The festival season begins with the 19th annual How Weird Street Faire on Sunday May 6, 2018. 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 celebrate peace, creativity, and weirdness.
On May 6th, a unique gathering of the tribes will take place. It will be a parody of the 1970s, and a very groovy time. There will be dancing in the streets at 10 stages of world-class electronic music, spectacular performances, fantastic foods, unique vendors, visionary art, and inspiring creativity.
Feel the funk! Be the boogie! Get groovy!
The theme for 2018 is “The Disco Ball Inferno”, looking back at a time of high weirdness and shiny things. It was a simpler time, a funkier time, a more colorful time. It was a time of bellbottoms and big collars. A time of big cars and bigger hair. A time when lava lamps lit the land, and rocks were pets. This faire is dedicated to all the generations of people that have danced together, and taken their dance to the weird level. Keep on dancing!
The How Weird Street Faire 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.
How Weird 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 ideas and digital tools. The area is also home to a large concentration of art galleries and museums. How Weird 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 four main entrances to the faire are at Howard and 1st Streets, at Howard and New Montgomery Streets, Folsom and 2nd 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.
We ask that everyone come in costume to the faire. Come as the you you’ve always wanted to be. Come as a character from the 1970s. Be something colorful and inspiring and weird. Weird is always in style.
May 6, 2018 is officially “How Weird Day”, as declared by the Board of Supervisors of the city and county of San Francisco. San Francisco deserves a holiday that celebrates weirdness, creativity, and peace. So do all people. Festivities include dancing and the inaugural How Weird Day Parade. The parade will start at Howard and 1st Street at 2 pm and wind its way through the faire, complete with marching bands and assorted weirdness. The parade will stop at 2:22 pm near Tehama and 1st Street at the Green Alley stage, where the founder of the faire Brad Olsen will read the San Francisco Proclamation declaring How Weird Day. Then, the parade continues with more dancing and weirdness.
It is traditional for people to dress in unusually colorful attire for How Weird Day, often evoking smiles from passersby. Most schools and banks are closed for How Weird Day, and many people have the day off of work, mostly because it is on Sunday.
Art Alley will be overflowing with sensational delights this year, along Tehama Street near 2nd Street. There will be live and exhibited artwork and local art and craft vendors.
Green Alley will be an exhibition of hemp and cannabis culture also on Tehama Street, near 1st Street. Green Alley will feature select exhibitors, the Canna Education Center with a wide range of activities, educational opportunities, and visionary presentations. Plus downtempo music by Six Degrees Records. Green Alley is open to all How Weird Street Faire participants. There will be information and networking, but no sales of cannabis at the faire.
The How Weird Street Faire features some of the top stage producers, DJs, and sound systems on the planet. Many 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 their love of dance.
The legendary soundtrack for The Disco Ball will be provided by diverse Northern California sound collectives featuring a wide range of electronic dance music by local and international artists. This year will have stages from Symbiosis, CCC, Muti Music, Enchanted Forest, Northern Nights, Opel, Opulent Temple, Tantra, Fusion, Six Degrees Records, Mountain Lion Hi-Fi, SomaFM, and the Think You Can DJ Game Show.
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 2018 festival season. How Weird features an unusually diverse shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Check the Magic Pass page to see who will be there, and what specials they will be offering.
And stop by the central Info Booth, to chill and learn about peace. That’s where the Lost & Found will be located, How Weird t-shirts for sale, as well as the answers to all of your faire questions. The Info Booth will be on 2nd Street at Howard, at the center intersection.
$20 is the cost of the Magic Pass, which comes with even more magic. Enjoy all that the faire has to offer! You will enjoy discounts and specials and fun activities and many free things at the faire vendors. The Magic Pass is your ticket to a world of fun and adventure, and it makes you look great. You can get the Magic Pass at the faire main entrances, or you can get them online before the faire. The Magic Pass is required for entry to the faire this year.
We recommend getting the presale Magic Pass so you save money, save time when you arrive at the separate presale entrances, and show your early support for the faire. It has become very expensive to produce the faire in the middle of San Francisco.
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 VIP Lounge tucked away from the crowds. There will be couches, tables, chairs, bathrooms, and a bar. Plus you will get two free drinks! And there will be some special entertainment for the lounge. The extra weirdness is $50, and comes with the world famous Magic Pass.
Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” So we gather to bring about a change in consciousness. 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 19th annual How Weird Street Faire
“The Disco Ball Inferno”
Sunday May 6, 2018 from Noon to 8pm
Centered at Howard and 2nd Streets, San Francisco, Earth
$20 for a Magic Pass at the faire.
Use the hashtag #hwsf to talk about the How Weird Street Faire.
More info at HowWeird.org
The evolution of music festivals from 1967 to How Weird 2018
People have been gathering to enjoy music and dancing for as long as there have been humans. Festivals of all sorts occur around the world. All these gatherings used to be tied to religious events or political events, or time-based events like the solstice. The idea of a festival of art and music for its own sake is a new invention. The seeds of which were the many different countercultural gatherings of the early to mid-1960s.
The first major gathering to bring many of those groups into a cohesive whole was the Trips Festival on January 21–23, 1966. It was the biggest of all the Acid Tests, a three day extravaganza at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco. Diverse groups of people came to check it out, curious to find out what all the technicolor hype was about. Later that year, an experimental gathering called the Love Pageant Rally took place in San Francisco. It was at that event, on October 6, 1966, that the concept of a Human Be-In was formed. It was envisioned by Michael Bowen and Alan Cohen as a way to bring all the different tribes of countercultures together. They wanted to use the event to raise people’s consciousness, and spread waves of peace and love around the world at a time when it was much needed.
The Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In took place on January 14, 1967 in Golden Gate Park of San Francisco. The event did bring all the tribes together, to enjoy each other’s company and soak in the music, art, talks, and prayers that happened that day. So many people came, that it created a sense of destiny being fulfilled. The Human Be-In was the prototype of the modern music festival that we enjoy today. Before that, groups of rock bands had never performed together outdoors in a festival environment. It was also the beginning of the fabled Summer of Love, the first “festival season” of modern times.
Soon there were Be-In’s in every major city, joined by Love-In’s and weekend concerts, all growing in popularity. On June 10-11, 1967, the KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at the Mount Tamalpais Amphitheatre molded the concept into more of the shape we know today. It featured a full line-up of psychedelic rock bands, blues artists, and performers, and it called itself a “music festival”. The cultural phenomenon was refined further two weeks later at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 16–18, 1967. Here the festival structure was exposed to a mainstream audience, and they loved it. The summer of 1967 was filled with many festivals, gatherings, concerts, and happenings. These would continue year after year, reaching a peak at Woodstock in 1969. The idea of a festival season spread rapidly, and by 1970 there were music festivals everywhere. Then came the discos that brought dancing to the mainstream.
The spectacle of the psychedelic dance club was given a slick makeover in the 1970s, and brought to cities and towns around the world. Disco was the awkward teen years of dance culture development, lacking in creativity what it made up for with enthusiasm and popularity. Suddenly, dance culture became mainstream, and then a parody of itself. The eternal longing to dance in community was manifest in weird ways during the 1970s, laying the foundation for what would come.
The next generation came of age in the aftermath of disco, and embraced a new form of music and art made possible by new digital tools. The evolution of electronic dance music led to a creative blossoming in 1988-1989 called the Second Summer of Love. It was then that the seeds of a music festival for electronic music were formed, inspired by the beach parties of Ibiza and Goa. They called these gatherings raves, and lived by a motto that was the same as in 1967… peace, love, unity, and respect. This new generation of music festivals took their form from the many rock and art festivals that had preceded them, combined with the rich history of tribal cultures and traditional music and dance. The new culture spread rapidly, filling every corner of the planet, becoming the most widespread culture ever known.
As it grew, electronic dance music culture diversified and branched into different genres, becoming specialized tribes with similar cultures. It was one of these genres, psytrance music, that took root in San Francisco and embraced the inspirational history of experimental psychedelic culture. Beginning with a group called the Consortium of Collective Consciousness, some truly transformational gatherings were created. From this tribe, came the How Weird Street Faire. The faire was envisioned as a way to bring all the different tribes of electronic dance music together, and allow them to experience each others cultures, and basically become one big diverse family. It was a way of creating peace within our own community, and being an inspiration to others.
Now, 19 years later, the How Weird Street Faire has become the official start to San Francisco’s famous festival season. The faire is the modern equivalent to the Human Be-In, representing the next generation of experimental gatherings. How Weird fuses many types of events together to make a unique blend. There are elements of electronic music festivals and rock festivals, art festivals and craft festivals, circuses and performances, Burning Man and regional events, clubs and raves, cultural and neighborhood street fairs, peace and activist activities, parades and protests, community events and spiritual services, and just plain weirdness. Combined they represent all the different countercultures of today. How Weird brings them together for one day, to celebrate our similarities and appreciate our differences. And the public is invited to join in the experience. By doing so, we are contributing to the connection and expansion of consciousness, and the evolution of humanity. Join us as we take gatherings, and ourselves, further. We still have a ways to go.
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.