Back in 2006, there were these two crews who threw rad parties: False Profit and Downlow. False Profit was a friend group and LLC that had a ware-home and produced a variety of parties in underground SF venues. Downlow was a smaller crew that threw renegade parties at beautiful outdoor locations around the Bay. Both crews were independently thinking about throwing a camp-out. When they realized they were both thinking about the same thing, they decided to combine forces. Someone (his name was Stephen) found Belden and planning progressed from there. Influenced by False Profit’s party naming conventions, they decided on the name Priceless. The name of the event was meant to remind campers that you can’t put a price on the value of a weekend in the woods relaxing and dancing with your friends.
Our first year was successful, with approximately 400 people on site and tickets that were sold in three tiers at $35, $45, and $55 for the small scrappy bare-bones party under the radar of Plumas County. Dirt stage’s deco consisted of an EZ-up decorated with fabric and lights. False Profit volunteers acted as security guards, and our med school student friends took on-call shifts as medics. And the guys who would later become the Glitch Mob played at underground friends’ rates as the Troubled Youth Mashup.
After that first year False Profit absorbed the folks from Downlow who were interested in continuing to produce the campout, and the event moved forward under False Profit’s name. Some highlights…
- July 21-23, 2006: The first Priceless, presented by False Profit and Downlow! An afternoon champagne cocktail hour became the first party-within-a-party.
- July 20-22, 2007: The PWP theme was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
- September 26-28, 2008: Two days before the scheduled July event, the Canyon Complex fire skirted near Belden and we were forced to cancel. Fortunately Belden itself wasn’t harmed by the fire and we rescheduled for September. The PWP theme was A Dr. Seuss Birthday Party. This was the last year we were allowed to have fire-spinning or fire art at the event.
- July 3-5, 2009: Our first three-night event! The PWP theme was Midsummer Night’s Revelry.
- July 2-5, 2010: The PWP theme was Back 40 Jubilee (aka the hoedown).
- July 1-4, 2011: The PWP theme was the Fat Cats Gala (aka Monkey vs Robot).
- June 29 – July 2, 2012: The PWP theme was Traveling Carnival.
- July 4-7, 2013: The PWP theme was That 70s Prom.
- July 3-6, 2014: The PWP theme was Space Odyssey.
- July 2-5, 2015: The PWP theme was Binary Ball.
- July 1-4, 2016: The PWP theme was Save Mos Eisley Cantina!
- June 30 – July 3, 2017: The PWP theme was Birds of Distinction.
Over the years, the team throwing the event (the Priceless Planners) grew and changed; more and more people asked to join or were recruited to be part of the volunteer community of folks who love working together to make Priceless happen. Priceless is now maxed out at 1150 bodies on site, with about a third of those bodies dedicated to creating the experience via their time spent on production, music, art, or activities.
In the course of some great long conversations in the fall of 2017, the Priceless team came to the conclusion that the group that now throws Priceless is so broad and rich that it no longer makes sense to say that the event is “presented by False Profit”. Instead, we decided that in 2018 we’ll call the group that’s presenting Priceless simply the Priceless team, the Priceless crew, the Priceless Planners, or just Priceless, as the mood strikes us. Members of False Profit are still in leadership roles and the vast majority of the 2018 team was also on the team in 2017, but the organizational tie to False Profit will be gently put aside. False Profit still hearts Priceless very much, and False Profit will still be supporting the event in a number of ways. Priceless and False Profit will still be organizational cousins, overseen by the same as-yet-unnamed 501c3, and there probably won’t be any noticeable changes to attendees other than a few less mentions of the words “false” and “profit” in sequence. But the change will give the Priceless planning team more room to make their own decisions and to feel more ownership over both their own group identity and the event itself.
Thanks for joining us for this walk through history, and we look forward to dancing with you this July and for many more summers to follow!