Many longtime festival goers will remember legendary free form radio pioneer and co-founder of Strawberry’s groundbreaking pirate FM station Hog Ranch Radio, Thom O’Hair. And some too, will remember reading, and then re-reading, his riveting reports from Camp Mather while the 1996 Ackerson Meadow fire burned nearby, leading up to the subsequently postponed Fall ’96 Festival. The complete chronicle is now published in its original form for you to read, re-read, or re-re-re read, on our website at https://strawberrymusic.com/hog-ranch-radio/mrfire/.
At that time, Thom used used a dial-up modem to upload a series of fire camp reports to our webmaster John Pierce, who relayed them via Strawberry’s popular pre-social media email “bungi-list.” The actual events, reported live (or as live as one could be at that time) from on the ground and embedded within the camp, come to us in monospaced Courier font, complete with critical information, wry jargon, classic O’hair-isms, brilliant insights, misspellings, and fractured punctuation.
We had not seen the complete printed or digital archive of those chronicles for decades, until last year, when Thom’s dear friend, longtime festival manager, and most beloved Strawberrian of all, Mitch Third decided to clean out his storage unit. There it was, the entire printout in a three ring binder, 25 years after the events were originally recounted, and 20 years since the passing of Thom O’hair. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!