Historically, Baltimore has had two cultural rites of spring - two festivals that remind us that it's time to get outside and enjoy the pleasantness of the Land of Pleasant Living. There's the Sowebo Arts And Music Festival (this year it takes place on Sunday, May 25). But before that takes place, typically the Powwow would happen.
For 26 years, the Powwow occurred in a small shot of waterfront land called Ferry Bar Park, now located behind the Port Covington Wal-Mart. However, after last year's police shutdown of the festival (for a lack of permits, as well as other non-legal behavior), the future of this "alternative" gathering came into question.
Yesterday, May 4 was the proposed date for the 27th Annual Powwow, but it was pretty clear early on that the city would be denying organizers permits.
According to a post by an admin on their Facebook page:
Well the one park permit office blamed delays on the "Mayor's Office of Emergency Management" who has stated that their "directives come from the highest levels of city government" so then I emailed the 11th District Council Person (who, how nice, will be on vacation that weekend Sunday May 4th which is our proposed date) who states that we will not be getting them although nothing formal has been sent to me.
This April 15, 2014 post lead to the creation of an online petition to try to pressure the city into giving up the needed permits. Organizers were looking to get 1,000 signatures which they easily could have come close to if all of the 979 people who "like" their Facebook page signed the petition. Unfortunately for the Powwow, they didn't. By the May 4 date of when the festival was supposed to occur, the petition had fallen well short of its goal - hitting only the 170 mark.
This left organizers to call for friends to go to the park for an informal picnic. No bands. No balloons of nitrous. Just a small, gathering of "a kind of people", I guess?
We cannot be afraid...it is really them being afraid of the new way (which yes has always been the way for some of us) but there (in theory) should be nothing wrong with anyone going to a public park...they are not trying to stop a festival...they are trying to stop a kind of people...be there and picnic with us and spread love and show them this is timeless and about community and they can take anything they want away except for our spirit (lol and our right to go to a public park on our own accord!)
Did that happen? There's no indication on the festival's Facebook page.
Regardless, at this point, it seems the city is determined to kill the Powwow and that organizers and attendees have been unable to dissuade city leaders from doing so.