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Article ID: 14685
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Taliesin Govannon
Posted: July 31st. 2011
Times Viewed: 4,429
Sponsored by: The Association For Consciousness Exploration
Location: Wisteria, Pomeroy Ohio
Event Date(s): July 5th - July 10th
I've been going to Starwood for 13 years now... not nearly as long as some, but long enough to get a feel for the festival, and to know an off year from a keeper. And this year was definitely one for the record books.
Things kicked off in grand style on Tuesday night, with Myan Ruins opening the Starwood stage in grand style. Or so people tell me... I was in transit, and didn't get there until after the band finished playing. I picked up a couple of their CD's, however, and if they're half as good live as they are on CD, I will not stop kicking myself for missing it.
All in all, the music this year was great... not only did we get to see old favourites like Kenny Klein (he had a different band than the last time he played Starwood, but they were in fine form) , but new favourites were discovered as well. One band that made a big impact on me was Cabinet, a “newgrass” band that had a lively, energetic sound. Another band tearing up the main stage was Cleveland's own Morticia's Chair, whose dark, moody sound was a great counter-balance to the world-beat and folk-inspired music one usually hears at festivals.
The smaller, more intimate stages (found at Caffeina's Cafe and the Green Man Tavern) provided lunch time and dinner shows daily. Highlights on these stages included Awen (at the Cafe) and the Starwood debut of The Cavegirls (at the Tavern) . While some were disappointed that Raquy and the Cavemen couldn't make it to Starwood this year, we at least had the Cavegirls, made up of some of Raquy's best and brightest students. Their dinnertime set on Friday drew the biggest crowds of the week.
Of course, Starwood is far more than just music... this year's workshops included something for everyone. The irreverent Reverend Ivan Stang brought his trademarked sense of Subgenius chaos to his talk, and longtime Pagan elder Oberon Zell illuminated folks to the wonders of the polyamourous lifestyle. Other notable presenters included Donald Michael Kraig (Magick For the Future) , Ian Corrigan (Summoning Spirits - Ancient Magic for Modern Paganism) , Nema (MAAT: The Magick of Heritage Parts 1 and 2) , Josh Sherman (Indian Rhythm Theory and Vocal Percussion) , Harvey Wasserman (Was George Washington a Gay Potsmoker?) , Larry Cornett (Working With Nature Spirits) , Willowe Starling (Intermediate/Advanced Doumbek Technique) , and A.J. Gooch (Brewing Beer 101) .
Looking back at this (very small) sample, it never fails to amaze me just how much variety the organizers (The Association For Consciousness Exploration) manage to pack into one festival. I've often said, if they had the EXACT SAME program for five years running, you could STILL experience a different festival every time! While some festivals suffer from a lack of variety and choices, the hardest thing about Starwood workshops is when two workshops you wanted to take in are scheduled at the same time!
And Starwood keeps evolving... this year they featured two showings of “Dark of Moon”, the first feature film to have 100% accurate portrayals of Neo-Pagans and their beliefs. And the old Island pyro show has become the “in front of the stage” pyro show. The “G” Spot, a camp populated by largely 20-something Starwoodians (known as the “Space Rangers”) stepped up and hosted the Sunday night potluck (called the “Do-Over”) , and the free shuttle service along the main road of the campground proved to be a big hit for the second year in a row.
The Starwood Kid's Village was running without a hitch this year, and the staff provided a nurturing environment for the smallest of attendees. One big hit was Michael Mirth's Magic Show, which held the children in rapt attention Friday afternoon. The Kid's Parade on Saturday was a colourful and lively affair, and my own two children can't wait to go back next year.
The week wrapped up with the big Starwood Bonfire, which is truly a spectacle to witness. It's the only time you'll ever be THAT close to something THAT big that's on fire... at least, where nobody used to live in it, anyway! The Fire Tribe did a bang-up job building the fire again this year, and made sure that everyone had a safe time partying until dawn around that heaping pile of burning wood.
The drumming this year REALLY took off! Not only was the drumming around the Saturday night bonfire fantastic, but also the Paw-Paw Patch (Wisteria's main drumming site) was ROCKING! I love Paw-Paw... it reminds me of the old Grouple Dome (which saw it's last Starwood in 1996) , and the energy is always magickal there.
Here, I must say something about Starwood's new home, Wisteria. Located in Pomeroy Ohio, Wisteria is a beautiful festival site, with great people and great energy. While many of us were still recovering last year at Starwood 30 (Starwood 29, the last one at the old location, was particularly rough for some) , this year we got a better feel for Starwood's new home, and everyone loved it! The Wisteria staff was kind, friendly, capable, and free of any agenda that could get in the way of anyone's enjoyment of the event. This is a festival site ran right, and everyone can rest easy knowing that Starwood has a three-year contract to hold the festival there.
All in all, Starwood 31 was a rousing success. Attendance grew from last year, and the old-timers found new life in this old festival. You can't beat perfection... so remember: while some may try to imitate Starwood, there really can be only one. Genuine Starwood... accept no imitations!
Here's to 31 more years!
Location: Akron Area, Ohio
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