CalderaFest

CalderaFest2016
CalderaFest is the first Pagan music festival of its kind. Image courtesy of David Banach, used with permission.

CalderaFest is a brand new Pagan music festival that's making its debut on Memorial Day weekend, 2016. Founder and organizer David Banach took a few moments to answer some questions for us about this event, and there's never been anything like it. Let's see what David has to say!

About Paganism & Wicca: CalderaFest is like nothing any of us have seen before – it’s a huge music festival full of some of the world’s most amazing Pagan talent. You've got Tuatha Dea, Wendy Rule, SJ Tucker, and a bunch of other incredible musicians. What inspired you to bring all of these acts together for a single weekend?

David Banach: It all began in the fall of 2010. I was a big fan of Pagan podcasts like The Wigglian Way and The Secrets in Plain Sight. They would often play Pagan music so I quickly became a fan of acts like Inkubus Sukkubus, Damh the Bard, and SJ Tucker. I found out that Kellianna was coming to the Charleston, SC area that October, so I arranged a place for her to play and sold some tickets. That evening after the show, I was helping her break down and we were chatting about Pagan music and how important podcasts are to exposing music like this to more people. I said that I wanted to make a podcast, but had no idea what to do it on. It turned out to be pretty obvious. So The Magick Jukebox was born. Soon after, I started to think how cool it would be to have a concert where all of these great artists could play together. I waited a long time, but nobody did it. So, I decided to. What began as a two day event with five acts at Dragon Hills very quickly grew out of its Pampers into what we have coming up in May.

AP&W: There’s been a lot of focus in the past few years on consent culture, and keeping people safe in an event setting, and I know that most festivals have a pretty solid system of security personnel on hand. What advice would you give to people new to the festival scene, as far as what they should do if anyone makes them feel unsafe?

DB: Honestly, it depends on the festival and how tolerant the organizers are of that type of behavior. Any responsible organizer would make sure that it simply wasn't tolerated. CalderaFest administration is committed to making sure that everyone has a wonderful time. We are doing that by implementing a three fold intervention system. If we, or our volunteers, observe a situation where mutual respect for personal space isn't being met, we will step in to diffuse the situation through additional presence. If that doesn't slow or stop the situation, we will ask a Guardian to intervene. They can be much more persuasive. If that still doesn't solve the problem, we have a professional security team that will remove the offender from the premises. That behavior is simply not tolerated. As a festival goer, it's easy to really feel safe and at home in a joyous setting like this, but please use your common sense. Your safe place starts with you. 

AP&W: Can you give me an idea of the process of putting on something like this? I know that you announced it over a year ago, but you must have been ironing out the logistics long before that. What were the biggest challenges you faced in organizing and coordinating CalderaFest?

DB: Egads. I began initial planning in late summer of 2014. I ran some initial numbers and determined that a small festival was doable for a reasonable amount of money. I worked on planning fundraising, services, amenities, etc. In January 2015 or so I put together a committee of fantastic people I know based on their strengths and my needs. They were all willing to jump in feet first with me and we got busy. Many months later we are still ironing out procedures and solving problems, but they are a lot easier to solve now. It's hard to say what the biggest challenges have been, because it may not have been perfect, but the planning process has been relatively smooth. We hit a snag when we had to change locations, but that was quickly worked out. Probably the biggest challenge that never came was a county ordinance that was up for a vote really at any time.

It was specifically pointed at festivals and other events held on private property. Fortunately, it was tabled indefinitely and looks like it will stay that way. 

AP&W: Putting on an event of this scale takes a phenomenal amount of volunteers, putting in a ton of work hours. What should attendees know ahead of time that will not only make their experience more enjoyable, but make the coordinators’ and volunteers’ jobs easier?

DB: We have policies and procedures in place to make sure everyone has a great time and operations run smoothly. Our volunteers are a great bunch of people who are choosing to give several hours of their festival experience to us in service. Anything that our guests see that can be done to help us or the volunteers makes a lighter load for everyone. If you see some trash on the ground, please pick it up and dispose of it properly for us or at least let someone know it is there so we can get it quickly. Respect the boundaries we have set up on the site. Some areas are the private residences of the property owner and others are restricted for other reasons. If you don't belong there, please stay out. Probably the most important thing that our guests, musicians, volunteers and everyone can do is HAVE FUN. Then go home and tell everyone who didn't come how amazing it was so they will want to be there in 2017. 

AP&W: Please tell me plans are in the works to make this an annual event? Is there going to be another CalderaFest in 2017, and what can we look forward to seeing then?

DB: The long term plan is to make CalderaFest annual, and possibly bi-annual. We hope to do another year at the same place or somewhere similar geographically, but in coming years to be able to take the show on the road and visit different regions of the US and maybe beyond. To eventually do a Spring CalderaFest in the Pacific Northwest and then a Fall one in New England is my eventual dream. One of the best things about CalderaFest is that it has the potential to bring together Pagan and Pagan friendly artisans, craftsmen, and other talents to help make these a success for everyone involved.

I know the one group of people I simply could not do this without are the musicians, so I take extra care to make sure that they are treated like the rock stars they really are.

Tickets and Attendance

Tickets for CalderaFest 2016 are just $100 for the entire weekend. You can get yours here: CalderaFest Tickets