In 1965, the Grateful Dead created a new form of “concert style” and subculture in San Francisco. This following, which some would call ‘cult-like,’ has flowed into American culture and all across the globe. From the Dead there followed bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, Moe., and many more jam-band offspring. Creating a ‘jam-band and festival’ scene around this world that has created its own marketplaces, barter and trade avenues, and on the road living expenses. For these latter examples, I feel that bitcoin would be an excellent addition to the festival circuit.
The Grateful Dead finished its last shows this summer without Jerry Garcia but with the remaining members of the band. Frontman for the band Phish, Trey Anastasio took Garcia’s role for the shows. The final concerts at Soldiers field in Chicago had crowds of over 61,000 deadheads and Phish fans in attendance. With Phish concerts and festivals comes a very large following of people. A very unique aspect of shows and jam band events is a giant market that forms around the entire parking lot. I believe bitcoin (BTC) could be of great use to these markets and followers.
Many things are bought and sold at the pre-show and after-show jam-band markets. Unique items all across the lot can be bought, sold, and even traded “on lot.” Goods like tee shirts, food and edibles, hemp jewelry, precious stones, glass pipes and beads, and many other items. Along with this market, comes a strip of walking and bustling people called “Shakedown Street,” where everyone gathers to sell in a very centralized location in a very decentralized fashion at every show.
This is the densest selling spot at most jam band shows. Unfortunately, there are certain items, where selling can have its downfalls and shelling out various amounts of cash can get you into trouble. Mainly due to the undercover law enforcement officials, theatre and park authorities, and local police at the venue.
When selling tee-shirts for instance at a show band associates and theater officials can confiscate your goods and cash. If people sold their shirts and wound up getting their backpack of goods stolen from officials they might be better off using bitcoin instead. They may not lose their money. If there is no cash to confiscate the only thing they can take is your goods. They have no access to your bitcoin wallet. The same goes for food vendors and anyone selling anything at these festivals and shows.
If tables of vendors get broken up by police and some don’t have a license to sell, at least they won’t lose all the money collected prior. Bitcoin can be sent to the merchant instantly and securely to any noncustodial and custodial wallet. The customer doesn’t need to whip out wads of cash in a large crowd to conduct business. A mere phone-to-phone transaction can happen instantly.
The Bitcoin network comes with speed, and simplicity. Transaction fees are zero to very little, as compared to mobile credit services. These kinds of savings could go a long way for travelers using their selling profits to fund tour. Credit card companies and Paypal cannot compete with bitcoin’s fees. These savings can fuel the Volkswagen bus and help many more on the road expenses. While on these long road trips Paypal accounts and credit services can freeze, which could damper a good tour. Bitcoin never freezes and you can use your money 24/7, at any time of you’re choosing.
Another aspect of the Bitcoin network that should be appealing to the festival scene, is that the money isn’t being distributed through a central entity. What kind of neo-hippie likes to give their money to corporations and governments? Not this one. The Bitcoin network doesn’t feed the current machine. It rages against it. With every transaction in the blockchain comes a swift stab at the fascist and oligarchic authorities. What subculture wouldn’t want to take part in this activity? The protocol is the perfect money for the sharing economy.
Decentralizing money for the people and the festival scene would fit perfectly with this ideology. Due to the large size of these festivals such as the Gathering of the Vibes, and Magna Ball, which can have upwards of over 100,000 people charities take place often. Charities such as the Waterwheel Foundation and more have shown what the festival circuit can do for certain causes. Bitcoin could tremendously advance these efforts. By having negligible fees charities could gain a lot more funding by cutting costs.
When credit card fees can be upwards of 2-3% you can clearly see the savings, and this extra can go towards the nonprofit. With the Grateful Dead gone and festivals and bands like Phish taking the reigns now, these jam bands and their followers (aka heads) should read into this technology and find out how it can enhance their subculture. A currency and application that works in a very decentralized manner, with complimentary pseudo-anonymity, is the perfect tool for the current festival circuit, and Phish tour that’s coming around the bend this summer.
Heads can keep their wealth from being stolen by police and event staff. Customers on the lot don’t have to whip out cash in public. Charity and funding can happen by the thousands in real-time, without the dramatic fees. Fascism and corporate monopolies are swiftly swept off the marketplaces and ‘shakedown streets’ can create a genuine ecosystem with principles. Bitcoin is Also Sprach Zarathustra and Shakedown Street combined.
Network nodes can be “the people’s” transitive nightfall of diamonds bringing many new lights to the festival scene.
Tags in this story
Bitcoin Acceptance, festivals, Grateful Dead, jam bands, news, Phish
What do you think of festivals integrating Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 5,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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