Fuck Real Life first came into contact with The Festival Lawyer when we ran across his wildly successful infographic campaign, ‘What to do if You’re Stopped by a Cop at a Festival'. This easy to follow and informative card was passed around at festivals and via Social Media, helping partiers to understand how to best protect their rights while in the festival setting - a somewhat grey area for rights and laws. As a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, DJ, and drummer in San Jose CA, Cameron Bowman now combines his passions for law and music in his blog as The Festival Lawyer.
It’s been amazing actually. This all started with me writing a Tumblr blog about 2 years ago. What prompted it was that I was going to a lot of festivals. Friends of mine would ask me various legal questions. I kept finding that there was little in the way of legal resources on the internet that I could direct them to look at. Instead I found a lot of misinformation and legal urban myths that people were just repeating. I just love music festivals and the festival community. I felt that if I could pass on some of the things I know, that it might make everyone feel a little safer and more empowered. In September 2013, I wrote my first article for Showbams (an online music site) and things immediately took off. The response from the festival community has been really positive and people have been eager and very willing to help. It has gotten bigger than I ever imagined it would.
Yes! We just put up the new website, which you can find at www.festivallawyer.com
There are a lot of resources on that site including the tip cards and infographic. However, one of the main goals for Festival Lawyer 2015 is to put up a ton more resources on that site. We are working on two video ideas now and at least one new “tip card.” I see the website as a place that we can just keep adding legal resources and helpful content for festival goers.
This year we are also trying (with Drug Policy Alliance) to set up a “Fest Law Network” Our goal is to set up a directory of lawyers who are also “festies” who can act as a resource or give people some help or advice if they are busted in other states.
You can find a lot more information (as well as the Online Petition) in the article I wrote about the topic here.
The way “The Festival Lawyer” has grown keeps surprising me. For example, I wrote an article with Dancesafe and the Drug Policy Alliance about a year and half ago that dealt with issues of drug use at festivals and the RAVE Act. As you say, this last year I actually spoke on a panel dealing with those topics for the International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON) in Austin.
I put a lot of the content of my portion of the panel on my website here if folks are interested. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The most common reaction was “Finally people are talking about these issues honestly! How can I help?” I came back from Austin energized and with a million new ideas for Festival Lawyer.
The immediate project I am working on relates to the issue of “legal consent” when it comes to sex, especially in the context of drugs and alcohol. The idea is to give folks information about what does and does not constitute “Consent” and to talk about some of the criminal law rules that people might run into in various settings. For example, what are the age limits for sexual contact with someone? What are the legal rules if you thought the person was the age of consent? What are the rules when it comes to sexual consent when one or both parties are high or drunk? We want to really create something informative and useful but do it in a fun and non-judgemental way. We are hoping for some new articles and maybe a “tip card” or “video” or even a workshop on the topic.