Thursday, July 10, 2008

Researching Festivals

We're sure that by now you're getting used to the erratic schedule on which we write blogs. Stay tuned: It looks as if it's going to get a lot more erratic. The middle two weeks of July we'll be at Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman NY), the first week attending one of the best festivals in the northeast, Sirius Rising. (Remember Orion's dog Sirius? He's the reason we call this warm season dog days. In mid-July, the dawn sun rises between earth and Sirius.) The second week we'll be on site basically meeting old friends who will also atend Starwood: ACE's* massive festival and party.
Festivals and festival speakers seem now to us to fall into definite categories: Some festivals, those that refuse to pay speakers or even reimburse them for honest travel expenses, are only a money machine for the promoters. Other festivals pay to get good speakers and musicians but have a hard time breaking even. These, though, are definitely much more worth attending.
Speakers and presenters as well fall into two distinct categories: The "big names" who charge the earth and are pushing the same old tired message; and those who have a new and different view (which they have thought through past the point of ego-stroking blither). Here the pattern is to charge very little if anything, and to be well worth listening to.
With both speakers and festivals, then, we ourselves perceive a strong negative correlation (note: negative) between sincerity and profit.
So how can you tell which gatherings are worth attending? You really can't, unless you can psychometrize the announcements they publish. You pays your money and you takes your choice. After once or twice researching Festival X or Speaker Y, you'll at least have something to push against; you can review the experience and say to yourself, "Not this!"
We can promise that at the ones we attend, the organizers are not making much if anything in the way of profit. We ourselves ask for expenses but never an honorarium.
Meantime, get out and sniff around any festivals you can get to. Do your research. Look at the attendees and listen to them. Where do they fall on the Flake/Weird Index? Look at the program. Is it too bizarre or too hackneyed or too gasping to fit your interests?
By the way, has anybody got any ideas on ways we can compensate for the carbon footprint that we incur with the bonfires?--ways beyond making attendees pay for carbon credits.
We hope to cross paths with you at one or another of these gatherings.
Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne
- - - - - - - - -
* The Association for Consciousness Expansion

7 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

Carbon footprints from bonfires-

Plant a tree, if it will make you feel better. I don't think it's necessary, but trees are always a good thing anyway. The more trees there are, the more balance between carbon and oxygen.

The more people there are, the more land is cleared, and thus the less trees and vegetation to recycle the increased carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Then of course you have that much more energy consumption.

Of course, you could also discourage the bonfires, but I doubt that would go over very well.

tigeress said...

I just wanted to tell you I am reading your magical witchcraft book. Its interesting..
I find it interesting how contraversal you are over a passage in your orginal witch bible something about young childen initiation and dildo..so i'lve been told haven't read it....how do you think that came about and how do you feel now
Fan
Tigeress

The Pagan Temple said...

Gavin and Yvonne-

I just did my one thousandth post, come over and say howdy if you get the time.

The Pagan Temple said...

Almost forgot, Happy Lughnasadh.

Shadowhawk said...

Hello. Tis i Shadowhawk,, down but never out.On festivals i say they all have there good and bad points.. Would love to go to Starwood.. And yes ACE has been around for awhile..Ian Corrigan does good by them.. Hope your trip to Brittany was a smash.. Update on my mother, she is cancer free and doing well. Hope your garden is in good health .. Blessed Be Gavin and Yvonne

Shadowhawk

MR_ANDERSON said...

It may be true that some "Speakers and presenters... fall into two distinct categories: The "big names" who charge the earth and are pushing the same old tired message; and those who have a new and different view (which they have thought through past the point of ego-stroking blither). Here the pattern is to charge very little if anything, and to be well worth listening to."

However, this is neither always the case but often not the case at all. I recently attended a festival in the midwest where I heard one speaker, going for their doctorate and currently a college professor who teaches occult subjects, proceed to make about 30 errors of fact in their first 20 minutes of speaking. This person was not getting paid.

I would respectfully contend that your claim that there is a "negative" correlation (actually, I believe you mean an "inverse" correlation) between sincerity and profit errs in two areas. First, "sincerity" has nothing to do with quality. I'm sure the doctoral candidate I mentioned above was very sincere, they were just factually wrong.

Second, I would say that the basic tenor of what you are claiming--which could be translated as "if they charge a lot they're not worth it"--verges on the poverty mentality that infests so many Pagans.

So how do you tell if someone is a good presenter? Ask your friends. Do a web search. I know one presenter, one of the world's most famous performing entertainers in his field, who will do a show in Las Vegas for tens of thousands of dollars and then go to a festival for costs in order to support the community. I know of one "big name" who was at the festival with the problematic professor who made a tiny stipend to give six workshops and who, the previous month, had made thousands giving a half-day talk after the sponsors flew him to Hawaii for the workshop.

I would say, then, that quality and profit are not inversely related. The question is whether the presenter is only interested in profit and not supporting and sharing with the community.

Roseanna said...

Could you PLEASE settle an argument....there is someone who insists that you founded WICCA from it's inception. I realize that you founded the school and helped get Wicca recognized as a legitimate religion...but didn't Wicca get started by Gardner?
Love, light, peace and blessed be!