From shadowbans to ren faires, 2023 has certainly been an interesting year!
2023 has been a year a year of unexpected surprises with some doors closing while all sorts of new and interesting doors opened.
Back in June I experienced my first setback when I started making posts celebrating Pride Month.
It's no secret that I have always been very vocally supportive of the LGBT+ community since the very beginning and I have had my fair share of trolls trying to stir up trouble, this June was no exception. However, unlike previous incidents, this time I managed to get more negative attention than ever before.
My page was raided for days as countless trolls in their faceless burner accounts flowed in dropping all manner of the most senselessly hateful comments and "memes". I did my best to keep them at bay, watching the comment section to ban them as quickly as possible, but as I leaned in to the engagements trying to turn their reactions in to content I found myself on the receiving end of a good old-fashioned Zuckening.
I posted screenshots of the hateful comments I was receiving and the trolls report-bombed the posts, getting me banned for "hate speech" despite the fact that when we reported their original comments Facebook said they didn't violate community standards.
This began what would turn out to be a six month shadowban where, even though my account appeared to be in good standing, my page would only perform at about 10% of it's normal capacity while giving me regular warnings that the page was at risk of being permanently deleted if I made another "violation".
This would set the tone for most of my year that would hang over everything like a cloud making it difficult for me to accomplish anything in this space.
But it wasn't all bad!!!
Around the same time I got the shadowban I was in full swing planning and organizing Community Unity Festival 2023.
We were facing some issues on the back end trying to line up enough volunteers, sell enough tickets, and book entertainment. I was stressed to the MAX and honestly about to cancel the whole event.
But one morning on a complete whim I was checking out tour dates for my favorite musical artist Aurelio Voltaire and thought "What the heck, I should email him and see if he would play at my festival"
To my GREAT surprise and delight HE SAID YES!!!
He even played/signed my guitar!!!!!
That night was such an amazing experience I'm never going to forget.
Things only got better from there
In August I decided to start this website and not too long after I decided to take the leap and officially start Drunken Bard LLC to turn everything I do in to a legit business. The response was OVERWHELMING!!! All of you were so helpful and supportive, it has been truly humbling seeing that my silliness can bring joy to so many people. With that boost of legitimacy and confidence came the next challenge, stepping in to the ren faire circuit!
My wife and I have always loved ren faires. This year we started dipping our toes in to vending and volunteering at some of our "local" events and immediately fell in love!
I met so many wonderful people and started making so many new and exciting contacts which lead to my first OFFICIAL appearance in-character as the Drunken Bard
In true Drunken Bard fashion I dove in head first with little-to-no idea of what I was doing, let alone anything even vaguely resembling a plan. Everything came together so naturally over the two weekends I worked walking around the event, interacting with patrons, hanging out with performers, and drinking all of the free alcohol I could stomach.
I had SO much fun and was blown away at how I was welcomed with open arms by EVERYONE I met. The ren faire community is truly an amazingly kind and supportive group of folks. I met a LOT of amazing people and learned so much in such a short time, I can't wait for the opportunity to do it more in the future!!!
And then the storm passed
Towards the end of November I was surprised when my shadowban unexpectedly lifted and my page BLEW BACK UP literally overnight. My reach went from 30k to 3M in only 3 days!!!
With us back in business I was quickly back on my bullshit. Shitposting and spreading chaotic positivity as far as I could. As activity increased so did the shenanigans. Now, just a month since the shadowban was lifted, our Facebook group and Discord are FLOURISHING. We have had so many new people joining us causing all sorts of hilarious hijinks to ensue. With that came even MORE opening doors as I've been able to start connecting with more folks leading to all sorts of new and interesting opportunitites. Now here we are on Christmas day. I'm sitting here on my laptop typing this up while chatting up a bunch of different people, just last night I started a freaking CAMEO of all things and actually had a few people immediately jump on it. It's wild seeing what this page has lead to and I can only imagine what 2024 is going to mean for all of us.
Thank you all SO MUCH for your support this year, I couldn't have gotten through it without you.