At Raindance last month, James discovered that his LED contact staff was missing from our camp on Monday morning. He had leaned it up against a pole inside one of the canopies covering our camp’s common area, and when we woke up it was gone. It was swiped by some asshole thief who probably knew how much it was worth monetarily but could never understand how much it meant to us.
A flow artist’s props become an extension of their body, a tool for finding the meditative flow state, for learning and growing, and for sharing their light with the world. This staff was something James had saved up for and bought in bits and pieces for the past year or more. I had given him extra lights for it for his birthday and new end caps for it for Valentine’s Day. He always let others use it at spin jams and festivals and taught others with it as he learned the art of contact staff. To find it missing that morning made our hearts sink, especially because Raindance is a festival very dear to his heart and one he’s been going to longer than any other. In all our years at festivals, neither of us had ever had something of this much value stolen, we have always felt safe bringing our expensive flow props with us to events like this.
What’s worse, we found out that we weren’t the only ones robbed at Raindance. Several other stories emerged in the days following the festival – everything from LED props to computers to jackets were stolen, mostly out of people’s personal camps and tents. Our friend Becca, who was teaching a contact staff workshop at Raindance, had her staff stolen (one very similar to James’s) out of her camp the night before her workshop was scheduled! Like James, she had saved up for months to buy that staff and hadn’t even had it very long.
Mercury went into retrograde the weekend of Raindance, and brought with it all sorts of turmoil as usual. Before we left Raindance, we looked everywhere we could think of for the missing staff, and brainstormed with our friends in camp how we could replace such a precious item in time for James to be able to take contact staff workshops at the only flow festival we plan to attend this year, Pacific Fire Gathering. We decided to wait until Mercury went direct again, and collaborated with Becca to put together a fundraising campaign to replace both of their stolen staves.
I have witnessed the power of crowdfunding in some of my friends’ projects, but had never personally tried it. We researched our options and decided to create a campaign on GoFundMe. A crowdfunding campaign seemed like the best way to allow our spread out festival and flow arts community to help easily and quickly. But I never expected such an instant and amazing response.
Within hours, donations began trickling in. The first few came from the friends we camped with at Raindance (Camp Higher Porpoise, represent). Family, friends, and anonymous donors pitched in, and in only a few days the campaign has been shared 125 times and counting. We are only trying to raise enough to cover the two staves, shipping, and fees ($600) and after only a few days, we’re already at $530! Wow. Needless to say, we are in awe and very very grateful.
We all decided that any leftover donations would be given to flow arts related causes chosen by Becca and James, such as Flow Arts Institute and Give Props, a documentary some of our fellow flow artists are working on. Today I found another worthy cause, helping to save the life of The Nom Noms, a fantastic feline loved by many in the flow arts community who belongs to Marvin and Jennifer Ong. We are already so blown away by the generosity of our family, friends, and community, so we will definitely do our best to pay it forward and share any extra love we receive with causes that are helping further the flow arts and this beautiful community.
It’s always disheartening to be robbed, and even though a staff is just a thing, its value to James was immesurable. The quick success of this campaign has restored our faith in humanity, humbled our hearts and filled us with gratitude. We can really feel the love, guys, and it means a lot. Every little bit helps and we feel very grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received so far. Seriously, you all rock. My sad tears from losing the staff are definitely happy ones now!
So let’s keep this momentum going! We don’t really have a deadline for this campaign, but once it’s fully funded and it seems like it’s been up long enough for everyone who wants to participate to have that chance, James and Becca are going to be able to spin staff in style again, and continue spreading their love of the flow arts throughout our local and international festival communities.
Support “Bring Back Our Flow!” and help us replace these staves. Because the FLOW must go on! Thank you all so much for the shares, donations, and support. We love you!!!