Something truly extraordinary occurred in Hot Springs, North Carolina before the start of the festival this summer. I had gathered with a group of volunteers who had come to prepare the site for Wild Goose. One of our co-founders, Mike King, welcomed them and asked them to share their stories, stories of why they had come, why they were willing to work so hard for the festival and what the Wild Goose meant to them.
An epiphany occurred in me as I listened to these dear folks share their stories. They were amazing stories of transformation, stories of pain, stories of miracles, stories of restoration and hope. True to the theme of the festival, all of these stories from this Wild Goose flock were stories of liberation. More than ever, I sensed the critical need and importance of the Wild Goose.
I heard the story of an elderly pastor, who had lost hope for the future of the church. He shared how his adult daughter had convinced him to come to the Wild Goose because “what’s happening there is something that you’ve dreamed about and now it’s a reality.” He talked about how through the Wild Goose his hope had been restored for the future of the church and faith. His enthusiasm was contagious.
I listened to a woman who told the story about herself and her husband. She described how they were good and faithful church members until her husband revealed that he was gay but committed to stay in the marriage. The church not only forced him out but also told her she would have to go unless she divorced him. Through tears she recalled how that same church had provided the setting for her to declare, “until death do us part.” “I made that vow and could not renounce it.” Her church threw her out. “Thank God, I have a home here at the Wild Goose.”
A twenty-something man with a strong British accent described how he was on a “find myself” tour of the U.S. when he encountered a youth group who befriended him while they were on the way to the festival. “The youth pastor invited me to continue my search by coming with them to the Wild Goose. Here I am and I can sense that what is happening here will profoundly impact my life.”
Person after person described how the Wild Goose Festival had become a spiritual home for them and the community had become family. Others described how Wild Goose had literally saved their lives and brought them from despair to hope. An African American woman expressed how the Wild Goose was tearing down walls of division and could help change the landscape of civil discourse in the USA.
These stories were all shared before the festival had even officially started. The stories of liberation and transformation continued to flow throughout our time together in Hot Springs, NC like the powerful French Broad river that runs through our site. And the stories of Wild Goose continue on year round because the Wild Goose is not just a festival. The life-giving transformation emerging from the Wild Goose is not only about an event. The Wild Goose soars on year round and creates emergent dynamics that fuel the imaginations of those who love gathering at the intersection of spirituality, justice, mercy, friendship and beauty. I run into people all over the country who identify themselves as a part of the Wild Goose Family and they carry on the passion of our shared story.
This is why it is so important for the Wild Goose to continue to soar and gain altitude. This is the reason I’m writing you right now because the Wild Goose is at a critical juncture. I believe this is an historic time for Wild Goose. This is the time to broaden the impact and become accessible to more people who will discover the Wild Goose community. We must add some key staff positions that will help to take the festival to the next level. We need to create infrastructure to facilitate the reality that Wild Goose is more of a movement than a one-off event. We cannot do this without your help. We need your passion. We need your support and energy. We need you to spread the Wild Goose story.
The few months after the festival are always the most difficult financially. When we really need to ramp up the work for the next festival we find ourselves in a cash flow lull. When we are aware of opportunities to take the festival to the next level and fuel the dynamic of Wild Goose as a movement we are hindered because of the lack of financial resources. Will you please consider a generous and sacrificial gift right now for Wild Goose? Without an influx of financial help right now we are grounded instead of soaring.
I have served as the Director and Producer of Wild Goose for about a year and a half. In that time I have come to believe that Wild Goose has the potential of changing the civil and religious landscape in North America. I often meet people who have never even been to the Wild Goose and they tell me, “We need the Wild Goose so desperately in our country, please keep it going and growing.”
We have rarely asked so directly, outside of the festival context, for your financial support but today we really need you. We want the Wild Goose festival to grow. We want the movement to gain momentum. We are talking about smaller Wild Goose gatherings throughout the year with one possibility that is on the radar being an Urban Goose in the Spring, and another being more organized House Goose events. We want to find ways for our Wild Goose community spread throughout the country to gather more than just once a year. Let’s do this together.
Some good friends of the Wild Goose at key times in our development and evolution have made sacrificial gifts to help Wild Goose exist. Now is the time for our broader community to kick in and together fuel this beautiful thing called Wild Goose into the future.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
P.S. We really need to hear from our friends. Please take some time to consider what you can do to help financially, by going to wildgoosefestival.org/donate to make a gift. Thank you for passionately embracing the Wild Goose.