Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Free Spirit Gathering 30: MY Family Reunion.

I know I've been a bit lax with my posts of late, but now that things have slowed down a bit here, the posts should flow a bit more.

This past week, Kat and I attended Free Spirit Gathering #30 in Darlington, MD.  After the past year of forced moves, family losses and other family emergencies, mandatory overtime, and other stuff that made life unpleasant, FSG 30 was a pleasant diversion from the mundane. Although the weather was quite unbearable at times, the whole event was still quite enjoyable.  I had volunteered to help my friend Tom Swiss with the entertainment track this year but ended up being commandeered into assisting Kat with making sure Grandmother Elspeth got to where she needed to be, making sure her booth was tended to while she and her teaching partner, John, presented their classes, etc. The rest of the staff was phenomenal, and it was refreshing to see some of the younger generation helping out this year.  There were some changes this year from years past. One of the most notable was the dining hall fare provided by Harry and the Camp Ramblewood staff. There was a new Sous Chef hired this year, and the meals were a vast improvement. I really wanted to kidnap the cook and bring him home with us- at least for a few weeks. Somehow, the TV dinners we ate upon returning home were blasé compared to what we ate the rest of the week.

Next, there was the entertainment.  David London performed his magic show on Thursday night, right before the bardic circle.  I had seen him at last year's event, but was actually picked to participate this year.  Mr. London's show was fantastic, and enjoyed by all. Immediately following his show was the annual FSG bardic circle. The turnout was a bit smaller than last year, but there were also a few new faces.  Sadly, it was cut short after two rounds so Tom could attend to the fire circle.

Friday night and Saturday was the nights for the highlighters.  First came the main ritual, which was phenomenal in its own right. Those that participated in, or who were an actual part of it, made it equally enjoyable and uplifting.  Following ritual, FSG's own "homegrown" troupe of performers, HVBRIS, took the stage on the ritual lawn. All who were in attendance were awed and amazed by their elite fire-spinning skills. They are one act that I always look forward to each year.

Saturday night, we were gifted with the enchanting music of S.J. Tucker and Betsy Tinney. For those who haven't experienced these ladies' performances, I highly recommend you check out their tour schedule at http://sjtucker.com/. Their music is a delightful mix of folk music, story-telling, and more. And while there was a massively severe storm occurring during the concert, thanks to an unscheduled visit by the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill, these ladies continued to put on a fantastic show for everyone, even going acoustic for a period of time while the sound equipment was shut down as a result of the storm. Oh yes, and an added bonus, during a brief conversation with S.J on Sunday morning, I found out what a tiny, tiny world it really is.  S.J worked with my friend Dara Korra'ti on her Bone Walker CD. WOW!

Last, but not least, I would like to give a shout out to old friends, and new, that made FSG 30 an even more memorable experience. Most notable were the couple that helped us break down our campsite and "schlep" our stuff up the hill to load into the cars, Miles and Snoozpossum. Those two were such a great help, and deserve extra kudos.

Now, we have all returned to our respective homes, and are looking forward to FSG 31 next year.


  1. Such a wonderful magickal fantastic time spent with our Family Tribe. So good to see old friends, make new friends, and best add new friends on Facebook so we can keep in touch until we meet again

  2. Have you tried to read this? Your comma usage is suspect.

    1. Thank you for the critique. My punctuation isn't usually so bad, but I composed this on a total of less than 3 hours of sleep.

  3. Good to know about the dining hall meals. We have always brought our own food b/c of the rumors of poor quality. Will consider it for next year.


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