Posts Tagged ‘Woodstock 40th Anniversary’

WANTED: Museum/Galleries/Cultural Centres/Festivals keen to host “Rainbow Dreaming”, a photo-documentary on the sustainability movement in Australia and it’s global significance in a world on the brink of change!

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

“Rainbow Dreaming: Tales from the Age of Aquarius”

Rainbow Dreaming” is a multi-media photo-documentary exhibition that explores the growth and development of the alternative movement in the ‘rainbow region’ of Australia, centred around the towns of Nimbin and Byron Bay in north-eastern New South Wales.

This photo-documentary maps out the cultural and spiritual legacy of the movement and the ideas and institutions it gave birth to, including: recognition of the resurgence of traditional Aboriginal culture; living in community in harmony with the land; environmental activism; appropriate technology; holistic health; and the synthesis of science, art and philosophy. A sample of the exhibit can be seen at

This site offers a taste of a multi-media exhibition that comprises the work of over one hundred photographers, filmmakers, writers, poets, children and cultural visionaries.

This vision, first articulated as a cultural phenomenon in the sixties, has an even greater relevance to our world today. “Rainbow Dreaming” explores the evolution of a culture committed to peace and sustainable living in a world on the brink of change.

This exhibit was invited to participate in the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock celebrations in the US in 2009, as part of a cultural exchange from the ‘rainbow region’. The exhibit featured at:

1. Ecofest, the largest environmental festival on the east coast of the US, held in Central Park, New York, on 5th Oct.

2. New York’s 13th Harvestfest & Freedom Rally, Hancock, 9th – 11th Oct.

3. Woodstock Museum, Saugerties, NY, 16th – 17th Oct.

4. West Fest: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 25th Oct.

The exhibit comprises:

1. 64 exhibition panels, size A1. The exhibit is weather resistant and can be set up in diverse spaces, indoors and outdoors.

2. A video archive, a music CD and a book.


Due to Australia’s special relationship with Japan, we are working on touring this exhibit to Japan – with text in Japanese – in 2011.

We would love to tour this exhibit to other countries  internationally in 2012.

2012 marks a year of prophesied millennial change and Rainbow Dreaming paints a colourful mosaic of a culture that embraces this future with open arms.

Please direct your expressions of interest to:

Harsha Prabhu/Co-curator

“Rainbow Dreaming”

This project is auspiced by Byron Community & Cultural Centre ( & assisted by Lismore Regional Gallery (


Marrying Hemp with Electronics

March 13, 2010 Leave a comment

We are looking at innovative ways to design and produce an international exhibition, using hemp and electronics.

We are into telling stories: stories about sustainability, about a grassroots culture in NSW, Australia. Know as the ‘rainbow region’ , this culture has been quietly experimenting with sustainable models for the last four decades. You can see some of the stories at

We are looking to share these stories with others, in the form of a touring exhibit. We are looking for eco friendly and innovate ways to present this exhibit.

Do you have any information on companies/manufacturers who are producing and printing books on high-end hemp paper and hemp exhibition panels?

Also companies willing to supply/sponsor us with A3 size touch screens to facilitate text in several languages as part of the traveling exhibit? Ideally, the touch screens should be made from hemp or some other biodegradable/eco friendly material.

At the mo, we are looking at touring Rainbow Dreaming to Japan in 2011, with tours to other countries to follow.

Any suggestions?


Harsha Prabhu


Rainbow Dreaming

Rainbow Bridge to Japan

March 3, 2010 1 comment

RAINBOW BRIDGE TO JAPAN _DRAFT, updated Sunday 14th March 2010

Proposal: This is a proposal to set up sister village/city links between communities/towns in the rainbow region of New South Wales, Australia and like-minded towns in Japan.

The focus of this link will be to promote peace and sustainability issues within the context of the Australia-Japan relationship.

This is in keeping with our mutual strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific, both short, medium and long term.


  1. To foster better understanding between communities and people in our two countries, based on direct community-to-community links, including local government/shire council, arts organizations, educational institutions, NGO’s devoted to sustainability and peace studies and individual exchanges.
  2. To promote linkages between industry groups in the field of sustainability and eco tourism: eg linkages between Japanese traditional hemp industry and North Coast hemp; between Japan and north coast marine eco tourism
  3. To encourage cooperation on marine conservation issues
  4. To promote eco tourism and cultural tourism
  5. To promote friendship and peace between Australia and Japan


Australia and Japan share may ties: economic, social and political.

Economic: Japan is Australia’s second largest trading partner.

Social (focusing on the rainbow region): There are many Japanese living and working in the rainbow region, concentrated in the areas of the sustainability industries, yoga, the arts and eco tourism. Lismore City Council already has a link with Yamatotakada, Nara Prefecture. Many artists from the Byron region have toured Japan (Wild Marmalade, Tommee) and artists from Japan have visited the shire (Goma, Spinna Bill). Most recently, a Japanese crew from the rainbow region were a key element of the recent cultural exchange exhibit Rainbow Dreaming, which featured at venues in the US last year, as part of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

Political: Both Australia and Japan are dynamic democracies in the Asia-Pacific, with a progressive role to play in the shaping of our common futures.

Current Situation:

The current impasse over whaling and the related issue of dolphin killings in Japan has led to a tense situation between Australia and Japan.

As you are aware, Broome (in West Australia) and Taiji had a sister city link. Broome cut this link due to the issue of the dolphin killings in Taiji.

The current environmental battles with Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic whaling sanctuary has also led to a mini crisis in Australia-Japan relations.

This matter has also been raised on a Govt-to-Govt level, with the Australian Govt indicating that they are willing to pursue this issue in the international court.

While all of the above strategies to protect whales and dolphins are important and valid in themselves, we feel a direct approach to Japanese people on these issues might be a good way to progress down the path of reconciliation and understanding.

The key to understanding:

One way to foster this reconciliation is to set up alternative sister village links, based on principals of mutual respect and shared values, especially around issues to do with sustainability and peace.

If Byron Bay, a beacon of progressive ideas, on the easternmost point of Australia, is able to set up this alternative ‘rainbow bridge’ to a community/village/town in Japan, this will greatly help the process of reconciliation. Further, as Byron was till recently a whaling town, Byron is uniquely placed to explore issues to do with promoting the internationally popular whale-and-dolphin eco tourism industry as an economically sustainable alternative.

Ditto for Nimbin, a leader in sustainability issues, including environmental protection, permaculture and hemp as an alternative industrial fiber.

A focus on peace and sustainability is the key that will unlock the present impasse and point to better relations in the future.


The Rainbow Collective is working on sending a Japanese edition of Rainbow Dreaming to Japan in 2011. (see The text of the exhibit – which has a strong focus on sustainability and environmental issues in general, including stories on the campaigns to protect marine creatures – will be translated into Japanese. It is designed to appeal to the hearts and minds of Japanese people. This exhibit can be a vehicle to set up the proposed sister village link.

(An earlier edition of this exhibit, titled ‘Some Children of the Dream’, was instrumental in setting up the sister village link between Nimbin & Woodstock in 1995. Please note that Benny Zable (Nimbin) and Shelli Lipton & Nathan Koenig (Woodstock Museum) worked on this link for years, but it was only after we sent the Some Children of the Dream exhibit to Woodstock in the mid-nineties, that this dream became a reality. Many cultural exchanges have ensured over the years. The latest was the Rainbow Dreaming exhibit representing the rainbow region in a cultural exchange in Oct 2009 in connection with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

This cultural exchange will facilitate other such exchanges in the future, including sister exhibitions from Japanese cultural organizations and exchanges between other organizations in the arts, science and sustainable industries.

Possible sister cities/villages:

Nimbin and Miasa Mura

Miasa Mura, located in the Japanese Northern Alps in Nagano prefecture, has a population of about 1500 people today. In the year Meiji 8 (1875) it received its name meaning “beautiful hemp village” in recognition of its long tradition of producing Hemp, which has been grown here since the Yayoi period, 2000 years ago. Miasa has a tradition of making fine hemp paper and other products. Miasa also has a Hemp Museum. (Pl note we are talking about industrial hemp, not hemp as a psychoactive substance). Miasa has a sister link with Mendocino, California, USA.

Nimbin has been at the forefront of promoting hemp as a sustainable industry. We are proposing a re-exploration of traditional Japanese hemp expertise, married to modern needs and technology, to kick-start the industrial hemp revolution. Hemp is THE sustainable fiber of the future!

Byron Bay and Shonan/Kochi/Shimoda

There are three possible sites that have been suggested:

1. The Shonan area. Shonan is near Yokohama.

Shonan has a strong surf, environmental and art focus.


Saya Minami, our tour representative, is exploring links with this area and will get back to us with more info.

2. Kochi in Shikoku

They too have a focus on surfing, organic markets, industrial hemp and the arts


Sayaka Nakao, our technical consultant, is visiting the area in mid March and will get back to us with more info.

3. Shimoda, Shizuoka

Shimoda has beautiful beaches,  surf culture and music plus organic grassroots culture

Shimoda info:,_Shizuoka

Iritahama was voted most beautiful beach in Japan.

Shimoda is linked with Newport, Rhode Island, USA

In addition, Emi Iizuka, our representative (Byron Bay/Tokyo) will be visiting Tokyo in early March and she will be meeting with venues and groups to set up the groundwork for the rainbow bridge.


This project is a community cultural initiative of the Rainbow Collective, under the auspices of Byron Community & Cultural Centre. We are seeking to partner with other like-minded cultural organizations (e.g. Lismore Regional Gallery); educational institutions (e.g. Southern Cross University); NGOs in the area of sustainability (e.g. Djanbung Gardens); businesses devoted to sustainable industries (eg Rainbow Power Co.); business groups (eg Nimbin Chamber of Commerce/Byron United) and cultural tourism bodies.

We are also seeking partnerships in Japan.


We are seeking funding from the Australia-Japan Foundation to pay for costs associated with preparing and touring Rainbow Dreaming to venues in Japan in 2011.

The deadline for the Aus-Japan Foundation grant is 17th March.

Your thoughts and ideas on the above would be appreciated.


  1. Ongoing cultural exchanges between northern New South Wales (Byron Bay-Nimbin) and Japanese sister villages
  2. Joint partnerships in the area of sustainable industry, eg industrial hemp, marine conservation; eco tourism

3.  Facilitation of resolution of issues to do with marine conservation

4.  Eco tourism and cultural tourism benefits to both Australia and Japan

5. Better understanding between our peoples based on shared interests, sustainability and peace


1. Please network this email to any groups/individuals that you think may be interested.

2. If you support the idea of the Rainbow Bridge to Japan, please indicate your support by emailing us on your official letterhead, PDF preferred. Deadline:  17th March.

Kind regards,

Harsha Prabhu


for Rainbow Collective

This project is auspiced by Byron Community & Cultural Centre and assisted by Lismore Regiona Gallery

Letters of support have been received from: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, Byron United, Byron Neighbourhood & Resource Centre, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, Nimbin Environment Centre, Northern Rivers Hemp

Rainbow Bridge Japan team:

Emi Iizuka, representative, Byron Bay-Tokyo

Saya Minami, representative, Byron Bay-Tokyo

Sayaka Nakao, Tech Consultant, Tokyo

Nami Matsumoto, Translation Consultant, Byron Bay-Tokyo

Max Ferguson, Desktop Guru

Lelli Brown, Designer

Hans Lovejoy, Media

Benny Zable, Nimbin ambassador to Woodstock

Graeme Batterbury/ Harsha Parbhu, Co-curators

The Beat Goes On!

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment
This is Blog 3 on the Rainbow Dreaming tour of the US, which started in Oct 2009 in New York and ended in San Francisco. Rainbow Dreaming is an exhibition on the alternative movement in the rainbow region of New South Wales. For more info see

Welcome Home!

“Smile, you are in San Francisco”, said the black baggage handler at the airport.

“Welcome home”, said Canyon, a native American activist, giving us all a big hug. We were at the last planning meeting before Westfest, billed as the 40th anniversary of Woodstock mega free concert in Golden Gate Park. The meet was held in a large warehouse, packed to the rafters with Westfest vendors and supporters. Boots Hughston, artist and impresario and the producer of Westfest, ran the meeting with panache. The Rainbow Dreaming crew – now down to Hans, Emi, Sim and myself, our gracious helpers Sayaka, Saya and Rina having left for Tokyo – were given a rousing reception. After the meet, many folks came over to greet us. They plied us with invitations, Westfest merchandise, gifts of ganja, and questions about the exhibit.

Before Woodstock in 1969, way before anything of consequence emerged on the east coast, it was San Francisco that was the spiritual and temporal home of the alternative scene in the US. San Francisco, city of St Francis, patron saint of all creatures great and small and the holy land to every hippie who ever dreamt of wearing flowers in their hair.

Falling Waters

But before we plunged into San Francisco and Westfest, we went on a little trip: Yosemite National Park, 250 kms by road from San Fran. The trip was Emi’s idea. Honesty demands that I admit I was a reluctant passenger. I wanted to hang out in the Haight, not spend seven hours in a hire car on the highway. But the Haight would have to wait. Here was an opportunity to get away from everything – the manufactured world of men and cities. I’m glad that beautiful Emi won me over.

The climb up the Sierra Nevada and down into the Yosemite valley is stunningly spectacular. Forests of oak and pine, opening out into vistas of glaciated grandeur: vast cathedrals of granite, 2400ft waterfalls, towering spurs and cliff faces, altars fit for giants.

This was the great American photographer Ansel Adams’ playground. Adams first came to Yosemite as a 14 year old with a Box Brownie. He was to spend three decades living, working and photographing the place. He spoke of “the primal song of the wilderness—the whisper of silver winds in the lonely forest–the hollow chant of falling waters.” Adam’s photographs of the Yosemite landscape are iconic images that helped create the idea of wilderness as something worth “saving” in the popular imagination. His photos were used in campaigns by the Sierra Club.

Nothing could save the Ahwahnee, the original inhabitants. They fell victim to the California gold rush and the state militia in the 1850s. Their broken plinths and abandoned hearths speak of a desolation beyond words. The sunset dyed the canyon deep red, then dark crimson. The lights of climbers bivouacked on the cliff face for the night flickered in the gathering dark as we left the valley.

Hippie Hill

From the Trips Festival, to the Human Be In, to the Summer of Love in 1967, San Fran was where it was all happening. And Haight-Ashbury, a genteel, seedy, low rent neighbourhood on the edge of Golden Gate Park, was, for a short time in that golden, paisley and psychedelic-hued year, the counter culture capital of the world.

Haight-Ashbury today resembles a counter culture tourist arcade, peppered with boutiques and headshops selling all manner of things hippie. It also boasts two excellent bookshops, a generous music store and restaurants with character.

Paul, owner of Land of the Sun, a gift shop with a penchant for hippie paraphernalia, had been in the Haight in the golden age. “I was there before, during and after. I remember $2 concerts with the Dead, Hendrix, Santana, that went on till 2am; Janis driving up and down the strip in her Porsche. The Dead were next door at 710 Ashbury. I haven’t been to a concert since Jerry Garcia died in 1995.”

“That was then. But the Haight still has a spark. The community has managed to block certain kinds of development, like chain stores from moving in. There’s resistance to the Haight becoming like any other suburb. Sure, the Haight is an echo of what it used to be, but it’s an echo worth listening to. The Haight is unique, it’s a peace bracelet.”

Mark, a more recent resident, agreed. “Despite all the changes, the energy is still there. I remember going to a Phish concert recently. Looking at all the kids, I could have been at a Dead concert in the seventies. There are these tendrils of influence from that time and the Dead have a lot to answer for”, he said, smiling. “Everything’s still the same, except our hair.”

Boutiques and op shops were doing a roaring trade in wigs of every description and outlandish costumes in a pre Halloween shopping frenzy. Teenagers in Marilyn Manson outfits flashed us the peace sign as Hans and I walked towards Hippie Hill.

Encouraging the illusion of a wormhole through time, Hippie Hill is approached through a dark tunnel. Psychedelic art with paintings of mushrooms lined the path. A pair of boots mysteriously sits near the entrance. A hooded figure whispers: “Would the dudes like to sample some Blueberry?”

We sat on the hill under tall trees. Kids played soccer in the oval at our feet. A large, white peace symbol in splattered enamel, Jackson Pollock style, marked the centre of forking paths. Small groups of people, mostly young, dotted the hillside, some playing guitars, singing and passing joints. In the marmalade evening light they looked like stragglers from an enchanted army.


It looked like all the foot soldiers in the armies of peace, love and enchantment, and their camp followers, had assembled for Westfest, at Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, on Sunday 25 October.

Native American elders, Zen Buddhist priests, musician for peace, the butterfly folk, the rainbow family of love and light, aging hipsters and young ferals, the Hells Angels and the Hare Krishnas, Guitars Not Guns and Grannies for Medical Marijuana, flaunting their glad rags, flying the flag, flashing the peace sign, getting high on the herb, the vibe, the roar of the music from three stages and the brilliant sunshine. Every surviving rock and roll star from the sixties and seventies (and their dog) seemed to be there. Ray Manzarek from The Doors, Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane, Denny Lane from The Moody Blues, Country Joe McDonald, plus the original cast from Hair. Some old timers would have had flashbacks and it wouldn’t have been the acid! And the order of the day, proclaimed by speaker after speaker, was the same: make love, not war. It was the favourite sixties mantra all over again! “Are we proud to be hippies”, the MC would yell and the crowd, estimated at around 100,000, would respond with a jubilant roar.

Westfest was the culmination of the Rainbow Dreaming US tour. We had been assigned a 40ft diameter tipi to set up the Rainbow Dreaming exhibit. At the last minute the deal fell through. Douglas Kolberg, the producer of the Greenzone at Westfest, pointed to a grove of trees and said: “Can you do something with these.”

We could. We had Emi and Sim, our two agile helpers, who climbed up the trees and set up a harness using wire and rope to hang the exhibit. The spot was right in the middle of the vast concourse between the two main stages, so hundreds of punters got to see the exhibit.

White Buffalo

Canyon, the native American activist who had welcomed us with open arms at the Westfest planning meet, was one of the last visitors at the Rainbow Dreaming exhibit. He recounted for us the White Buffalo legend.

Two brothers were out hunting for buffalo. They followed the trail for days. Finally, they spotted the herd. They were excited to see one of the buffaloes was white. To their amazement, the white buffalo turned into a beautiful woman. One of the brothers would have favour with her. He was burned to ashes. The other brother bowed before her. That winter, she took him to the lodge, taught him the prayers, taught him many things. In spring, she turned back into a white buffalo. She said: “I will feed you, now and in the hard times to come. You will use me for your ceremonies. Remember me and I will be with you always.”

Across time and the blood-dimmed tide of history the White Buffalo legend came alive in Canyon’s retelling. We were all yearning for a new way to relate to the earth, to women, to ourselves. The legend seemed to provide vital clues to our renewal as a civilisation. There were tears in his eyes as he finished the story. He said: “Remember, inside you is the centre of the universe. And the centre is love.”

The Beat Goes On

My last port of call in San Fran was North Beach, the hangout of the Beats. The Beats were the precursors of the hippies. Like a Russian icebreaker on speed, the Beats cut through the frozen tundra of smugness and coldwar hysteria of 50s America. Beat literature and Beat attitude swept across the globe like a meteor, scattering flames and sparks that ignited minds and hearts. As a teenager growing up in the seventies in faraway Mumbai I avidly devoured the beat writers. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, Burroughs were some of my early heroes.

While the Beats were more into booze and benzedrine, as opposed to the psychedelic reveries of the hippies, they laid the groundwork for the hippie movement. Their Rimbaudean manifesto of excess as the path to satori, flirtation with eastern philosophies, and eclectic approach to sexual liberation was the seedbed that sprouted the summer of love. “Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations”, wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Beat poet and founder of City Lights, the famous publishing house. City Lights still stands, along with Vesuvio, the Beat watering hole. Alongside runs Jack Kerouac Alley, with quotes from various Beat writers cast in stone in English and poems by Li Po and Confucius in Chinese. Chinatown is next door.

Across the street is the Beat Museum. I spent that last afternoon surrounded by Beat memorabilia, including Kerouac’s typewriter, the signed, annotated copy of Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the voices of my youth. Some of those voices sound strangely prescient. Here is Ken Kesey, author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, friend of the Hells Angels and the Grateful Dead, Merry Prankster and veteran of many an Acid Test, on America’s ‘civilising mission’ in another war. “You can’t bomb for a humane reason. What we should do is just Mother Teresa them to death with love. It’s that old hippie nonsense but it’s still the best stuff there is.”

“I see the Beat Generation as an enlightening movement,” said Beat Museum founder Jerry Cimino. “Because they followed their dreams they changed the world.”

But I’ll let the maddest Beat of them all have the last word: “All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.” Jack Kerouac, Book of Dreams.

by Harsha Prabhu

NOTE: I would like to acknowledge the inspiration and guidance offered by the Rainbow Dreaming crew – Benny Zable, Hans Lovejoy, Saya Minami, Sayaka Nakao, Rina Terasaki, Emi Iizuka & Simeon Michaels – on this amazing journey.

Thanks to our hosts in the US, including Traci Mann & Nanci Callahan in NYC, Rob Robinson at Harvestfest, Shelli Lipton & Nathan Koenig at Woodstock Museum and Douglas Kolberg & Boots Hughston at Westfest.

Thanks to our principal sponsor Happy High Herbs and our media sponsors Byron Shire Echo & Bay FM.

Thanks to all those who donated to the community chest to make this project possible, including all the artist and performers from the rainbow region who helped raise funds for the US tour.

This project was auspiced by Byron Community & Cultural Centre, assisted by Lismore Regional Gallery and supported by Byron Neighbourhood Resource Centre and Mullumbimby & District Neighbourhood Centre.

Curated & produced by Harsha Prabhu & Graeme Batterbury for the Rainbow Collective.

All Photos: Emi, Sim, Harsha

Monkey man Sim sets up the harness for the Rainbow Dreaming exhibit @ Westfest
Sim, Emi & Hans @ Westfest
Hells Angels @ Rainbow Dreaming
Hendrix @ Westfest
Harsha & Sim set up exhibit
Rainbow Dreaming @ Westfest
Emi eating Hippie Chips!
The Love Bus 1
The Love Bus 2
The Love Bus 3
Inside the Geodome
Sim attaches the butterfly to our tree
Butterflies 4 Peace