Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Devin Hunter, author of the new Witch’s Book of Power.
For thirteen years I have had the privilege of traveling all over the US attending and presenting at Pagan and Earth-centered spirituality events, festivals, and retreats. During this time I have come to deeply love the Pagan community and have learned so much about myself. Festivals are not just a great way for us to meet others of like mind, but are perfect waypoints throughout our year that mark our growth and evolution as both an individual and as a community. These events are cornerstones in our small niche, and without them Paganism and its ideals would not have spread the way that they did throughout the last thirty years. Over the past several years however, attendance at these events has been dwindling, which has given rise to a lot of concerns about just exactly where the movement is headed and what needs to be done in order to bring attendance numbers back up.
Obviously, when the recession hit in 2007, money became a concern for most families and any sort of entertainment budget went right out the window with the rest of your savings. There have also been a lot of event location changes, which have deterred some long time festival attendees from continuing their patronage. Sadly, some of the longest-running events in the US and abroad have also been canceled due to these issues. Festivals used to be major events that drew crowds of all sizes, and at one point the national event schedule was so full that there would have been no possible way to attend half of what was available. These days we have a few limited options, but thanks to some folks who stayed in there through the tough times, or have recently jumped on the scene, we are gradually noticing a rise in event offerings all over the country. I believe that in return we need to be showing up and supporting these events so that the institution of festivals is given another chance to provide the much needed networking and philanthropic foundation our larger community was founded upon. I don’t believe we can thrive as a people without these events, and the only way to keep these events around is to show up and give them our time, attention, and yes, money.
Festivals like Earth Warriors (Clarksville, OH) and the Heartland Pagan Festival (McLouth, KS) have been providing safe and controlled outdoor events to the public for years and are known for putting spirit, honor, and integrity first. When attending you don’t just feel like you have been to these events before, you feel like you’re “home” and don’t have to worry about getting lost in a crowd.
Indoor events like Paganicon (St. Louis Park, MN), PantheaCon (San Jose, CA), and ConVocation (Detroit, MI) provide rooms and amenities in a spacious hotel scene for those who don’t do the camping thing. Along with a comfortable bed and your own shower, these events host some of your favorite teachers, authors, and musicians from around the world.
For those of you who love music, there are also a number of Pagan-centered music festivals all over the US like Faerywolds (North Plains OR), and Caldera Fest (Lafayette, GA). These events are known for being full of energy and for having their pulse on what is new in the Pagan music scene.
There is no way possible to list all of the events available for Pagans this year; these are a few that have made a lasting impression on me and countless others. If you haven’t been to a festival before, or haven’t been in a while, check out the ones I have mentioned as well as your local events like Pagan Pride Day. As festival season approaches, there are many reasons to jump in and support the Pagan communities that are coming together to build and host these events. The whole of Pagandom doesn’t live on the Internet—some of us are busy finding excuses to come together!
Our thanks to Devin for his guest post! For more from Devin Hunter, read his article, “Seven Ways to Feed Your Witch Power.”