Since the 60's there has existed a community of nomadic youth who travel around following bands. Once in Wyoming a baffled local asked us if we were "in the parade" that was going through town. What she had observed was the strange ritual of thousands of hippies driving VW vans and school buses from one concert to the next. This was "tour". "Shakedown Street" is the mobile main street of every venue whether it be in Pennsylvania or Peoria. Here kids sell crafts and drugs, look for free tickets (called a "Miracle"), get high and "swilly" (drunk), and hang out and meet people. It looks like a big fun party, but kids leave many shows in ambulances or police cars.
Our approach is to have a continual presence in the scene, building relationships and sharing the Gospel in the context of friendship. These youth are very hostile to "mainstream" culture (what they call "Babylon") so we try to integrate into the hippie culture as much we can without compromising the Word of God. This helps to remove unnecessary barriers and makes it easier for the kids to trust us. Isn't this after all what God did when he became a first century jew?
We've now ministered in 26 states and Canada. We go primarily to music venues, and focus on event that draw large numbers of hippie youth; events like Furthur Fest Tour, Phish Tour, Reggae shows, and Jazz Fest in New Orleans. At these events we serve food, give out socks and toothbrushes (a real blessing on the road), tracts and Bibles. We talk to and pray for as many people as we can, always thrilled when the power of God comes to touch hearts and heal bodies.
An often seen bumper sticker reads: "What a long strange trip it's been". Amen to that!