For a first-time event, I think things went very smoothly. It’s no small feat to bring 1500 people together and have them not only get along, but live peacefully in close proximity in the 90+ degree heat, accompanied by ticks, biting flies and humidity you could cut with a knife.
We were looking for a place to offer our thoughts and suggestions, and haven’t found an official WGF venue as of yet. The things I’m suggesting are not deal-breakers for us, but just a few small tweaks would make this event even better next year — when I am SURE we will have more folks show up!!!
That said, here’s my kudos and whines about the 2011 festival.
- Friendly, easy-to-find rangers and site assistants. Thanks for the bright green and red shirts! The volunteers were friendly, fun and great to work with.
- Great speakers. I could not get to hear them all, there were so many excellent ones to choose from!
- Courage to take on some hard issues. I’d like to have seen more on other “justice” issues besides sexuality, but since many festivals are afraid to even talk about hard issues, it was awesome.
- Cost. It was relatively affordable, and if one needed “help” to make it to the festival, there was always volunteering to help defray costs.
- The Wild Goose parade at the end of every day by the kids. It was an awesome sight!
- The porta-potty vendor kept things clean and relatively de-stink-afied. That’s not an easy task!
- The Coffee Barn… ah that yummy iced coffee!!! So amazing.
- Loved the cool “UseYerFoot” handwashing facilities. What a great idea! I passed it along to some of the “green” day camps in our area. They were jazzed!
- Loved the beer tent – and Beer and Hymns? What’s not to like! 🙂
- The Peace Garden. Man. I spent a lovely couple of quiet, blessed hours there.
- Some of the most AMAZING people I have ever met came… as participants, as contributors, as vendors.
- Seriously – music every night past midnight? In the heat, it was a bit much. If you must, could you make it a nice mellow acoustic set? (Yeah. We brought earplugs. And used them!)
- Making the designated “family camping area” in a part of the camp with no shade, and a long hike to the showers. That was cruel. I’m glad we didn’t opt for it. It also was NOT quiet there since they were closest to the main stage.
- Campsites in general were not well set-up. I don’t know whether this was WGF choice or how Shakori Hills runs things… but… the campsites themselves were close to a free-for-all. There were few fire rings (bona-fide) which in the eyes of this ex-Girl Scout was a big safety issue. And people generally needed to have their cars nearer to their campsites. That was a rough walk in the heat.
- Food vendors – After about 2 days, we wanted more variety. And shorter lines.
- Amenities – 1500 people and 8 showers. Really? More water spigots would be good too.
- No place to cool off… how about a misting tent?
- The geodome is a cool concept, but it is hard to hear when some of the venues had bigger amps and louder bands. Phyllis Tickle was up to the challenge of talking over the ‘Beer and Hymns’ though. She rocks. 🙂
- Message Board – some central place to leave a message for the desired meet-ups. Without phone service (AT&T was poor) there’s no way to text. So the “old fashioned way” of messages would be great. It could also be a place to post announcements of a general nature.