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Attendance likely peaks at Rainbow Gathering

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Jul 04 2013 06:34:01 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 04 2013 06:48:54 PM MDT
JACKSON, Mont. -

The annual Rainbow Gathering, a counter-culture event currently being held outside of Jackson, Montana, drew more than 9,500 attendees by Thursday morning. That figure was put together by the US Forest Service, which has been keeping an eye on the event.

July 4 is considered a special day at the Gathering among attendees, because many pray for world peace silently, starting at dawn, until high noon.

Several attendees told NBC Montana that a video camera wasn't welcome at the gathering, though others recommended a spot on top of a hill to get wide shots of a prayer circle.

"It's a cry for world peace, because that's what these gatherings were started for," said "Bird," who chose to identify himself by his rainbow name.

Thursday's silence lasted until high-noon, when a parade broke the silence.

"I think it's extremely tribal and it's very important to our subculture," said Missoula resident Derek Ballard.

The Rainbow Gathering was held in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest this year, the same location as the 2000 Gathering.

The US Forest Service learned about the 2013 location on June 18, and participants began to gather at the site within a few days of the announcement.

The National Family Gathering has been under the management of the Forest Service National Incident Management Team.