This word Newkind means a lot to me. It means everything to me… And the emotion that it evokes in us all, the visions it inspires, the hope and the comfort that we each draw from it, and the love that you all pour forth for it, it comes with a heavy responsibility. It comes with a weight that must be carried with care and respect.
When I read you telling me that this is ‘the movement you have been preparing for your whole life’, or that you are here to give everything you have, or when you tell me of the dreams you have also had of it, when you give so much of yourselves so freely, I do not take that lightly. I do not take that lightly at all.
So when I say it comes with a weight I do not mean a heavy burden, but rather the weight of the respect that I ascribe your words and your feelings. It is the respect that I have for you, and your life force and your words, that causes me to take so seriously each and every move and turn that this movement takes.
Everything from obeying road rules when entering and leaving the festival site, to the taste and timeliness of the food, the calibre of inspirational speakers, the clarity of our collective message for change and even the cleanliness of the toilets, all weigh on my mind and keep me up at night.
Not for a few months of the year, or even most of the year, but for every single that it exists. Much like having a child; once it is born, you never don’t have a child anymore. Near or far, you always have part of your awareness on the safety, security and well-being of your child. Even when asleep.
On top of that, there is the love each of you has poured into making this thing come to life that makes it even more precious to me. Though we gather once a year to celebrate our progress and prepare for further activism and change, there is never a moment that Newkind is not on my mind. Newkind is my breath now and it controls the rhythm of my heart.
Every piece of positive feedback or wonderful memory you share with me makes my heart rush with joy, and every blemish, detraction or shortcoming that I might have been able to foresee and mitigate against, causes my heart to race and my whole world goes dark for a moment or two.
I am not doing this for shits and giggles, and I know how seriously many of you also take this. This is one of those forever things. This is one of those roots firmly planted grow tall things. This is one of those inextinguishable things. Those once released untamable things. It is not a festival or a personal project, or a mechanism to serve ego or the needs of those at its core. It is the very beginning of something not even I can foresee to its fullest.
This is an act of service. And sometimes service takes everything from us and leaves us exhausted, exasperated, spent and penniless, and with nothing more than a feeling in the centre of our chest and a smile on our tired faces. Sometimes that is what it takes to be of service. And this I knew full well when I started this; for a burden is not a burden when carried with joy.
And what I would like to reassert is that I am taking some time to consider the future and the trajectory of this thing we have called Newkind. And in order to have a well-round understanding, I would like to read even more of your emails. Your thoughts, concerns even, and your feelings. For I wish to honour the love you offer this idea.
Even with a team of 120 crew, the final responsibility for the safety of everyone on site, their happiness, the financial obligations and most importantly of all, the representation of the philosophy, the message and the mission all rests with me. And I will do everything in my powers to protect and nurture this fledgeling movement.
And because of how much your time, your love and your energy means to me, and how seriously I take the protection of the vision and representation of this movement, I ask you all to offer me your thoughts directly.
If you have feedback write to me, if you have feelings express them clearly to me, if you have thoughts on how a thing could have been done better or given more attention than now is the time to let me know these things.
If you have concerns or seek clarity direct your expression towards me and allow your energy to feed the foundations of this movement that is still in its infancy. Give energy to that wish you wish to grow.
And as you consider your thoughts and feelings and gather yourselves to articulate them, consider this.
Newkind brings vegans who are not necessarily straight-edge, and it brings environmentalists who are not vegan, it brings permaculture and sustainability enthusiasts who may well not be versed in feminist literature or engaged with women’s rights movements, it brings animal rights activists who are oblivious to the Indigenous Rights Movement and the struggle for recognition and treaty, it brings old school hippies and new age spiritualists and throws them in the lions pen with social entrepreneurs, straightedge punk rockers and academics, it brings gender equality activists who are still unaware of non-binary language, and it brings LGBTQI activists and anti-vaxers, it brings it brings festival crew who don’t know what straightedge means and it brings young impressionable minds seeking clarity and guidance…
Can you see what intersectionality looks like? Can we see now how many threads we are trying to hold on to here, to bring all these people together? Can we see how many points of view we are trying to align? Can we understand the friction we are causing in insisting that we represent and champion each and every one of these causes? At the same time! Can we see now how important and inevitably challenging and likely triggering this movement is going to be? We are all already doing our thing, and we are all giving everything we have for the thing we believe in, and Newkind is drawing all of these divergent movements closer together. To create solidarity and generate momentum through solidarity, for solidarity is the fuel of any social change movement.
And for this fuel, this biding glue of solidarity to be harnessed effectively, the foundations of the movement must be strong, the vision must be clearly articulated, and its principles bravely championed.
So keep this all in mind when you consider your time as a volunteer or participant at Newkind, let your experience inspire you to add constructive criticism and make valid and well-informed recommendations or requests. Let us nurture this, prune and protect this idea that we all hold so dearly. Let us protect the feeling that this idea brings up in our hearts. Let us alter the course of history by first tending to our own gardens.