As early as the 1630s, the name “Freak” has been used to describe any individuals that where not ‘normal in a normal sense’. Back in those days it was usually in conjunction with a birth abnormality or disfigurement. These folk were able to band together, by joining the traveling “Freak Shows” that have been popular, even till present day.
Freak Shows of today consist mainly of “self made freaks” with the use of tattooing, piercing, implants and cosmetic surgery to enhance their inner freak. With the exception of the Contortionists, the sword and glass swallowers and the like, who have their own unique abilities and tolerances.
The ‘Freak Scene’ recognized as a ‘Subculture’, didn’t come into existence in till the late 1960s. The term was used for a slightly post-hippie and pre-punk style of bohemian subculture.This resulted from an overlapping in subcultures of the times. On the outer edges of them there were the politicized pacifist post-hippies and non political progressive rock fans, the non-political psychedelic music and psychedelia fans. This subculture flowed between rock festivals, free festival happenings and alternative society gatherings of various kinds.
Frank Zapper and his band Mother of Invention were central in the Freak Scene Sub Culture when they brought out the album “FREAK OUT”.
Their fans were encouraged at their gigs to express themselves freely, through dance and fashion, as a representation of your true sense of being. To be ‘Out There’ and ‘Freak Out’. Zapper said that ‘Freaks’ resisted the binaries of right versus left, Dominant Culture versus Counter Cultures or Squares versus Hippies. There by preferring an aesthetic and not confined by trends or political leanings.
Some of the famous musician also associated with the Freak Scene were David Bowie, Hawkwind, Dinosaur J, Pink Floyd, Boy George to name a few.
There for the Freaks clothing and make up worn can consist of elements of role play. Pulling extracts from sci fi and or time warped refugees out of middle earth, often using bright neon colors in costume to develop into a broader system of communication and form of self expression and representation.
One of the largest alternative festival these days supporting the ‘Freak Culture’ is The Burning Man Festival thats held in the Nevada Desert each year, attracting over 50 000 individuals.