“I can tell you in advance that you will not enjoy this meeting.” The words of the local mayor surprise me for not more than a second. Sooner or later, this had to come. “We have decided that we will not give you the permit for your yearly festival.” After this meeting, Salome the chairlady, Jan Jaap and I will each have a seven euro beer. It’s only when they present the bill that I will let my anger out. Such things ought to be dosed.
“When they ask you for your name, don’t give it to them. They will hold you responsible for everything that happens.” Colan has entered the Coffee Barack -my old house- and it seems to me as if he tries to move us to a mental war against the state. In the past week, we have done all in our capacity to cut back the growing feeling that the absent permit is just another expression of the increasing party repression by governments all over Europe. I think this case is different: we have an open communication channel with the municipality, and we’d like to keep it that way.
There is another tendency: in the past decade, the droef festival has grown enormously. Outsiders have lobbied in Droevendaal, persuading inhabitants to allow a party in their house. Some of these parties had darkened the atmosphere at some specific spots. Last year this seems to have withheld the police to enter our terrain because the were afraid. The Droevendalers, of course, have always prevented trouble. This place is their home.
We have moved the earth and the skies to scale Droeffest 2012 down. Steered two hundred inhabitants into a new direction. The police seemed to threaten us this morning, sending a constant stream of police cars over our terrain, visible and undercover, fining those who’d parked their cars in front of their own house. We have greeted them friendly, tolerated their threats and shown them there is more to life than rules and control. The party is great as always. Smaller, decentralised, but the atmosphere is as it sould be: relaxed and connected. Bands play in gardens, DJs bring about a silly mess and beer and rum – though hidden – are as available as ever. The theme: Pirates in Wonderland.
One week later the story is not over: it’s merely a start. It’s an example of how a mass of people can be wiser than their anger. More caring than self destructive, even in the face of such childish governmental futilities. On October 10th, we will go back to the municipality, holding the facts. We will ask the fines back and show them diplomatically, how childishly they were playing this game. We will demonstrate the redundancy of some rules and negotiate a new course. I hope this will become an example of how non-commercial organizations, groups without money, can prevail with merely the powers of reciprocity and reason. Searching for a path where freedom is achieved not against, but together with the other.