The festival season begins with the 18th annual How Weird Street Faire on Sunday May 7, 2017. For one day only, in the emerging heart of downtown San Francisco, there will be a sensational spectacle. Join thousands of people in colorful costumes from around the world, who have come together to affirm our unity, generate waves of joy, and expand our consciousness.
On May 7th, a unique gathering of the tribes will occur in downtown San Francisco for a Celebration of Peace. It will be a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, and a modern manifestation of the next generation of creative countercultures. There will be dancing in the streets at 11 stages of world-class electronic music, spectacular performances, fantastic foods, unique vendors, visionary art, inspiring creativity, and peace technology exhibits.
Turn on, tune in, and be weird.
The theme for 2017 is “Summer of Weird”, paying tribute to the cultural pioneers that inspired us and paved the way forward. The SF Oracle proclaimed in 1967, “A new concept of celebrations must emerge, become conscious, and be shared, so a revolution can be formed with a renaissance of compassion, awareness, and love, and the revelation of unity for all mankind.” The Human Be-In on January 14, 1967 became the template for a new type of conscious event, inspiring the evolution of music and art festivals leading us directly to the How Weird Street Faire. How Weird is proud to continue the great San Francisco tradition of taking culture further.
How Weird is a menagerie of attractions, including a world renowned music festival featuring 10 stages of different styles of dance music, an open air art festival filling an expanded Art Alley, a unique market of interesting vendors and delicious food, and a platform for performers of every type. The faire is from Noon to 8pm. Get there early to enjoy all of the fun.
The How Weird Street Faire is centered at Howard and 2nd Streets, or 37°47’12.4″ N, 122°23’53.7″ W. The faire is located in the SoMa district, what has become the center of the technology industry for the city, and perhaps the world. How Weird attracts many of the area’s innovative technologists and internet pioneers, who are making a profound effect on the world with their digital tools. The area is home to a large concentration of art galleries and museums. How Weird also attracts many types of artists and lovers of art and culture. The faire, the area, and the participants represent the convergence of art and technology, the fusion of creativity and possibilities. How Weird is a place where evolutionary ideas can form, paving the way for fresh perspectives and new ways of viewing the world.
This year, the three main entrances to the faire are at Howard and 1st Streets, at Howard and New Montgomery Streets, and at Mission and 2nd Streets. We recommend taking public transportation to the faire. The How Weird Street Faire is located a short walk from Market Street and the Montgomery BART station, as well as Caltrains Station, Transbay Terminal, and many MUNI lines.
The How Weird Street Faire is filled with thousands of people in colorful costumes. We ask that everyone come in costume to the faire. Come as the you you’ve always wanted to be. Be something colorful and inspiring and weird. Weird is always in style. The Magic Button is the perfect compliment to every costume.
Art Alley will be overflowing with sensational delights this year, filling Tehama Street from 2nd to 1st Streets. There will be a new interactive craft area from San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design, next to the new Cirque du Soleil lounge. Surrounding that will be live and exhibited artwork and local art vendors. At either end of Art Alley will be music stages from San Francisco cultural institutions. At 2nd Street there is ambient music from SomaFM, online radio pioneers who will broadcast their music during the day. At 1st Street there is downtempo to psytrance music from the CCC, the artist collective which gave birth to the How Weird Street Faire and the World Peace Through Technology Organization. Otherwise known as the Consortium of Collective Consciousness. At the CCC stage, there will be a historical exhibition showcasing the story of one of San Francisco’s great counterculture moments, from 1994 to 2001, and now continuing at How Weird 2017.
Across from Art Alley, on Tehama Street, will be Green Alley. It will be a first of its kind cannabis related exhibition area. In addition to educational opportunities and workshops, there will be a dub music stage hosted by Mountain Lion Hi-Fi. There will be no sales of cannabis at the faire.
Also new this year is Circus Alley on Minna Street, featuring aerial performances by Skyhigh Odditorium and a circus lounge by Cirque du Soleil.
A revolution you can dance to!
Barbara Wohl, a member of the SF Mime Troupe, described the Summer of Love in a way that could equally apply to How Weird, “Suddenly thousands of young people were dancing to this electric music in events that became rites of passage for a new community. Everybody was dancing, the world had a need to dance and everybody was a participant in it.”
The How Weird Street Faire features some of the top stage producers, DJs, and sound systems on the planet. All of the different genres of electronic music are represented on the various stages, creating a very diverse music festival. How Weird is an annual reunion of the tribes for electronic music dancers of all sorts. United in the love of dance. Electronic dance music culture is the first truly global counterculture, reaching it’s own moment of growth during what is now called the “Second Summer of Love” in 1988-1989, centered in the UK and Europe.
The legendary soundtrack to the Summer of Weird will be provided by the CCC, Symbiosis, SomaFM, Muti Music, Enchanted Forest, Northern Nights, Pulse SF, Temple Nightclub, Mountain Lion Hi-Fi, Underground Nomads, Come-Unity, Santa Cruz Cypher Sessions, and more.
And there will be a Beer Circus by Lagunitas off the center intersection with exciting performances and games.
The How Weird Street Faire is filled with vendors from around the world selling unique and designer goods. From clothing to art to jewelry and accessories, you can find interesting things and new styles for the beginning of the 2017 festival season. How Weird features an unusually diverse shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Check the Magic Button page to see who will be there, and what specials they will be offering.
Stop by the central Info Booth, to chill and learn about peace. That’s where the Lost & Found will be located, as well as the answers to all of your faire questions.
The Magic Button
Introducing a one time special offer… the collectible metal pin button for 2017.
$20 is the cost of the Magic Button, which comes with even more magic. Enjoy all that the faire has to offer! You can enjoy lots of discounts and fun specials and many free things, at all of the faire vendors and bars. Plus you can show off your support for the faire. The Magic Button is your ticket to a world of fun and adventure, and it makes you look great. You can get the Magic Button at the faire main entrances, or you can get them online before the faire.
We recommend getting the presale Magic Buttons, so you can save money, save time when you arrive at the separate presale entrances, and show your early support. It has become very expensive to produce the faire in the middle of San Francisco, and your contributions keep it going.
If you really want to show your support for the faire in style, get the Exceptionally Weird VIP Experience. Treat yourself to a world of comfort with access to a special lounge tucked away from the crowds. There will be couches, tables, chairs, a couple of bathrooms, and a bar. You will get two free drinks and a poster of the faire! Plus there will be some special entertainment for the lounge. The extra weirdness is $50, and comes with the world famous Magic Button.
The How Weird Street Faire celebrates acceptance and appreciates diversity. Leave your fear behind.
The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the educational nonprofit World Peace Through Technology Organization, inspiring peace and showing the world what is possible.
The 18th annual How Weird Street Faire
“The Summer of Weird”
Sunday May 7, 2017 from Noon to 8pm
Centered at Howard and 2nd Streets, San Francisco, Earth
$20 for a Magic Button at the faire.
Use the hashtag #hwsf to talk about the How Weird Street Faire.
More info at HowWeird.org
THE COMPONENTS OF A PEACE EVENT
Music is a bridge, connecting everyone. Music is the ideal medium for crossing barriers, and uniting diverse people. Music knows no boundaries. More than any other form of communication, music is able to transcend differences between people. Music has the power to change us physically, directly affecting the emotions and the chemical balance of the body. Music inspires us and takes us to other places. Music can lift our spirits and increase our creativity. Music can heal people. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said recently, “There are no languages required in the musical world. In this era of instability and intolerance we need to promote better understanding through the power of music.”
Electronic music plays a key role in the How Weird Street Faire, and one of the reasons why the faire attracts people from all over the world. Electronic music is the most diverse and globally listened to music in human history. Every culture and every country has DJs playing and creating music, and communities forming wherever people dance together. In some places it is the mainstream culture, in others it is alternative or underground, but electronic music is present everywhere on the planet.
How Weird features the full spectrum of electronic music styles, bringing different communities together to connect them to each other and encourage cooperation and mutual appreciation. This gathering of the tribes at How Weird creates a unique music festival that is always full of surprises. Faire participants are encouraged to see and experience all the different music stages, and try something new. Great care has been taken by each stage to create a high quality environment to enjoy the music and dancing, and have a maximum amount of fun. Electronic music is a good choice of music for helping to create peace, as represented by the cultural motto of “peace, love, unity, and respect”.
Dance is a fun activity that everyone can participate in, and find common ground and similar interest with anyone else. It is a very effective way of connecting with others. Dance and music are powerful ways to reach a deep meditative state, used for thousands of years with much success. A meditative state is helpful for bringing inner peace, and building the foundations for lasting peace with others. Dancing in a group also synchronizes the individuals on a collective level, enabling deeper understanding and acceptance of others, and forming coherence among the group. In spite of our differences, when we dance to the same beat, we become one.
A Cambridge University study published in the Psychology of Music journal in 2012 found that “interacting with others through music makes us more emotionally attuned to other people,” resulting in an increase of compassion and understanding of others. Another article in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion in 2011, called “Synchrony and the Social Tuning of Compassion” described how “synchronized movement evokes compassion” in groups of people. Science is noticing the same things that we did, that dancing together creates very deep connections and increases empathy, which leads to peace. As Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at Cambridge University, explained, “Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.”
For the third year, the How Weird Street Faire will participate in National Dance Week, a massive celebration of all forms of dance. At the center intersection on Howard Street will be a special dance stage featuring diverse styles of dance, and world beat music. Cultures all over the planet have enjoyed dance since before the written word, it is a universal expression of life. As Nelson Mandela once said, “It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world.”
Visual art, like music and dance, is a form of communication that bridges separations, and speaks directly to the heart and soul. Art can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of others. How Weird showcases many kinds of expression, including visionary art. We found that being surrounded by visionary art helps to recreate those states of awareness, and lay the foundation for deeper connections and understanding to take place. Music, dance, and art have always been recognized as having powerful effects on human consciousness, and being a fundamental part of our existence.
BECOMING MORE AWARE
The How Weird Street Faire tries to raise people’s consciousness through music, art, dancing, and ideas. By viewing the world from a wider perspective, the connections between us become more apparent, as well as our common interests. By raising our level of awareness and understanding, we make it easier to live in peace, to develop connections between people, and to find solutions to the many problems facing humanity at this time. As Albert Einstein explained, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
The How Weird Street Faire celebrates extreme diversity and individual expression. Those attending and participating in the faire are a vast multitude from all over the planet, and perhaps other planets as well, representing a very unique and interesting mix of sentient beings. All of them potentially finding common ground and connecting with each other and new communities. Every continent on Earth, with the exception of Antarctica, is represented at the faire. There are babies and small children to young adults to elderly, and all in between. There are very wealthy attendants, and struggling students and artists. There are people of different politics and religions and perspectives, that have chosen to attend the same faire and enjoy the same activities. The extreme diversity of people at How Weird is testament to the universal appeal of inspiring art and music, and the desire of all people to celebrate peace. That deep connections are made, and a collective cohesion is formed, is proof that these elements can unite even the most extreme differences.
The faire is open to people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all points of view. Everyone is encouraged to be accepting of others, and to appreciate the differences between us. One faire participant explained why he liked the faire, “Instead of trying to bring us all into one line, we all get to enjoy what makes us different.” A visitor from the United Kingdom last year exclaimed, “I loved how expressive and accepting everyone was.” Strategic Retreat blog wrote, “Weird it was. The weirdness was only outshone by how inclusive and fun it was.”
AN OPEN MIND (or as we say “being weird”)
We chose the name “How Weird” as a play on Howard Street, the street where the faire took place. At first, we thought everyone would see the play on words, and didn’t really appreciate our own weirdness. Over the years, we grew to embrace being weird. We found that celebrating weirdness encouraged people to freely express themselves, and readily accept others. If everyone is weird, all viewpoints are equally valid, and everyone has an opportunity to be appreciated. Suddenly, the person who was an outsider is now a valuable part of the community. Differences between people become so great, that they become something interesting and amusing rather than dividing. Similarities that would usually remain elusive are brought out, enabling connections where none could have been imagined before. Being weird means doing things differently, and seeing the world in a unique way. Being weird enables us to step outside of preconceived notions and stereotypes, and think things we normally wouldn’t think. Having a festival of weirdness is an excellent way to open people’s minds, and prepare them to accept others no matter how different they are.
We weren’t the only ones who noticed these traits of weirdness. Being weird used to evoke emotions of fear and intolerance. In our modern world of rapid changes and extreme complexity, weird has become a desirable attribute, especially in the technology industry, which continues to play a major role in How Weird’s regional environment and immediate neighborhood. Weird has become associated with being creative and innovative. Thinking in a weird way has become the popular key to “stepping outside of the box”, as we try to solve the planet’s problems, as well as our own. Being weird somehow plays a part in creating an effective peace event. Perhaps, like clowns and jesters, being weird gives people permission to tear down preconceptions and rewrite all the rules, placing them in a position to find new ways of living and interacting with others. Being weird encourages people to open their mind and accept new perspectives. Being weird allows people the opportunity to be outside of their usual way of doing and seeing things, and try a fresh approach. Plus being weird is fun.
Having people arrive in strange and colorful costumes reinforces the element of weirdness and unexpectedness, that anything is possible. At first, we just liked wearing costumes. But soon we noticed that it is an excellent way to encourage individual expression and acceptance of others. Costumes enable people to be themselves. Individual costumes break down the associations with groups or ideologies, and allow people to appreciate others based solely on their creativity and interests.
How Weird inspires peace by bringing people together and allowing them to experience a place where everyone is accepted no matter what their background is. At How Weird, everyone is appreciated for having a unique perspective that is valuable to the whole. We encourage having an open mind by embracing the weirdness within us all, the things we do differently, the things that make us unique. What political or religious affiliation someone has makes little difference when they are in an outrageous costume, dancing in the middle of the street. How Weird provides a place where people can be understood by their similar passions. At How Weird, people are surrounded by unexpected opportunities to connect with others and find common ground. Despite the extreme diversity at the faire, it is all one community.
The extreme participation of the faire goers, especially the costumes and dancing, encourages a level of acceptance and appreciation rarely seen at a public event. It is an environment that fully embraces inclusion and appreciation. By accepting others’ perspectives, we increase our capacity for empathy and understanding. Allowing yourself and others to be weird can be an important lesson in peace. In a place where everyone is weird, then every way of seeing things becomes equal, and differences are more appreciated. This leads to collective empathy and understanding. If this level of respect for each other was the standard way of dealing with each other, there would be no more wars.
The faire is a lot of fun. Peace is fun. Fun makes everything better. Having a positive attitude helps to connect with others and appreciate them. Plus it’s hard to fight when you’re having fun. Fun often results in smiles, which are very contagious. Smiles help to make people happy, even at a distance. And happy people are at peace.
Buckminister Fuller noticed that to create change, you need to built something new that makes the old way obsolete. We feel that in order to create a new world that is sustainable and at peace, we need to build something that is better and more fun. Peace is badly needed now, so that we may thrive on this planet and coexist with each other. It is through music, art, and the imagination that peace is always possible.
What is How Weird?
The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the educational non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization. The faire, like the non-profit, aims to inspire peace through music, art, ideas, raising consciousness, and the benevolent uses of technology. The faire is a musical and visual sensorium, a term used by Chet Helms to describe the Family Dog venue located in the former dance club of Playland at the Beach. The faire is also a paxorium, or place of peace, filled with thousands of people accepting and appreciating each other, connecting with each other, and forming one glorious community.
The faire and non-profit grew out of a community of artists called the Consortium of Collective Consciousness or CCC, which was formed 20 years ago. They were part of a larger movement that had spread around the planet. This new type of music and culture was made available by the use of extremely powerful new tools, especially the computer and internet. Suddenly, a whole unexplored world of possiblities opened up, limited only by one’s imagination. This global dance culture started in the industrial cities of America and Europe, and then blossomed in India before settling in San Francisco, where it merged with the area’s legendary alternative cultures, and created some truly amazing experiences. Throughout the years, and many changes, the How Weird Street Faire has maintained this cultural spark, focused on bringing people to a greater level of understanding and connection, and ultimately peace.
The Consortium of Collective Consciousness used advanced sound and light technology, inspired music and art, and active dancing to facilitate transcendent experiences which deeply affected the participants, and brought a greater awareness of themselves and the universe. In addition to the profound individual effects, the synchronized dancing brought the entire group to an even more elevated state of consciousness. This is similar to the experience had by people in cultures around the world for thousands of years. Only now, it was made far more potent through the available tools and global scale of the new culture.
Inspired by what was happening, and seeing it’s potential to bring peace to the world, a non-profit was created called “World Peace Through Technology” to explore the potential for connections and understanding through music and art, and find ways to inspire and create peace using technological tools and cultural gatherings. The CCC events had become too crowded, forcing the participants to be more and more limited. The new non-profit decided to create an event in the middle of the street in order to bring the transformative experiences out to public, and invite everyone to participate. A street faire was born on Howard Street, on the block outside of the CCC warehouse and World Peace Through Technology non-profit office. The same energy and experience that had been taking place indoors had now spilled out into the streets, without losing it’s intensity, and the rest is history.
For the first two years, the faire was a direct extension of the CCC community. This enabled the faire to grow, and attracted a wide variety of interesting people from all over the world. In 2001, the space that housed the CCC community was lost due to rising costs. The community became decentralized, and soon the events stopped. But the faire kept going, serving as a reunion of the CCC, and a gathering of more and more communities. As the faire expanded in size, both in attendance and physical space, more sound stages were added to the two original stages that were produced by the CCC. How Weird welcomed other dance music communities to join the celebration of peace, seeking to bring all the different tribes of dance music together and form one interconnected community. How Weird gives people a chance to learn about what the diverse dance music groups are doing, and get a taste of some of the world’s most vibrant culture and expression.
The How Weird Street Faire has been an experiment on how to create a peace event, one that allows “opposing” sides to find common ground and similarities, and to share in experiences that can lead to bonding and mutual understanding. We identified the essential elements of the Consortium of Collective Consciousness experience, including cutting-edge electronic music, synchronized group dance, inspiring visionary art, a collective expansion of consciousness, a very diverse group of people, an open mind, and a lot of fun. Then we applied them on a large scale in a public venue with amazing results. We found that those elements are the ideal ingredients to a peace event.
The need for creating peace has only grown in the years since we started the faire. We want to share what we have learned, and open source the elements of a peace event, in the hope that more of these events can help bring peace to the world.
We encourage all people to make their own peace events. We need gatherings that can bring different people together. Please let us know what you learn and what elements you find to be useful for bridging divides and connecting people. As the Dalai Lama explained, one of the best things that people can do to bring peace is to hold festivals with music and art that bring people together.