Want a festival? Do it yourself.

Sixth annual Anarchist BookFair and DIY Fest shares skills, ideas, and fun

Image provided by wpgbookfairdiyfest.com

If we didn’t have leaders, bosses, or managers, how would we ever get anything done?

This weekend’s Anarchist BookFair & DIY Fest proves that you can hold a weekend-long festival without falling into typical organizational structures or hierarchies.

While the festival is in its sixth year, it has a very loose organizational structure. It doesn’t have an annual date or time, and past festivals have happened anywhere between May and September.

This year, as the organizing committee lost members and energy, it looked like it might not happen at all. But as new members came forward, the committee was invigorated.

“Our organizing team has no established structure, but rather works upon ideas being voiced and people volunteering to take on that role. We are not organizing this because it will bring in money, but because we wish to see something and act upon it by organizing it ourselves,” says Quincy Brandt, an organizing committee member for the BookFair & DIY Fest.

This year’s festival has many offerings, including but not limited to books.

“We have a solid mix of evening entertainment both fun and educational and daytime learning opportunities, so I think it’s shaping up to be a really good weekend for anyone willing to try it out,” says Tim Brandt, another organizing committee member.

The festival will open with a cabaret on Friday night, followed by a talk and book launch by Norman Nawrocki on Saturday night, as well as a later-evening dance party for those who choose to dance their way to revolution.

Of course, there will be a BookFair, and out of respect for the November weather, it will be entirely indoors this year.

“We’ve had the tables outside every year and withstood some cold days but this year we took so long to get going we had to plan for a time that’s just too late to be out there so it’ll be the first one entirely inside and we’ll make maximum use of the A-Zone,” says Tim, referring to the Autonomous Zone Co-op building located at 91 Albert Street.

The book tables will wind their way up the stairs from Mondragon, all the way to the top level of the building. Tim commented that they had to make the difficult choice to hold the BookFair in a venue that wouldn’t be accessible to all due to time constraints and a very “shoestring budget,” which is mostly based on small donations.

The workshops—held on Saturday and Sunday—are also based on donations of time and expertise. They range from the theoretical and ideological, such as Building Class Struggle on the Prairies, and Privilege, to practical skills like Plumbing Basics, Fermentation Sensation, Screen-Printing, and Intro to Electronics and Soldering.

Other workshops explore local political contexts, from a panel discussion called “Indians Wear Red: Colonialism, Resistance and Aboriginal Street Gangs,” to the politically personal topics of consent and Alternative Travel. For those who may crave a cold beer after all of this discussion, there’s even An Introduction to Home Brewing workshop – though they’re not promising immediate results.

Tim hopes that besides learning concrete skills, people may be able to take something more from these workshops.

“I would love it if some newcomers learned about how terrible the artificial constructs we call nation states are to the planet,” said Tim, adding “how much better we’d all be if we stopped being obsessed with monetary wealth and things, and just learned to live free and simply!”

While some of the evening events are on a sliding-scale or pay-what-you-can basis, most of the other daytime events, including the BookFair and workshops, are free, and the organizers invite everyone to come and see what DIY and Anarchist organizing is all about:

“[The Anarchist BookFair & DIY Fest is the only annual festival in town that offers everything for everyone without any corporate sponsors whatsoever!”


For the full events listing, visit http://wpgbookfairdiyfest.com. The Anarchist BookFair & DIY Fest will be held from Nov. 8-10 at the A-Zone, (http://a-zone.org/news/632/)