What is FSG?
FSG is one of longest-running Pagan Festivals in the country. Held in June of each year in Darlington, Maryland, we bring together people from every possible background and spiritual path. Attendance runs around 700 people and the age range is from 7 months to 80 years old. We are open to anyone who is interested in our spirituality. The only requirements to attend are an open mind, a desire to learn, and the ability to get along with and respect your fellow attendees at the festival.
Can I bring my pet/companion animal/familiar to FSG?
Sorry, the Camp's rules prohibit animals from attending Free Spirit. Of course, service animals are welcome.
Can I bring my kids to FSG?
Of course you can. We offer a complete track of programming just for children as well as activities geared to young adults 13–17.
Do you offer child care?
We do not offer child care at FSG. We are trying an experiment in networking parents and those who wish to offer child care services; please look for the sign-up sheet at the Camp Store.
What are the cabins like?
All cabins have shared sleeping rooms and a large shared bathroom. The cabins have electricity, lighting, and ceiling fans, hot and cold water, showers, and flush toilets. The beds all have single mattresses and box springs. You will need to bring your own pillow and sheets or sleeping bag.
Can my group get its own cabin?
Yes. You'll need to fill the entire cabin to have it to yourselves, though. Depending on the cabin, that's between 7 and 14 people. Even if you don't have enough people to fill an entire cabin, we can put your group together in the same cabin. If you want to get a group cabin you should drop a line to the Registrar and register everyone in your group early.
Are there any private cabins?
No; the smallest cabins have 7 beds. If sharing a cabin isn't something you want to do, we suggest that you opt to bring a tent. Many people do.
If I stay in a tent, what do I do for bathrooms?
All the bathrooms in the cabins are open to those attendees staying in tents, so you would pick the cabin closest to you and shower, etc there. There are also restrooms by the pool and in the tin can as well as Port-a-Johns that we bring in for Festival.
What is a day pass?
With a day pass you, can arrive when registration opens and stay late into the evening. You can attend any of the workshops, rituals, concerts etc. The only restriction on a day pass is that you can't spend the night, so you can't bring a tent. Also, people on day passes are excused from community service shifts.
Can I bring my RV/Trailer?
We can accomodate a limited number of RVs and trailers at FSG. Popups and tiny trailers (rated 1000# or less, i.e., generally tow-able by a 4-cylinder car) may be parked in limited spots around camp, including the edge of the soccer field and downhill from the bat barn across from the owl cabins. They may not be parked on the main ritual field, on merchants row, downhill from merchants row (you don't want to sink into the leach field—trust us), or in places off-limits for tents (e.g., the entrance to the Labyrinth). Trailers weighing more than 1000# and RVs will have to stay in the parking lot. Please note, though, that Ramblewood does not have water or power hookups. If you plug in a cord into a plug anywhere onsite, the camp staff may ask you to unplug it. In any case, please let the Registrar know if you're bringing a camper, trailer, popup, or RV, and please check with Check-in when you arrive about your intended parking spot.
Can I park my car by my cabin/tent?
Generally, no. You may drive your car to your cabin/tent site to load in and load out, but we ask that you take your car back to the parking lot when you're done. You may also, if you need to, pre-arrange an onsite parking permit. Please note: If it's been wet, we may restrict onsite driving to paved areas.
What if I forget something at home? Are there stores near the site?
While the festival site is secluded, you can get just about anything you need or might have forgotten within a 20-minute drive. There are several outlets for beer, wine etc; two good-sized supermarkets, a Home Depot, and a Target. We're in the process of putting together a map with directions and approximate travel times for those resources.
What should I bring?
We've complied a fairly extensive list of Packing & Preparation suggestions. By the same token if you have a suggestion, please tell us.
Can I bring beer, wine, mead, etc. to gathering?
Of course. As long as you are responsible, are over 21 and don't give any to anyone under 21 years old. However, public drunkenness or giving alcohol to those under 21 will get you ejected from Gathering without a refund.
Can I bring other intoxicating substances to gathering?
No. Illegal substances are just that, illegal; don't bring 'em.
Why do I have to wear a wristband?
The wristbands let us know that you are an attendee and belong on site. They also let us know that you are over/under 14 for the pool and that you are over/under 18 or 21 for age-restricted programming.
Do I have to buy my meals ahead of time?
No, you are free to purchase meals at the dining hall on an as-needed basis; just show up and pay for the meal at the door. Note that each meal costs $1 more than if you pre-pay, and dealing with meals ahead of time can be more convenient. Please be aware, though, that we can't refund you for meals after we've given meal counts to the Camp, which happens on or about 1 June.
Do I need a credit card to register on-line?
Yes (or a credit card-logo bank card). If you want to pay by check or MO, you have to use the paper form, and we strongly suggest using USPS Express or Priority Mail (so that you can track it). The address is:
5220 Old Easton Rd
Doylestown PA 18902
Why do you charge more for paper registrations?
Each paper registration we receive has to be entered by hand. While one or ten isn't a problem, entering 700 is a daunting process and takes many hours of volunteer labor. Registering on-line is faster, easier for you and for us, and more accurate.
I don't belong to a group; can I still come?
Of course. While we do have several groups who make FSG their annual event, everyone is welcome to attend regardless of group affiliation or spiritual path.
Does it cost extra to attend the workshops?
Generally, no, except for few workshops that charge a materials fee. These workshops are clearly marked in the program book.
Are the rituals open to everyone?
All rituals listed in the program book are open to all festival attendees (except the Mens' and Womens' rituals). In addition to the published rituals, there are often smaller rituals that are held by individual groups. These are usually open to the public; however, on occasion they are private.
Can I get there by public transportation?
Yes. There are taxis that run from the bus/train stations at Aberdeen and the Perryville bus station. The cost to the site is about $40. More information regarding public transportation, including getting here by air, can be found on our Packing & Prep page and on our Accommodations page.
What's the photography policy?
People who are willing to be asked will be wearing a green dot on their wristband. If someone's not wearing the photo-ok wristband, please don't even ask. Be aware of folks in the background, and if you're taking a picture of a group, make sure you have everybody's permission first.
Will my cell phone work?
Depending on your cell provider, you will probably have some level of service at camp.
Is there Internet access?
There is internet service at Ramblewood, but it's iffy.
How can I join the staff? Can I get a discount for working?
The easiest way to become staff is to just let us know you want to help. Just send an email to the Coordinatorand tell us a little bit about yourself and what area of festival you'd like to help with. We try to accommodate people's requests as to where they want to help, but we don't always have openings. If we don't have an opening in your desired department, we'll try to offer you something else. Depending on your level of involvement at Festival you may be offered a discount on your registration fees. Most of the staff members pay to attend festival; very few get in for free.
How do I become a merchant?
Simple! You register to attend the gathering (there's a merchant option on the first regonline page). You must be registered for the gathering to be a merchant there. We don't waive registration fees for merchants (though we do excuse one person per business from Community Service), so you should consider that cost when planning on merchanting at our event.
What are the workshops like?
Workshops at FSG cover a wide range of topics and levels. We've offered everything from Wicca 101 to Sacred Brewing to Aromatherapy to workshops for Group Leaders. Check out our current and previous years' workshop and presenter lists and schedules; just remember that current year's presenters, workshops, and schedules are subject to change.
When will the workshops be posted?
We post workshop descriptions and presener bios starting in March, and we build and post the schedule in mid-to-late April. Please note, though, that the schedule is not final until the program goes to press (and sometimes not even then).
Who do I contact if I want to present a workshop?
Start here for the presenter guidelines, schedule outline, and forms. Even if you've presented for us in the past, a look at the presenter guidelines is probably a good idea. If want to ask us about presenting, please drop a line to the P-Team. We build the schedule in mid-April and send presenter confirmations and registration instructions as soon as humanly possible after then.
What is Community Service?
Community service is back, with some changes. It’s no longer required (and there are no more Duck Bucks), but if you feel moved to help out, please check in at HQ for what’s needed and when. If you do sign up for a volunteer shift, though, please do show up at the time you said you would, dressed and ready to put in some time.
Can I bring a wheeled vehicle for personal use at the festival? (For example: Wheelchair, bicycle, scooter, golf cart, rollerblades, rollerskates, etc. We are not talking cars, vans, or trucks here; they have different rules.)
Wheeled vehicles for personal use are not generally allowed at the festival. The terrain at our site is unsuitable and potentially dangerous for these vehicles. We make exceptions to this policy for people with mobility issues and specific staff uses. For people with mobility issues, we will ask to see either a handicapped tag on your vehicle or an original doctor's note stating that you have a mobility issue and require the device.
People with approved devices will be issued a special tag to put on their mobility devices indicating that they are allowed to use them on site. If someone operates the device in a manner deemed unsafe, festival safety staff may revoke the tag and ask that person to remove the device from the site.
We offer golf cart rides to anyone who is having trouble getting around our somewhat hilly site. If you need a ride, look for someone with a radio and have them call for a golf cart for you. It may take a little while for the golf cart to come, but we'll do our best not to keep you waiting long.
What about the golf carts?
We use the golf carts to help our staff get around quickly so we can be at top form making your gathering the best gathering it can be. We also give rides to folks who are having trouble getting around Camp. Oh, and the medical staff has a golf cart, too, so they can get around to multiple emergencies faster.
What if I register and pay, and then can't attend?
You can do most of what you need to from the RegOnline link in your original confirmation. If you have trouble changing it on your own, send email to the Registrar. You can request a refund or transfer your registration to someone else. If you want to transfer your registration, please email both the Registrar and that person a note to that effect. Please note that we send meal counts to the Camp on or about 1 June, so if you pre-registered for meals, you must request your refund before that date. If you make your request after we've sent counts to the Camp, will be unable to refund the meals portion of your payment. Regardless of when you cancel, we will charge you a cancellation fee ($35 in 2011), which covers the costs of getting you into (and then out of) the system.
What if I have a problem with someone at FSG?
We encourage you to communicate with thast person first. If you can't resolve it on your own, please find a staff member, and we'll do our best to help you resolve the issue. It's important for you to let us know in a timely fashion; if you wait until after, there's not much we can do. If you need our help with resolving an issue, you'renot bothering us. That's one of the reasons we're here.
For more information about how we approach conflict resolution, please refer to our Conflict Resolution Policy.