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2023 Program

Welcome to Wild Goose Festival 2023!

Wild Goose shows up in many expressions – insightful music, innovative thinking, practical applications, global networking – and all of these things and more are on the 2023 calendar.

Though at the heart of Wild Goose is a simple, central experience – encourage – people who come alongside one another to celebrate, to grieve, to facilitate. Think encourage, Wild Goose, in all that we do together these days – encourage.

Thank you for leaning into a hopeful Wild Goose future.

Jeff Clark

Producer, Wild Goose Festival


Gather – Dance – Listen – Join In – Hang Out

Each Night after Beer & Hymns at:

  • The Commons Stage – gather, dance, listen with ValLimar and Frank Jansen, a great dance band and special guests
  • Silent Disco – dance the night away with friends at Terra
  • AcoustaGoose – join or listen at the acoustic jam at The Front Porch hosted by Chris the Bard

Morning at The Commons

Gather for breakfast or just a cup of coffee and kick-off the day with The Rustic Riders!

To enhance your Wild Goose experience, take a look at the notes below, please.

Books – Thanks to City Lights in downtown Sylva, NC, our Wild Goose book supplier. Purchase books on-site and we all benefit – you get great content; our authors get great support; and Wild Goose gets some great financial help.

Book Signings – Book signings are in the bookstore and will usually immediately follow a Co-Creator’s presentation/workshop.

The Commons –Take some time to hangout, meet new friends, catch up with old ones at The Commons (formerly known as The Village) – the area in and around the Commons with food, beverages, and music. Grab some coffee and chill to the music of the Rustic Riders beginning at 7:30 AM Friday and Saturday.

The Commons and the Living Room –
These venues are replacing Main Stage. The Commons will host “Gathering the Goose,” , Sunday morning activities, and music acts throughout each day. The Living Room will host “Waking the Goose” on Friday and Saturday mornings, as well as speakers and workshops throughout each day.

Convo Hall – Convo Hall is a vibrant space with a lot of simultaneous, intentional conversations that reflects our commitment to make the voice of the Goose heard. Convo Hall makes space for hundreds’s of important conversations and generates life-long connections. Convo Hall gets people talking.

Land Acknowledgment – Wild Goose Festival is gathering on Yesan (Tutelo), Catawba, Cheraw, and Keyauwee lands. We used Native Land Digital and the Native Governance Center to inform this acknowledgment and find out whose lands we are gathering on. In future years, we commit to initiating conversations with local representatives of indigenous peoples to better honor the land and learn how we can be better stewards of the resources and partners with indigenous groups. If you would like to be involved in future efforts, please let us know.

General Information

Cell Coverage and WiFi: We have strong cell coverage for major carriers – you can see the cell tower from VanHoy! Which means you can post your experiences at Wild Goose, you can make more reliable calls home when you need to, and we can use digital resources for sharing festival information. However, we still encourage you to be as present in this space as possible and reserve Cell use for necessities. There will also be limited WiFi available near the VanHoy office.

No Swimming: Yes there’s a pool, but unfortunately we cannot support folks using it. Our insurance provider prohibits it.

The Program: This year we’re transitioning a lot of festival information from paper to online. In the program you’ll find QR codes you can scan for more information on co-creators, Experiences (sessions), and Venues. We encourage you to check the online schedule before attending events printed in this program. We’re adaptable and resilient at Wild Goose (and sometimes we just make mistakes), and inevitably that means last minute schedule changes.

We’re Throwing a Party and You’re Invited – click the link to view our invitation and our commitments.

Drop-In Spaces

Books and Signings: Thanks to City Lights in downtown Sylva, NC, our Wild Goose book supplier. Purchase books on-site and we all benefit – you get great content; our authors get great support; and the Wild Goose gets some great financial help! Book signings will be at the bookstore.

Children’s Tent: Using the Godly Play method as a foundation, we’ll sing, share stories, wonder together and have a time of free art response. Sessions are limited capacity, so parents should register Thursday night or (as possible) sign up for the following day’s sessions by the end of that afternoon’s session. A limited number of slots may be available for those with day passes. Fun, age appropriate activities are offered, but this is anything but a babysitting service. The kids will enjoy intentional community with other kids and adults while playing and discovering meaning together

-Secure check-in system: Equipped with a secure check-in system, the program is facilitated by a team of volunteers, all of whom have received background checks. Each family will be assigned a number to be written on their wristbands upon registration. All adults with matching numbers will be able to pick up their child(ren). Wristbands MUST be worn by the whole family in order to drop off and pick up kids. The entire Children’s Tent area is fenced in so that none of our flock wanders during the session! At each session, there will be volunteers designated to a small group of kids. There will be additional volunteers handling check-in, and volunteers designated to help with transitioning kids out of each session.

The Commons (formerly known as The Village): Take some time to hang out, meet new friends, and catch up with old friends in this area centered around the Commons, a diverse venue with music all day long – and some late-night activities. There’s a beer vendor and a few food trucks, and plenty of space to hang out. Come, sit, enjoy a conversation or move in a little close to enjoy some great music.

Convo Hall: Convo Hall makes space for 100’s of important conversations and generates life-long connections. It’s a large tent set with 10-12 round tables where a number of small group conversations take place simultaneously. Each convo is limited to ten people, is 50 minutes in length, and is usually scheduled in two separate time slots – one on Friday and one on Saturday – so everyone gets two opportunities to present. Repeating allows larger impact and makes it possible for word of mouth to create a buzz about the upcoming repeat presentations.

Convo Hall gets people talking.

Drum Circle: Friday and Saturday at 6 PM on the lawn behind the Workshop: Come experience the community and passion of the drum circle at the Wild Goose Festival. Drumming together is an opportunity to form a group consciousness, to share our spirit with one another, and empower each other to celebrate community and life through rhythm. We seek to create a collective voice that emerges as we drum. The Drum Circle is open to people of all ages and levels of musical expertise, though experienced drummers are essential to form a cohesive foundation. All sounds and movement are welcome–come sing, dance, clap, knock sticks together, or pick up a drum and play. There will be a few extra drums for those who don’t have them, though you are encouraged to bring your own to make sure we have enough. Hosted by Tuf Francis.

Goose Group Recovery: Goose Group Recovery is an alcohol-free zone in the Car Camping Area and a safe place for all in recovery, for those who care about people in recovery, and for those who are recovery-curious. Everyone is welcome here, but we do ask that you not bring alcohol or other intoxicants into the campsite area. We do not push any cause or point of view. We do not offer therapy nor advocate for a particular program of recovery. We are in the spirit of the “Wharf Rats” from Grateful Dead and other great concerts of years past. For many of us, other 12-step folks have become our “tribe” at Wild Goose. This is a wonderful way to feel at home in the midst of multi-thousands of people. The Sober Goose encampment can be a place to take a break and hang out with like-minded folks. What we have in common is that we are all taking it one day at a time. If this sounds like good news to you, please join us. Goose Group Recovery meetings will be held in the Sober Goose Encampment. Check the online schedule or Meetup Board for times and locations. Please respect the confidentiality of others you may meet while in this space.

The Grove: The Grove is a new collective of tents that includes the Yoga Tent, the Relating Arts Tent, and the Healing Arts Tent. Through this collective, we aim to bring more cohesion between elements of sacred space, funky growth edges, and healing practices from many times and traditions facilitated by experienced healers practiced in the art of creating safe containers for transformation. Whether it’s yoga, napping under an art lounge, or an intro to reiki or tarot, the Grove is a space for trying new things, being in our bodies and hearts, and feeling into what Wellness can mean individually and collectively.

With a twinkle of faerie mischief and stardust, inspired by deep green groves of ancient wild trees and mushrooms peeking out from under decomposing logs, we invite you to join us, get inspired, and nestle into the nurturing Wild of the Grove.

Meet-Up Board: Located near the north end of the Midway. Want to meet casually around a common topic/interest? Post an invitation with your area of interest along with a time and place to meet on the Meet-Up board. Last-minute schedule changes will also be posted here.

A Peace of My Mind: We invite you to share your story and add your voice to the ongoing media arts project called A Peace of My Mind. Photographer John Noltner has traveled the country using storytelling and art to rediscover the common humanity that connects us and help communities articulate the ways they work toward the common good. At Wild Goose, he will be asking you “What has called you to action?”

Just stop by his booth, write your response in 25 words or less, and get the best and cheapest (free) black and white portrait of you that you’ve ever seen. He will combine the portraits and the words and by the end of the festival, we will have co created a transformative body of work that will help remind ourselves and encourage others to be called to action. This is a come as you are invitation and it only takes a few minutes. Don’t worry about your hair. There is beauty and wisdom all around us. Stop by, raise your voice, and celebrate it with this project.

A Peace of My Mind is located next to the Studio and is open throughout the day on Friday and Saturday.

PFLAG: PFLAG Statesville is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. Together, with Grace Baptist Church, a welcoming and affirming community of faith in Statesville, the “safe space” tent will offer a place for rest, refreshments, conversation, a phone charging station, spontaneous times of music and laughter, and a big ole’ fan! Pride Bingo will be offered around 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. All are welcome!

Slippery Slope: A gathering space that has formed organically over the years at our campsite. Join us for food, drink, conversation, and to plug into community. We have, mostly, no set schedule or staffing but welcome you to be a part! Stop in between 7am and midnight each day to see what’s going on and who’s around–you’ll find us in the tent right in front of our RVs!

Join us Friday Evening at 7:30 for Jezebel’s Got the Blues, a raucous retelling of some of your favorite Bible stories!

Jezebel’s Got the Blues…And Other Works of Imagination is a series of performance pieces that puts a new spin on stories from the Old Testament. In Merrill Farnsworth’s inspired telling, Jezebel, Cain, Noah, Delilah, Lot’s wife, and other denizens of Bible history reveal themselves as people with very modern stories to share. Jezebel and her friends are true originals – taking audiences on a creative, thought-provoking, insightful ride.

How to Do Beer and Hymns, Friday @ 2pm
Beer and Hymns leaders from around the country share what works for us, how to pick the songs, who to seek as community partners, and what the beer and hymns vibe is that works in local settings.

Spiritual Direction: Spiritual Direction is the ancient practice of a “soul friend” who accompanies others on their spiritual journey, helping them to notice, discern, and claim their own experience of God. It is likely that you will encounter the “Wild Goose” in a variety of ways during the next several days. The Spiritual Direction Team is available throughout the weekend to companion folks for spiritual exploration, processing, conversation, companionship, and/or prayer during 45-minute individual sessions. Signups are at the Spiritual Direction tent where there are also self-led contemplative practices. In addition to spiritual direction, the tent provides a space for rest, prayer, and creative expression via self-led contemplative activities throughout the festival.

Our Spiritual Directors this year are: Sarah DeShields – Team Lead, Rasheeda Hastings, Anne Findlay-Chamberlain, Amanda Keen, Chidube BG Nkiruka, Therese Taylor-Stinson

The Wild Goose Studio: The studio will host a few workshops and we will be pivoting to create even more maker space. This means the Studio will function as a full on workshop and studio with tools and resources of all kinds that will enable us to build onsite art installations. If you have a project you’re working on or would like to collaborate with us please come by and share your talents and skills! There will be a community mural, an interactive multi-sensory art installation and many other opportunities. We would also love to support your own creation at your campsites or throughout the Festival. If you are planning to create, build or invite folks to engage in visual arts in your camping spaces please let us know and we will add them to our Art Walk Map!

Worship: There are many opportunities for worship at Wild Goose. You can find spaces for prayer, movement, and meditation in The Grove, liturgy and worship in the Methodist and Episcopal Tents, Taize in the Portal tent, or Beer and Hymns in the Commons tent, and Godly Play in the Children’s Tent, and Roman Catholic Mass on Sunday morning in the Portal tent.

Yoga: We have expanded the yoga offerings this year and have a dedicated yoga tent in The Grove. Wild Goose Yoga Coordinator Teresa Conrads has curated a schedule of sessions to complement the vast offerings that are Wild Goose. Our teachers will offer ten sessions, starting on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. and ending with Body Positive Yoga on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. In between you can select: noonday centering prayer, Tai Chi and meditation practices, as well as other restorative and invigorating yoga practices. See the schedule for the names of our yoga/prayer/movement practitioners in the Grove and come join us as we move, breathe and find our stillness together!!

Check out the bios and session descriptions of these talented leaders: David Harold, JoyDance, Candy Leigh, Lilly Lewin, Hillary Raining, Therese Taylor-Stinson, United Yoga, and Teresa Conrads.

What you Need to Know

While making VanHoy our home this week, we want to be respectful of our neighbors, the land, and the local community. We offer this set of guidelines to help make the Wild Goose Festival a safe and friendly place.

Leave No Trace: If you bring it with you, take it home. Reuse as much as possible by bringing refillable water bottles, coffee mugs, and even silverware or plates you can carry with you to use and wash. Share seamlessly and borrow shamelessly. Trash stations will be available and we do our best to arrange for recycling. Please have a system for sorting at your campsite, pay close attention to the stations, and participate in leaving the campground better than we found it.

Share the Well: Water spigots can be found in various locations around the festival groups. Please use refillable water containers and STAY HYDRATED.

Ice: Ice will be available in VanHoy’s main office.

Vehicles/RV/Parking: For safety, comfort, and the environment, vehicles are not permitted in camping or venue areas between 5:00 pm Thursday and 12:30 pm Sunday. Vehicles parked in “no parking” zones will be towed by a professional towing service to a parking area on-site; vehicle driver/owner will be responsible for the towing cost. RVs and camping vehicles must remain parked for the duration of the festival.

Bikes: Please walk bikes through busy areas. Use caution and consideration for pedestrians and children. Bicycles must have lights after dark.

Alcohol and Intoxication: Please consume responsibly and respectfully. Alcohol may only be openly consumed in designated areas or at your campsite. If you are consuming alcohol at the stages or tents, please keep it in a cup or cozy. Alcohol may not be taken from the campground. Additionally, public intoxication and illegal drugs are not acceptable. Those violating this rule will be asked to leave the site and not permitted re-entry.

Disruptive Behavior: We reserve the right to intervene in disruptive behavior.

Noise: No radios, amplified music, generators, or idling vehicles will be allowed.

Pets: Sorry, no animals except service animals. VanHoy is a pet-friendly campsite year-round, but does not permit animals at festival events.

Shuttle: There are golf cart shuttle stops around the festival grounds for anyone desiring a lift. We have six carts dedicated exclusively to on-site festival transportation. Sorry, in most cases, golf carts not dedicated to transportation are not available to “hitch a ride.”

Cell Phone Service: Cell coverage is excellent for most carriers. As a backup, you can share the number for VanHoy Farms with anyone who might need to get a hold of you in an emergency if they can’t reach you by cell: (704) 539-5493.

Supplies: You can find gas, food, and fuel within a short drive. There’s a gas station just off I-77, to the west of the interstate. There’s a Dollar General and a Family Dollar about ten minutes away in Harmony, NC. There’s a small General Store in Union Grove, about five minutes to the west on NC 901. Statesville, about 20 minutes south on I-77, and Elkin, about 20 minutes north on I-77 each have a variety of options for gas, food, and fuel, as well as lodging and shopping.

Questions/Info/Help: For all general information questions, or help, ask at the Ranger Station or Wings Tent.

Safety and Security: We have a First-Aid volunteer posted from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm. at the Ranger Station. We are guests in this place and there are creatures like snakes that live here. If you should encounter one of these creatures, just remember that this is their home and try to work around them. If this isn’t possible and you need a creature moved for safety’s sake, either for your or the animal, contact the Rangers. There are some abandoned  structures in the woods. Please be aware of the danger and keep children from playing in or around them. Also several streams run through the property that can swell during rainstorms – please keep away from these areas. There will be signs and caution tape to help remind us of the dangers. If you see a danger that has not been identified let us know immediately. We will send a safety team and with care and effort resolve it.

Lost a Parent? Looking for a Child? Locate a ranger (red shirt) or any other Wild Goose Volunteer (wearing volunteer shirts!) or a staff person with a radio and let them know immediately.

Important Phone Numbers: If you have cell service, you can get assistance using the following numbers:

  • Safety (Mark DeMario): (919) 946-2372
  • First Aid (Rita DeMario): (919) 397-0844
  • Iredell County Sheriff: (704) 878-3180

Extreme Weather: In the case of extreme weather, all venues will be shut down. Wild Goose staff will re-evaluate conditions and determine when to proceed with events.


Anti-Harassment Policy: The Wild Goose Festival is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of festival participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference, without a refund, at the discretion of the festival organizers. Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination [related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion).
  • Sexual images in public spaces
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
  • Harassing photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

Photography Policy (Implied Consent): By attending The Wild Goose Festival (“the Festival”) you consent to being filmed and or photographed, whereas the Festival may use your image, voice, and likeness for promotional purposes. “Media Team” ID tags and t-shirts identify official Wild Goose photographers and video crew. Any photography or video taken at the Festival is subject to a mandatory, non-exclusive license to The Wild Goose Festival for use in promotional purposes. Any artwork or performances sponsored by the Festival or taking place on Festival grounds is also subject to a mandatory, non-exclusive license to The Wild Goose Festival for use in promotional purposes.

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