Right up front, I want to thank reader, supporter, and friend GL for making the trip possible -- five days plus or minus at that the end of PorcFest and beginning of ForkFest was the vacation I kind of knew I needed but couldn't really figure out how to take until someone else offered to do the bulk of the paying and working to make it happen. It was just a great, great time.
And, as soon as I got home, I found out that I was very lucky to have finally made it this year instead of waiting until next year to try. Listen to last night's Free Talk Live to find out why (and, not related to why, the show opens with Aria DiMezzo giving me a chance to prove what a boring radio guest I am).
Over the years, PorcFest has been better and worse at different times, in the opinions of those I've heard from about it. Last year's was apparently quite good and many people seemed to think this year's was the best ever.
But now it's set to get worse again as the organizers of PorcFest proper attempt to capture more of the potential money and accuse ForkFest evangelists (there are no real "organizers") of "theft of services" for having the gall and temerity to bring more people to PorcFest without also running everything those people might happen to do through PorcFest's revenue-capturing mechanisms. So the PorcFest people are apparently doing things like buying out the campground for next year so that one can't show up early to ForkFest without also buying a PorcFest package, and probably to prevent would-be ForkFest vendors from serving PorcFest attendees without paying PorcFest something.
Now hear this: I probably wouldn't have been that interested in PorcFest if it wasn't for ForkFest.
It's not that PorcFest is bad. I did attend and enjoy some of the formal events.
But let's face it: If I want to hear Scott Horton or Tom Woods or Jeffrey A. Tucker speak, I can click on a podcast link. And if I want to see/meet one of them in person, there are a bunch of events, year-round, that don't require me to fly 1400 miles, drive 2 1/2 hours, and live in a tent for several days to do so.
My real interest in being there was based on seeing old friends (and physically meeting some of them for the first time). Sitting around shooting the shit (possibly with the assistance of certain chemical compounds). Watching the Free Talk Live crew do a show (recorded because they were doing it in the fucking wilderness, but still).
For those things, PorcFest was only useful in that it brought some of those people out to that place. And PorcFest made money from my activity because it did that, not because it had its own events. ForkFest is in some respects the goose that lays a golden egg for PorcFest, and apparently PorcFest wants to kill the goose.