Pagan Event Reviews
Year: 2014 ...
Beltania Festival (Florence, Colorado)
Summerland Spirit Festival 2013
Year: 2013 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Sacred Space Conference 2013
Houston Pagan Conference 2013
Free Spirit Gathering 2013: Many Paths
2013 Midwest Witches "Steampunk" Ball
Year: 2012 ...
Between the Worlds: An Interfaith Esoteric Conference
Sirius Rising & Summerfest 2012
Starwood 32--Review by Oberon Zell
Why Celebrate International Pagan Coming Out Day?
Spring Mysteries Festival XXVII
Celebrating 20 Years: St. Louis Pagan Picnic Reaches a Milestone
Summer Solstice Ritual, SF Ocean Beach
Summerland Spirit Festival 2012
Toon Town’s Pagan Summer Fest: A Ten Year Long Dream
Mabon with Blackberry Circle
Salem, Oregon Celebrates Its First Pagan Pride Day (2012)
NorthWest Fall Equinox Festival (NWFEF) 2012 (Review)
Michigan Midwest Bazaar and Witches Ball
Year: 2011 ...
Starwood Festival 2011 (A Review by Oberon Zell)
Sacred Space Celebrates Twenty-one Years!
The New Orleans Witches' Ball
"New Fire in Deep Winter: Oimelc in Minnesota"
St. Louis Pagan Picnic
Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom
Summerland Spirit Festival 2011: The Initiation of a Community
2011 Midwest Witches Ball and Bazaar
Through the Looking Glass Midwest - Michigan's 2011 Witches Ball:
Year: 2010 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Review: Sirius Rising
Free Spirit Gathering
43rd Annual Gathering of the Tribes
Summerfest 2010 (Festival Review)
Midwest Witches' Ball 2010
Year: 2008 ...
The Sacred Space Conference and Winterfest Banquet
Toon Town's Pagan Summer Fest.
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008
The Land Institute Prairie Festival 2008
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008; The Fool's Journey, Breaking the Hermetic Seal
Year: 2007 ...
4th of July Pagan Religious Rights Rally and Ritual and Chesapeake Pagan Community Summer Gathering
Sirius Rising 2007: Making Connections
The 12th Annual Halloween Festival London UK
Louisville Pagan Pride Day
Central Vermont Lughnasadh Festival
2nd Annual Children's Camp
Year: 2006 ...
Harvest Home Gathering 2006 (picts added Oct. 18)
Southeast Women's Herbal Conference
Toronto Pagan Conference
Canadian National Pagan Conference
Sirius Rising 2006
Rally for Religious Freedom
Brazilian Mabon Celebration in São Paulo
Chesapeake Pagan Community Gathering: Dancing with Devas 2006
WitchFest Wales, 2006
Pagan Pride Day - Metro Detroit
Rochester Pagan Pride Day
The 2006 Between the Worlds Men's Gathering
Hellfire Caves Ritual
Beltaine 2006: A Pagan Odyssey
Year: 2005 ...
Tara Summer Solstice 2005
Starwood XXV: Feelin' the Love
Persephone's Masquerade: The 4th Annual OHF Spring Ball
Pictures from New Orleans
Sirius Rising 2005: Restoring the Balance
Harvest Home 2005: Magick, Imagination, and Love
Spirit's Haven in the Woods
Inner Mysteries Intensive with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
People of Beauty, People of Peace: CPC Summer Gathering 2005
Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance’s Wicked Awesome Lugh Beach Party
WES Raises Funds for Katrina Victims
Adirondack Pagan Pride Day
The 2005 Between The Worlds Men's Gathering
WytcheHaven Weekend 2
Midsummer's Haven in the Woods
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Summerfest 2010 (Festival Review)
Article ID: 14130
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,298
Times Read: 3,154
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Author: Peg Aloi [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 22nd. 2010
Times Viewed: 3,154
This year, after twenty years at the Brushwood Folklore Center, the 30-year old Starwood Festival moved to a new location (at Wisteria in Ohio) . For the last few years, Brushwood has held Starwood immediately following Sirius Rising. Though Sirius Rising began as an event to create some fun and interest in the week before Starwood, it gradually grew to become bigger than Starwood and to have a fairly intense magical and elemental focus. This year, Summerfest was created as a festive event to follow Sirius Rising, with a focus less on spirituality, and more on the arts, relaxation and having a good time.
This year was both a fortunate one and a difficult one to have some changes at Brushwood: fortunate because the rainy July weather we’ve had there in the last few summers gave way to hot sunny days and pleasantly balmy nights. Nice change! (Though we did have gale force winds, a tornado in the surrounding area, and torrential rain resulting in flash floods by the end of the second weekend) . Difficult, because Frank Barney, Brushwood’s owner and founder, was recovering from a series of surgeries to treat his Parkinson’s disease, thus placing a lot of stress on his family and the staff.
But everything seemed to go really well and I think a lot of people enjoyed a relaxing week. There were some great performances every night at the Main Stage. We had a Bardic Stage on Monday (hosted by me) , which was intended to be around a fire, but it worked out pretty good to have it at the stage. Bonus: my brother Dan showed up for a night and performed a set along with all the other performers who signed up! That night we also enjoyed neo-hippie rapper River Breitbach and his band Evelyn, (including family members Jackson, Maple and David) .
Tuesday gave us the incomparable song styings of jazz chanteuse Phat Man Dee and the Liquitones, followed by the Waterband. Other performers through the week included Peter Janson, drum wizard Jim Donovan and Drum the Ecstatic International, Boston-based trance band Incus, The Empty Hats, Telling Point, and female harmonic ensemble Barely Lace. The musical offerings were very diverse! The sound and lighting crew (Roofy, Bob and Todd) did a great job every night. I did not attend concerts every night because I was also enjoying hanging out with good friends I only see once a year! But it was also easy to hear the wonderful music from throughout the campground.
Summerfest tried to employ a number of different “paths” or tracks in their programming, and I have to admit I found this a bit confusing. Some of the workshops seemed to overlap categories (which included music, art, rest and relaxation, or mind, body and spirit, among other categories) . I did enjoy the fact that the schedule was less jam-packed than it usually is during Sirius, and the evenings less structured. But the multiple “paths” seemed like an attempt to over-organize things when the workshops and talks spoke for themselves. But overall I liked the selection of workshop offerings and hope it can continue to include plenty of arts-focused subjects and plenty of “hands-on” teaching.
The Summerfest bonfire was built where the Sirius Rising bonfire had been burned the week before, so it was a good deal of work to make that happen. The structure of the Summerfest fire looked a bit like a castle. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to get this fire built, fire designer Jason Isla and the Fire Tribe, including the crew from Chicago who pitched in mightily and helped continue to groom the smoldering fire site after Saturday night! The theme of the firs was “Carnivale” and quite a few people showed up wearing masks and other festive garb. I had been aware there was supposed to be a mask-making “tent” for people to make their own masks during the week, but this never materialized for some reason. At midnight we sang Hay Birthday to Frank Barney, who listened from his house at the top of the hill (here is hoping he will be able to join us at the firs next year!)
I did notice an interesting phenomena that seems to be happening more and more each year: lots of people at the bonfire for the first few hours, but then drifting away to spend time at fires in the Roundhouse, in the Didge Dome, or just their own campfires. I remember when people would hang out at the main bonfire all night, bringing blankets and chairs, dancing and celebrating, working magic, drumming, singing, romancing one another, etc. until the wee hours. I’m not sure why people drift away, especially this year when the weather was so ideal. I heard more than one person comment on this, and some suggested maybe the bonfires be made a bit smaller. Another suggestion was to make the bonfire lighting itself more spectacular, if the fire was going to be smaller and shorter in duration. Maybe as the community matures, we seek a more intimate or comfortable experience from “bonfire night.” It does seem wasteful to burn so much wood if there are only going to be a handful of people still there by 2 am (when I counted them there were about a dozen) . Just wondering if it might be time to rethink the scale of this momentous endeavor, which always has so much work go into it every year.
There were some other interesting high points to the week: like on Wednesday when we set the Guinness World Record for most couples hugging! A really creative and fun event, perfect for kicking off a new festival. We also had the Annual Whiffle Ball Tournament (played later in he day than usual because of the heat) , and a few random rituals and parades not on the schedule. I noticed an unusually large number of voodoo rituals and processions this year, which puzzled me somewhat as most of them were not in the schedule. I found myself wondering if there was a special reason for so many of these processions, which are always fascinating to observe. On Saturday night
Starting a new festival is always a risk: will people attend? Will there be interesting workshops, performances, etc.? One comment I also heard from a number of people was that they thought Summerfest could have a better, more descriptive name. “Summerfest” to some felt too much like a music event or a tailgating party. I heard a few people mentioning other ideas, like “Summerwood” (although maybe that is too much like Starwood?) Because so many people in recent year have been staying at Brushwood for two weeks of festival in July, this year was no different, and roughly 400 of the attendees at Sirius stayed for Summerfest. The total ending attendance was around 750, so hopefully this is a good sign that the event will continue to attract attendees. I did hear that the remaining vendors and merchants did not feel like they were as busy as during Sirius, and certainly less busy than during Starwood (I think the food vendors experienced this because more of the Summerfest attendees were campers who were doing their own cooking) .
All in all, it was exciting to have a new event at Brushwood, and to have it be an event that allowed so many hard-working members of the community to have a chance to relax and have some fun. I look forward to seeing Summerfest find its shape and become a memorable event.
Location: Jamaica Plain, Florida
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