Copyright 1996, Kansas City Star
The following is a copy of an article printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site, Friday July 8, 1996
The Rainbow Family put their clothes back on Sunday and began their return to the material world. The U.S. Forest Service said the Rainbow Family's gathering in the Mark Twain National Forest began breaking up Sunday morning.About half of the 16,000 people at the gathering's July 4 peak have left. "There is an exodus in progress," said Forest Service spokesman Terry Miller.
The Rainbow Family, also known as the Rainbow Nation, is an anarchic group of hippies, bikers, and lovers of nature and peace and marijuana. For the Rainbows, the world is a corruption of materialism they call Babylon. Every year the Rainbows gather at wilderness locale to celebrate life with music, sex, sauterne and the obligatory public nudity. This year it began in mid-June in the national forest about five miles northeast of Thomasville, Mo.
Miller said the gathering came off with no major problems. "I know of two births," Miller said. "There were no deaths that I am aware of."
Miller said authorities carried out a drug raid Wednesday, seizing a little LSD and marijuana but arresting no one.
Putting 16,000 people together in the woods might tax the environment a bit - firewood was provided by mother nature, so were the toilet facilities. But Miller said the Rainbows are doing their part to keep the forest clean. "They will leave a contingent of 50 people through mid-August to work with the Forest Service to rehab the site," Miller said. "They have a good track record."
At the last gathering in Florida, the federal government sued the Rainbow Family, along with family members Wakeem, Two Bears, Butterfly and a host of others. The government wants the Rainbows to get permits before holding their gatherings. The Rainbows do not believe a government permit is necessary to become one with the universe and have so far failed to obtain the needed paperwork.
But Miller said the Rainbows don't go out of their way to cause problems for the Forest Service and always leave a broad hint where they will meet next.
He said the Rainbow's Vision Council is now deciding where to gather next year. "Before they leave here, they will leave word what region, maybe what state, even what national forest is next," Miller said.
For those who missed out this year, the easiest way to learn about the 1997 gathering is to keep an eye on the Rainbow Family's Internet home page: http://www.welcomehome.org.rainbow.html/.