Getting Festival-Ready

camping-outdoors

 

It’s been a long winter.  The cold and snow seemed to really bring people down this year, and it seem to extend long into our traditional spring.  The energy and wonderful feelings of the last outdoor festivals of last year are fading a bit, but that wonderful season is about to start again.  It’s time to get out your camping gear, clean things up, and check you list twice before heading out to some great events with fabulous people.  But what do you really need when you go camping at a Pagan event?

First and foremost, you need shelter.  Whether you use a tent that’s been in your family for years or a new one out of the box, or even have a camper, you need to make sure it’s in good working order and you know how to set it up.  Consider if you are going to be by yourself or if you’ll have others staying with you and make sure everyone knows how to set up and take down the equipment.  Before you head out to your first festival of the season, make sure all the seams are waterproofed and that it’s all nice and clean.  There’s nothing worse than setting up your home for the week and realizing there’s a hole in the fabric or that it’s moldy.  Ok, maybe there’s one thing that’s worse.  Realizing you left poles or tent stakes at home.

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Along with shelter, you need bedding.  Make sure it’s bedding that you are going to be comfortable with for the duration of your festival, and take at least one more blanket than you think you need.  You never know if you’ll get a night that is a bit colder than normal, or if you’ll get a sunburn (like I usually do) and want a little extra warmth for a night or two.  Take care to make sure you have batteries for an air mattress pump, and that you have an alternative plan if your bed springs a leak.  My favorite that I’ve used for a few festivals is a thinner queen size air mattress with a memory foam mattress pad over the top.  The pad is washable, which is perfect after a hot and sweaty festival.  I actually hate going home to my big king size comfy bed after I’ve been on the air mattress.

Will you be cooking at the festival or are you going to eat from vendors?  If you’re cooking, precook everything you can.  Make sure you have a list of meals and all the ingredients, including spices.  You don’t necessarily need a list of what meals on what day, but don’t take your whole kitchen “just in case” either.  If you are planning on eating at the vendors, do some research as to what types will be there and how people like their food.  Take plenty of money and put it in a safe place.  And don’t forget to inquire about ingredients if you have allergies.

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Water or other hydration is exceptionally important at summer festivals.  There are two festivals that are a must for me in the summer, and I have to treat the water issue differently at each one.  The first one is held at a location that has very iron-filled water, to the point that it comes out of the spigot orange.  I can’t stand the taste.  The first year we tried to filter it with a Brita filter.  Even running it through twice didn’t make it better, although keeping it cold and adding lemonade mix made it tolerable.  This year, I’m bringing bottled water, in gallons to produce less waste.  At another festival I attend, the water is perfect with a Brita filter, if I remember to change the filter from the first festival.  So know the quality of the water at the location you are going to and make adjustments as needed.  Staying hydrated is very important!

Now that the basics are covered, it’s time for the fun stuff!  Clothing, depending on the festival, can be any variety.  Think of comfort, especially with the weather.  I love flowing dresses, capris, tanks, sandals, and just easy things to wear.  Don’t forget a light jacket or sweatshirt, and if you like, jingling skirts for dancing around bonfires.  Festivals are a time where you can shed your mundane clothing and get creative.  I see a lot of people, men and women, in sarongs and they look pretty darn comfortable.

Other things to bring to a festival are musical instruments!  Drums, rattles, guitars, anything that can make beautiful music and you are comfortable in playing is perfect for festivals.  I have a djembe that I adore and take with me, as well as a rattle egg.

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Lastly, take a moment and make yourself up a portable altar, if you are so inclined.  It doesn’t have to be fancy and probably shouldn’t be expensive, but pack up a few things that make you feel at home.  I usually add a few crystals, a Goddess statue I made, a battery operated candle, and an altar tile.  I have a little handmade table that packs flat and a pretty cloth I toss over it, and it’s a great focal point when I need to take some time and meditate or just get away for a few minutes.

There are a lot of other things you can and might need to take with you.  Before heading out to any festival you haven’t been to before, ask other people that go what you need to bring.  Most often, the festival has a list they can provide for you.  Camping at Pagan festivals is one of the most rewarding things I do during the summer.  The friendships I’ve made and connections I forged are wonderful things that keep me going through the long winter months.  I heartily recommend hitting up some Pagan or other festivals.  It’s well worth your time!

Chrysalis Moon: Best Little Pagan Festival in Indiana

Chrysalis Moon Logo 2014

Chrysalis Moon

If you’ve never been to a Pagan festival, or even if you are a seasoned veteran from way back, Chrysalis Moon is a festival you don’t want to miss.  Last year was the first year I attended and I’ve been counting down the days til I get to go again.  Seriously.  I’m counting.  90 days until I make the 2 hour trip from Fort Wayne, as of the day I’m posting this.  I’m excited not only to be going to Chrysalis Moon again, but I’m excited to be going with so many of my friends.

What is Chrysalis Moon and Why is it so Special?

Chrysalis Moon is a Pagan festival held in Tippecanoe River State Park, in Winnemac, Indiana.  There are special guests, musical guests, and classes taught by members of the Pagan community.  This year, the special guests are Pagan authors Joyce and River Higgenbotham, and healing practitioners Corirose Anjali and Lucinda Anjali.  The musical guests, returning for the second year in a row, is Murphy’s Midnight Rounders.  They were a blast last year and I can’t wait to reconnect with them this year.

Chrysalis Moon is special for many reasons.  The classes are amazing, with a wide variety of topics.  This year, one of our own community members, Mark Pope, will be teaching a class on Asatru practices.  Every night, there is a big bonfire with a drumming circle and dancing, as well as revelry and fun.  You can walk the labyrinth if you like, which is created by lit tealight candles.  (I encourage walking the labyrinth, especially if you’ve never walked one before.  It’s life changing.)  On Saturday evening, there is a large ritual based on the theme of the year.  It’s 5 days of fun, learning, and community, that is inexpensive and fantastic.

One of the things that sets Chrysalis Moon apart from other festivals you might have attended is the accomodations.  Instead of bringing your tent, cabins are provided in your fees.  They are wooden buildings reminiscent of Scout camp.  They have beds and doors and a roof and everything!  Four camps are set up in circles, with a lodge that has electricity, along with six other smaller cabins, a fire circle, and a flush toilet station.  The fifth, center camp has a couple of cabins where the special guests stay, as well as a kitchen for them and a larger fire circle.  Meals are on your own, so you do need to bring food and some way to cook it, as well as a screen tent if you like.  Sleeping tents are not permitted, but there’s plenty of space in the cabins.

Last year, we stayed only for Friday through Sunday and this year we are going to stay the whole event, Wednesday through Sunday.  We want first crack at the wonderful vendors and we don’t want to miss a beat when it comes to classes and community.  It’s a great way to get out of town for a few days on the cheap and chill in nature with awesome people.

How do I Learn More about Chrysalis Moon?

For more information, check it out at their website!  Classes and rituals are listed as well as prices and other important information.  There’s still time to get your registration in.  Tell them you are going to be with Three Rivers Pagans to get in our camp!  We are taking up residence in Earth camp this year, the northernmost cabin pod in the park.  Closer to the event, we’ll get together to plan things like shared meals and carpooling too to save money on the trip.  So let me know you’re coming along!  Chrysalis Moon is sure to be the best time spent this summer!

Chrysalis Moon logo used with permission.  Artist: Cern Greenman