The Wild Goose Festival has been described by many as magical, emotional, life-changing, and more! It is the time of year where people from all sorts of backgrounds, denominations, spiritual practices, and life paths come together to celebrate the creative Spirit of the Living God, to learn what it is to engage with the struggle of being human.
And not to mention, it is a helluva lot of fun, too!
We recently asked on our Twitter, “What are some things first-timers should know?” And these were some of the responses:
Make a plan, but be flexible.
You’re going to have your program with all the talks, musical performances, presentations, panels, workshops, live podcast recordings, hymn-sings, and dance parties marked up. And yes, everything is incredible! But give yourself some wiggle room.
Maybe you’ll meet some new friends and decide to go to a different talk. Perhaps you’ll need some time to reflect on all you’re experiencing down by the river. Maybe you need to take a nap. (Trust us, you may want to treat yourself to that.)
As much as possible, go with the flow, do what you want, and listen to what your body is telling you.
Be prepared for the rain (because it always rains).
As much as we wish we could pray a hedge of protection over the Goose campgrounds, it never fails that at least a few times over the weekend, there is rain. So be prepared! Quick rain ponchos to pull over yourself, umbrella, rain jacket, rain boots, whatever is going to make you feel most comfortable.
And that means wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, or maybe break out those Chacos or Teevas you haven’t worn in a while. Those will be a lifesaver over the weekend.
(And btw- there are rain ponchos available in the book tent for sale.)
Eat “THE VEGGIE THING”
There are so many amazing and delicious food choices every year from a variety of vendors and food trucks. Not to mention, plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, and also tons of sweet and savory treats as well. But the crowd favorite of so many is the Veggie Thing!
Think of a giant grilled tortilla, packed with the yummiest assortment of fresh veggies, and it’s as big as your face. It’ll fill you right up.
Try it at least once. (Maybe twice.)
Bring some bug spray & a light jacket for the evening.
Friends, let’s make no illusions about our situation: we are in the forest, in nature. Of course, there are bugs. Of course, you’re going to get chilly in the evening. So come prepared with some bug spray, and if you forget, I bet your neighbor around your campsite will have one.
And seriously, bring that jacket. Even if you tie it around your waist and put it on later, you’ll thank yourself for it. Especially if you’re going to come to the fantastic nightly concerts. You’re going to want that.
Don’t be afraid to disconnect
You may have heard that in the mountains of Hot Springs, NC that there is not a whole lot of cell phone signal.
You heard right.
But that’s not always a bad thing. Wild Goose can be a great opportunity to disconnect from the rest of the world and refresh your soul. What would it be like to be present in your body, your mind, and what the Spirit is saying without the distraction of likes and notifications? (How many of you are stressed right now thinking about that?)
And, to ease your mind, we do have some wi-fi in our office and phone in case you need to get in touch with folks back home. No worries.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair)
There is seating under the tents for presentations, but in front of the main stage, that’s on you. Not to mention when you’re sharing food or drinks around a campfire, having your own seating is going to be essential. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, it just has to be functional.
We suggest bringing one that folds up and swings easily over the shoulder. And if you’ve got little ones, this will be helpful for when they get tired.
Be open to surprise
The wild goose (as in the animal), if you didn’t know, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Wild. Unpredictable. (And might bite you in your backside when you’re not looking.) And the Wild Goose Festival is no different. There’s always something new, beautiful, and profound happening.
Between the main stage talks, the musical performances, the workshops, and the friendships you’ll create, it is a time of renewal and new beginnings.
Be open to it. Be looking for it. And be ready to experience it. This is a place to come and get a fresh word for your life and some fresh ideas on how to reimagine the Church.
So if this is your first time at the Wild Goose Festival, welcome. There’s a seat at our table for you.
(…as long as you bring your own chair. )