Some time ago, an enterprising member of Occupy Chicago decided to capitalize on the sudden influx of dirty hippies ahead of the NATO conference and put together an Occupy Festival, complete with a corporate registration and a very 1%-y “VIP section” where gourmet sustainable fare would be served to Occupiers willing to pay extra not to have to sit with, well, other Occupiers.
Unfortunately, at some point in the last few weeks, the irony became just too crushing and, despite its original promise, the recent release of the Occupy Album, the potential to be more underground than any other music festival this summer because no one is being paid to play, and will of the organizers, Occupy Chicago fest has been forced to shut down, or at least “postpone” until they have a clear idea of who they are, and…uh…where the money is going.
The organizers behind Occupy Festival, a two-day music-oriented festival originally scheduled for May 12-13 in Chicago’s Union Park, announced Tuesday that the event has been postponed.
The festival will be moved “to a yet to be determined date” after organizers “rework the format of the festival to ensure the event is done in a way that is consistent with the principles of the movement,” according a news release…
“We are not trying to brand Occupy or profiteer, we are trying to raise money for the movement and keep its momentum going in a good direction with messages through music and art. We are not trying to speak on behalf of the movement, we’re just looking to provide a different platform for people to speak out and utilize their creativity in support of a movement they believe in.”
You’ll be shocked to learn that there was no plan for the proceeds, even though ticket prices ranged from $25 for a one-day pass to $55 for a weekend pass. Until the festival was officially cancelled, the organizers refused to say exactly what was going to happen to the profit they stood to make from the event, only that in its next iteration, the Occupy movement will get 100% of the proceeds. It probably became clear that the organizers were intending to at least do something with the cash when they filed to be recognized as a corporation in the state of Illinois (you can easily grab their corporate certificate by searching the corporation’s name: SolidClarity, LLC. Like “solidarity” only not. Because its a corporation).
There were other complaints, too. The March 14th General Assembly minutes from Occupy Chicago list a host of complaint, from the title of “sponsor” being too corporate, the need to organize as a corporation (turns out it really helps you avoid liability, though they assured Occupy Chi that “Solid Clarity LLC are not a monolith corporation out to co-opt the Occupy Movement”), why people were insisting on being paid for things, whether the General Assembly would be allowed to vote on every single goddam detail of the event per Occupy’s guidelines, and who the organizers were going to solicit “donations” (NOT SPONSORSHIPS!) from. After all, corporations can’t accept donations from other corporations or for-profit institutions unless they’re labor unions or something.
I’m kind of sorry to see this go. After all, how were they going to determine who would get to play? A democratic process? Just everyone allowed to do whatever the hell they want? Will there be a dance off? Will the Russel Simmons/Jay-Z designer tee shirt be for sale? But its just as well. After all, how could Occupy Chicago afford to even donate? They’re already spending all that cash renting a $5600-per-month loft in East Pilsen for their “work” (that’s East Pilsen where the rich white hipsters live, not West Pilsen, which is where poor people happen to be).