space. Do a little good for the human race," sang Dianivy on Monday afternoon at the gathering as she whaled some chord progressions on her guitar. Her son, Forest, helped strum, as his mother sang her original tune, "Eco Mama."Dianivy has two boys (one is black and one is white) and a band, Mystery School, that takes an extra step to provide content along with the entertainment.During the days, people worked together to cook, dig toilets and purify water. They ate meals together, taught each other's children, talked, traded possessions, made love and shared knowledge and craft."We're trying to spread awareness about honoring God's creation and vegetarianism," said Rick Hershey, who was in charge of the Christian Vegetarian Association booth and is the president of the St. Louis Vegetarian Society.
At night, the gathering was dominantly musical. Drum circles, jam sessions, stories and songs could be stumbled upon in nearly every camp among the dozens.Rainbow ink and wisdom"All Ways Free," the publication located at the Information booth inside the Rainbow Gathering at Big Red Park in Routt County/Medicine Bow National Forest, stood out among the numerous print-outs scattered throughout the groups and individuals for its depth of subject matter and range of contributors.The bylines include doctors, philanthropists, artists, spiritual moguls and a guy called "The Butterfly Man" who breaks down the science of butterfly pollination and encourages us all to save monarch butterflies from "Monster-Santo."The articles include an account of the Rainbow Family's heavy involvement in feeding and healing refugees from Hurricane Katrina, a meditation on the vitality of yoga and its beneficialness for everyday living, "Accupressure for the whole family," political news and judicial news regarding the 2005 gathering in West Virginia.
Robbie Gordon from the All Ways Free editorial staff writes:Our Rainbow Family is now just what we old-timers hoped: a folk movement, with a life and evolution of its own, apart from its founders. "Youngers" are making their own styles in our family.This folk movement will go on, without leaders. Yet, experience still has much to teach us all.Gordon's editorial goes on to offer advice to the younger generations of the family, which are also reminders for the older folks. He asks that people spend hours listening and minutes talking, that people would give away something fine to someone needy often, calls for moderation, agreeability and:Please - Nourish this loving organism, our Rainbow family of living light, with your best gifts.A sizeable amount of Rainbow Family members will continue to camp in the forest where the gathering occurred, loosening the hard-packed earth and reseeding some of the trampled land in an effort to leave no trace of the large event.