What if I want to go but can’t afford a ticket?
The organizers of Firefly Gathering believe that these skills (survival, permaculture, homesteading, primitive skills, etc.) should be accessible to as many people as possible. Therefore, we offer tickets on a sliding-scale system, which provides flexible pricing, so you can pay according to your circumstances. If you feel secure in your financial situation, please place yourself in the sliding scale accordingly. If you want to come, but can’t afford the ticket at all, there are opportunities to work-trade. If you’re interested in work-trade, follow this link.
What does the admission price include?
An admission ticket for the entire four-day event includes camping Thursday through Saturday night, eight class sessions over four days, and evening entertainment each night. A one-day pass includes two classes. A two-day pass includes four classes and free camping overnight.
If you would like to arrive early, you may purchase night-before camping for $15 each night (cash or check at the gate, no plastic). Many full-pass attendees arrive Wednesday evening in order to get their tent-sites set up and be rested for Thursday morning. Campers who come for one or two days also like to come the night before, so they have a head start for the next day and can sign up for their classes (see next question).
Please remember that you cannot be at the event on days for which you have not purchased a pass, even if you are not attending classes.
When do I sign-up for classes?
You sign-up for classes when you’re at Firefly. You sign-up for Firefly classes on the evening before the next day’s classes. There are two class sessions per day (morning and afternoon). So if you want to take classes on Friday, you sign-up for them Thursday evening.
Campers can choose one class to attend during each of the class sessions, but they are not obligated to do so. Sign-up sheets are located at Firefly Central on the bulletin boards, starting at 8:00 pm the night before the day of classes. Except on Wednesday, when they will be posted at 9 pm.
We are not able to reserve spots for certain classes ahead of time. You must be there to put your name on the list or find someone willing to sign you up. If you sign-up for a class, but change your mind, please cross off your name so others can fill the spot. If a class is full, you can try to find the instructor and ask for permission to join the class.
The classes currently on the website are from last year, just to give you an idea of the range of classes that we offer. The classes for this year will be posted on the website in early May, and you will receive a Gatebook when you arrive that contains the complete list of classes and the daily timetable. Be aware that there may be additions, deletions or schedule changes right up to the day of classes due to circumstances beyond our control.
Will I need money for any class materials?
A few of the classes require small fees for materials that the instructors have purchased or spent a lot of time gathering. You may want to bring some pocket money in case you wish to take any of these classes. About 85-95% of the classes do not require any materials fees.
Are meals provided?
Meals are not provided, but there will be two community kitchens with sinks, propane stoves and food-preparation tables located near the camping areas. We also have a primitive kitchen (stocked with appropriate cooking implements), which is set up for cooking with fire only. No fires are permitted at individual campsites, but you could bring your own propane stove to cook on.
Can I buy food on-site?
There will be food trucks and other vendors on-site selling breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack foods, but remember–they have a limited supply!
Is there drinking water on-site?
Bell’s Cove has awesome water! Hooray for abundant, beautiful, healthy mountain water! We have tapped a lovely spring right at the source, and it will be flowing out of a food-grade pipe. Please use this wonderful source for all your drinking water. There will also be a new spring-fed water source located near the parking area.
The water coming out of the faucets on-site runs as a creek before it enters the pipe. We consider it safe for washing dishes and cooking, but not for drinking straight.
We are legally required to truck in city water, and it is available for anyone who doesn’t want to drink live water.
If you wish to, we also welcome you to bring your own drinking water.
A message from Mother Nature:
I expect everyone to clean up after themselves and each other, both during the event and when packing up to leave. I want to see the same beautiful land after the event as it was before, unmarred by the human footprint. There will be recycling and composting bins in various locations. Please use them. And above all: Pack it in, pack it out!
What is the camping set-up like?
We have an abundance of flat camping! Many great forested areas have been selectively cleared out to make more room for more comfortable spots. You are free to camp anywhere on the premises within a few guidelines. You may camp in the woods if you like. Field camping has expanded down toward the main event area and includes flatter and more accessible camping options. And we have a designated area for Family Camping, which is at a distance from the loud drumming. Sorry, but fires are not permitted at individual campsites even if you have a firepan.
Please have your gear packed in such a way that you can easily walk it in to your camping site. We recommend backpacks, bags, Rubbermaid containers, wagons, rolling carts, luggage carts, or anything that consolidates your belongings to a few carry-able items, especially if you plan to camp way up the hill or any large distance from the registration tent and main activity areas.
When you first arrive at Bell’s Cove, you’ll be directed to the Welcome Tent, attended by parking personnel. You will receive your parking permit and drop off any gear you want the shuttle to drive into the event area. Then you park your car and walk the short distance to the Registration Desk, where you will pick up your shuttled gear. Then you will take it to your selected camping spot. This is where the rolling cart or wagon will come in handy. We do not allow any vehicles on the actual premises, except for a few Firefly utility vehicles. Of course, if someone is disabled, we will allow temporary vehicles and will also arrange utility-vehicle rides around the grounds if needed.
How long can I stay at Firefly?
While you may want to stay forever, all campers must pack up and leave by 7 pm on Sunday. There is no Sunday-night camping unless you would like to help us break down on Monday. If you are interested in helping, please speak with the Site Manager at the Gathering. We will provide breakfast and expect 4-5 hours of your time on Monday.
What’s the parking situation like?
Parking at the event is limited. Please arrange carpooling if possible, or try ride-sharing.
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are not allowed at Firefly unless they are service animals with official service tags attached to their collars. Service animals must be leashed at all times, and, of course, their humans must pick up after them.
Is there first-aid on site?
Yes. The First-Aid Tent is staffed with trained medical personnel who practice both conventional and alternative medicine. If you need assistance at any time, we have a large number of staff carrying walkie-talkies. Just ask for help, and it will arrive quickly. The First-Aid Tent also has phone numbers and directions to medical and veterinary facilities in the area.
Is there handicapped access?
Within reason, Firefly does its best to make accommodation for people with physical limitations. However, bear in mind that we are a primitive skills gathering and much of what we do and where we camp has a primitive quality about it. The terrain is not paved, though there’s a gravel road that leads up the hill. If it rains, the dirt trails get a bit muddy.
We do not allow any vehicles on the actual premises, except for a few Firefly utility vehicles. Even Firefly staff members park in the general lots. Of course, if someone is disabled, we will allow temporary vehicles and will also arrange utility-vehicle rides around the grounds if needed.
If you need to recharge a wheelchair battery, we have limited electric outlets available when the food trucks aren’t using them (generally overnight).
What about bathrooms and showers?
We will have chemical porta-potties in various convenient locations around the grounds. We do have two showers, but discourage use of them, as hot water is in short supply. We encourage you to take a dip in the pond to cool off or bring a solar shower bag (available online or at camping stores for as little as $20).
Are there hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts in the area?
Graystone Cabins (10 minutes away in Barnardsville) 828-626-2749
Hawk & Ivy Holistic B&B (in Barnardsville) 828-626-3486
Mountain Light Sanctuary (6 miles from Barnardsville) 828-626-3966
Two B&Bs in Weaverville (20 minutes away): Dry Ridge Inn 800-839-3899 *** Inn on Main Street 828-645-4935
Comfort Inn (20 minutes away in Mars Hill) 828-689-9000
The event is held rain or shine. There is no provision for a rain date, and no refunds given on account of inclement weather.