Oregon, USA. At a festival inherits the hippie culture, seeing an unrealistic scene and realize that I have changed my outlook on life.
Portland is the most famous city in Oregon, then Eugene is the second biggest city. This city of Eugene is famous that Hippie culture (counter-culture) is penetrated. There are many youngsters since there is “University of Oregon”. This is the place that many liberal people live.
I have stayed this city in the late 80s for a couple of months. People is, in general, happy and liberal, some people looks like real Hippie. In 2019 of my re-visit on this city, I have seen Hippie looking aged couple, walking youngster carrying ukurere on the back on the street. In downtown, there was “Saturday Market”. I have found people playing a guitar, playing violins, and have felt peaceful and liberal atmosphere.
On my visit in 2007, while walking on the street in downtown, I was asked by two persons separately. The first person was the middle-aged man and asking me ” I have a trouble and asking if you would purchase this car material in this bag”, the second person was the young lady and asking me the place to go. It is just 5 minutes between these two persons. This must be one good example that many liberal people live in this city since people ask oriental person (me) freely which is minor in this town.
Well, there is one event, that can feel the Hippie culture, held in July every year, at the outside of Eugene. It is “Oregon Country Fair”. On my first visit in 2007, I was very surprised that there is this kind of event. Location is just in the forest. Event space is spotted into the forest. Music, Dancing, Speaking event are held and shop/food stalls are lined up, along the pathway.
It is very surprising to me that many visitors wear the Hippie style cloth, wearing psychedelic costume, wearing with angel wings which is a symbol of this event, wearing colorful tights, almost naked. In addition, many people are walking barefoot. Furthermore, many men are naked above the waist, and some ladies are also naked above the waist. On my first visit, I feel dizzy intensively, as walking on the pathway, since it is the “Amazing Space” for me who lives normally in Tokyo Japan.
There are many event spaces in the forest. The most impressed space was “Drum Tower”. There is one specific place with audience seats. There is a space in front, fully-packed approx. 30 people. At the side of the space including the audience seats, people with handy type drum are hitting the drum freely. People gather in the space on the center, then some people really get crazy for dancing. By increasing the tension of these dancing people, drumming power increases. People with drum are just participated onto this space freely. Drumming sound can be heard all day in this space, someone is always hitting the drum in this space.
There is another favorite place, “Split Tower”. The event called “Spoken Word” is held in this space. “Having a free speech” is the basic concept, when some people start a speech, some audiences raise the voice and correspondences start, erupt into cheers and applause. Contents include such as “the story for new voting system”, “talking about new therapy system”. It is very natural that correspondences between speaker and audiences start and this must be one proof that this area of people have a liberal mind.
While walking, I am thrilled when finding the hanging curtain indicating “Dismantle White Supremacy” or people with a signboard indicating “No Smart Phone, No 5G”. While, I feel relieved by seeing the scene when people meet an acquaintance suddenly on the pathway, then gives a hug each other.
There are several music stages. There was a stage by cover band of “Greateful Dead”, another stage had a speech with background live music. In addition, a couple of member start playing music just at the side of pathway, then people gather. I could find a wonderful space.
Compared to 2007 and 2019 of my visits, I have felt that number of people walking barefoot and naked above the waist is decreased in 2019. As might be expected, 10 years change the situation, but it is still very valuable place and space that maintain “a spirit of Hippie” and “counter culture”.
Saying in an exaggerated manner, some people may change a “view of life”. This is such a kind of event. I strongly recommend to go there and get into the “Unreal and Amazing Space”.
Visited in 2007 and 2019.
■ Name of Place : Oregon Country Fair
■ Address : 24207 OR-126, Veneta, OR 97487, USA
■ Homepage : https://www.oregoncountryfair.org/
(described on Aug 29 2019)