Summerland Festival 101
Festival: An organized set of special events, such as musical performances or plays, usually happening in one place, or a special day or period, usually in memory of a religious or spiritual event, with its own social activities, food, or ceremonies. ~Cambridge Dictionary
We all love festival season; a time to come together as tribe, family and friends. A time to share in mutual beliefs and paths, celebrating our connection with everything around us and with each other. A time to enjoy camping, music, workshops, drumming, vendors, dancing, ritual, and community.
We have ample opportunity to have a long festival season here in Florida. With many events taking place further north, we do have a few here in the SWFL area. As much as we like festivals and wish we could go to all of them, the reality is they cost money. We have to take time off from work, there is the registration fee, food, and all of the expenses of camping equipment, etc. But what about the cost of the festival? All the hidden prices of what it takes to have a festival? We enjoy all the amenities a festival offers, entertainment, hot showers, clean restrooms, fire, nice camping spaces, and all the extras that make festivals fun. All of that requires time and money. In my world and to most others, time = money. Most event organizers are not trying to make it rich in the festival business. We just like to see everyone having fun, and to make enough money to be able do it again.
To do it again… What does that take? Well the typical items that make up most of the cost is:
- Portalets $$$
- Cleaning of portalets during event $
- Dumpster $$
- Band/Entertainment $$$
- Electricity $$
- Hot showers
- Insurance $$
- Administration $
- Arm bands
- Copy fees for waivers
- Facility $$
- Tree trimming of dead wood for safe campsites
- Expansion $$
- New features
- New structures
- Incidentals $
- Time $$$$$$
- Preparation and planning of the event
- Cleanup before and after
- Splitting firewood for 3 days and nights of fire
As you can see, there are quite a few items that when totaled typically takes up all of the income from the event. If we get lucky and are not in the red, which happens often, we take the extra to add to maintenance and to expanding. We love Festivals and want everyone attending to love them too.
So now that we all see why and where festivals cost money, how can we help in supporting them and keeping them around? As you can see, the biggest cost is time. The staff works all the time to make these events happen. We start planning months in advance. We work long hours on the property, maintenance, upkeep, firewood and meetings. When the festival is active, we are on the clock dusk to dawn, dawn to dusk, and to some both. Staff is not paid, there is no compensation. They devote their time to making the event happen. Though they do not pay to attend the event, they are usually too busy to participate in any or all of the activities. This may make the staff position sound grim, but the rewards and payoff are tremendous. We are always looking for quality staff to be a part of the festivals. It is hard work but it is well worth it to be part of an amazing event. A requirement for staff is you work the event. Please inquire if you are interested in being staff for any event.
A big part of festivals is the volunteers; we as a community of pagans, family and tribe, should be very familiar with this term.
Volunteer: A person who does something, esp. for other people or for an organization, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it. ~Cambridge Dictionary
For a community to come together, everyone needs to work together. We do this by offering a bit of our time to help the community. This helps your community, your tribe, the property and event staff. At most festivals a volunteer usually works no more than 2 hours. We typically use our volunteers on a credit system where each task is a credit/credits. As you accumulate credits, you earn tickets, which at the end of the event are put into a drawing. We use this system to offer incentive to our wonderful volunteers and being a smaller event. We do have certain jobs that require the full 2 hours also. All help is greatly appreciated and you should feel good in helping your community.
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another”. ~Erma Bombeck
One of the opportunities we get at festivals are the workshops; classes where we learn, discuss and share. The workshops are given by volunteers who are sharing their knowledge and time with you. Please don’t hesitate to give your appreciation for these events. We have workshops throughout the whole event, so come share your knowledge with fellow community, tribe and family. We are always looking for new workshops, so if you have something you want to teach or share, please contact us. There is no compensation for doing these, as they are a volunteer basis, giving back to the community.
Whenever you have a large gathering, there are some basic rules to adhere to, otherwise there is chaos. Many of the rules we have are common sense. Others are set by the powers that be, like insurance companies, or city and county ordinances. Some are set by the event organizers or property owners. All are set to make the event run as safely and smoothly as possible. Here are some that are often asked about and why:
- No Pets: Pets are wonderful companions, but not everyone can be around them due to allergies and such. But the main reason is insurance. The event insurance states no pets at the events.
- Campfires: We all love to sit around a fire. Fires require a lot of supervision. Fire extinguishers are required and the fire must be above ground. That is the requirement of the insurance. The main reason is safety around the property, how much dead debris and weather conditions.
- Electricity: We have basic electricity throughout the property. The electric lines are only capable of handling minimal devices and cannot power more than that. This is an upgrade to the property that we would like to do but requires a lot of money to do.
- 30 minutes unloading: You would think this one is obvious common sense and courtesy, but no one likes to follow it. The property is small with limited access. If you leave your car longer, you could be blocking others. As cars start to pile up in unloading zones it becomes more difficult to get them removed. Please be courteous to staff and others on following this policy.
Please read all the rules when you come onto the property to familiarize yourself with our policies. Along with rules we also have etiquette of festivals. As each festival, event organizer and property may differ, there is some common etiquette that everyone should follow. If you are unsure of why, ask around and you will find answers easily.
- No glass or smoking in the circle
- Dispose of cigarette butts properly
- No pictures in the circle
- No talking during ritual
- Do not play someone’s drum without asking
- No Trash in the fire
- Respect privacy
- Pickup and dispose of your trash
- Respect trees, plants, fauna, and property
We strive to create a beautiful place for all types of festivals. A place with proper facilities, lots of great entertainment, vendors, and workshops. To do this we all need to work together. Help out and volunteer when you can. Pay the registration fee. Follow the rules and policies. Move your car after unloading within 30 mins. Respect your community and property. Most of all have fun and keep coming back!!!!