Another year has rolled around and again it is time to start preparing for Gonzofest. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the festival, it is a series of events all over the city that honor Louisville’s most infamous author Hunter S. Thompson. Mr. Thompson was born and raised right here in Louisville eventually becoming well known for his unique journalism, crazy adventures, dabbling in politics, creation of “Gonzo” style writing, frequent use of drugs and some other illegal activities. He wrote novels such as the Rum Diary, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hell’s Angels and a slew of journal articles that had been featured in Rolling Stones. So, naturally, the city loves him, and so do a lot of other people across the world. He is renowned for his uniqueness, to say the least.
Last year my business partner and I where approached by one my close friends, Jake Mahaffey, who had told us of his plan to make a banner in dedication to Hunter S. Thompson. Since there where several banners for other famous Louisvillians he had figured it was time for the city to pay its respects to its most infamous character. We didn’t think much of the idea until he had got into connections with Ron Whitehead, a local poet and artist who had been friends with the Gonzo writer himself. Whitehead took up the reins on the project and made everything happen, talking to city officials and people from all over the world to get this idea going. After a couple months the plans began to unravel and the Gonzofest came into form and the banner was created and found it’s home on the Bristol’s building on Bardstown Rd.
Yet, before all of the festivities could launch they needed a way to make some funds and raise awareness for the festival, and this is where myself and my business partner come into play. Jake had told Mr. Whitehead about our endeavors into clothing and suggested we make the merchandise line for the festival. I will never forger the moment I met Ron Whitehead and told him the name of my company, he paused and starred at us, you could see the gears turning in his head as he processed the name, Know Nothing. We had met in an empty parking lot, it was the middle of winter, but unusually warm and raining.
“I’ve come to realize the older I get, that I know absolutely nothing.” he said never breaking eye contact. “I fucking love it, let’s do this.” We shook damp hands and it was set in stone that we where now in charge of making the merchandise for the festival. Right after we found out we got to work, they had only given us a couple months to organize everything and somehow we made it all happen, from constructing a website to making and selling the merchandise.
Now this year, we where asked if we could do it all again, but this time with a bigger budget and more people to tend to. We gladly accepted and now it’s crunch time. The events start on April 11th and we where just informed this week that we would be doing this all over again. This year I have high hopes for what will happen, but am a little concerned with time, as usual we like to do things last second.