The lovely Bernadette Montana – proprietor of the famed metaphysical shop Brid’s Closet in Cornwall New York – is stepping in with a guest post on the crazy idea of hosting a Pagan Festival! Thanks Bernadette!
How to Put on a Festival OR the Ramblings of One INSANE Witch!
Yes, A long title but a totally appropriate one!
Many people talk about putting on a festival. I used to be one of them! For years, I thought about hosting a large gathering where people could come together and just be themselves. A place to be happy, a place to schmooze with other like minded folks.
In my area of New York, I am pretty much the only metaphysical shop around. The pagan community is actually quite large and so the demand for an event like this was definitely there.
I’ve always loved going to festivals and had even taught at a few. I admired the hard work and the dedication of the people who worked soo very hard to put on these events. But could I possibly do it?
The community (particularly my coven) used their wiles to convince me! Yep, it’s wonderful when people you love, know just how to get you to do the most impossible things!
The first task was to find out where we could hold the event. How many people would come? How could we raise the money needed? What about permits? How would the town handle a “pagan” event? How much would insurance cost? And HOW would I find the time?
For the first 2 years, we were at a wonderful retreat center. Great space, beautiful scenery, and we able to get Isaac Bonewits to be our presenter, but there was no stage – so we needed to build one and hire a separate sound person with equipment. Then the rent went up and so that venue no longer fit with our budget.
The third year, we moved to another retreat center, where we had Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone! The land was great, the festival was fantastic, but we had some problems with one person at this center, so it was time to move somewhere else.
Our forth year was our best yet! We moved to a winery. The place was vast, had a professional stage and equipment, along with lots of parking. Raven & Stephanie Grimassi presented workshops, sold books and gave readings!
I must admit, I was scared! Without the help of the other “crazy” volunteers, it would have never happened. Signs where made, fliers where printed, all free means of advertising were found and utilized (calendars, press releases etc), along with social media (Twitter, Facebook) and of course, word of mouth!
We are now in the planning stages of our 5th Beltane festival! This year we will have Judika Illes as our main presenter! Fun is to be had by everyone! If you are able we’d love to have you join us. Maybe our festival will inspire you to start your own!
Brid’s Closet www.bridscloset.com
296 Main Street, Cornwall NY 12518