Rainbow Gathering Collection

Scope and Content

This collection of material contains original material published by The Rainbow Family including Rainbow Guides, flyers and information sheets. There are some records relating to legal legislation regarding the Gatherings.

The collection also contains journals, directories, newsletters, flyers and other ephemera published by other collectives relating to the philosophies of The Rainbow Family including green energy, alternative lifestyles and evolutionary design and radical politics.

Finally, there is one DVD documentary about Rainbow Gatherings and The Rainbow Family.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rainbow Gatherings are a movement that started in the late 1960s as an outgrowth of the anti-war and hippy movements by the Rainbow Family of Living Light. The Rainbow Family describe themselves as 'the largest, best coordinated, non-political, nondenominational nonorganisation of like-minded individuals on the planet.' The flagship Rainbow Family Gatherings have occurred every July since 1972 in a different US national forest and bring together upwards of 10,000 'Rainbows' from a cross section of fringe cultures including bikers, 'Jesus freaks', yogis, punks and computer programmers looking to escape 'Babylon' the Rainbow expression for what they see as the various evils of modern life. The Rainbow Family are committed to the principles of nonviolence and non-hierarchical egalitarianism and to demonstrate the viability of a cooperative utopian community living in harmony with the Earth.

Rainbow Gatherings have become a growing global phenomenon with regular Gatherings across Western and Eastern Europe as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Back in the United States, the gatherings draw substantially fewer participants. Media coverage of the Rainbow Gatherings has been unfavourable since the 1980s and in the 2000s focussed on crime. There is a strained relationship between the Rainbow Family and the Forest Service and criticisms of the Gatherings' appropriation of Native American culture.


This collection is arranged as follows;

  • THM/520/1 - Rainbow Guides
  • THM/520/2 - Rainbow Gathering Flyers and Info Sheets
  • THM/520/3 - Newsletters and Flyers and Periodicals
  • THM/520/4 - Always Free and Almost Free Periodical
  • THM/520/5 - Legal Material
  • THM/520/6 - Audio Visual Material

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2017

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.


Further accruals are unlikely

Corporate Names