Frequently Asked Questions
What if I want to attend 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 night 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 (the night before your ticket starts), you may purchase extra night’s camping for $15 (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. There are two class sessions per day (morning and afternoon). You’ll sign up for Firefly classes on the evening before the next day’s classes. 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. 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 you are not obligated to do so. Some campers choose to spend a class session walking around camp, visiting with friends or doing some campsite housekeeping. It’s up to you.
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 2016, just to give you an idea of the range of classes that we offer. The classes for 2017 will be posted on the website in 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 (and including) 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 a community kitchen with sink, 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 (local fire regulations due to the drought), 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.
Is there drinking water on-site?
There will be well water available on site.
Will I be able to leave my trash?
We expect everyone to clean up after themselves and each other, both during the event and when packing up to leave. We want to see the same beautiful land after the event as it was before, unmarred by the human footprint. Pack it in, pack it out!
What is the camping set-up like?
We have an abundance of flat camping! Some 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. Please do not camp near workshop sites. You may camp in the woods or field. We will have some designated camping for family camping.
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, and wagons with off-road tires.
When you first arrive at our new location, you’ll be directed to the Welcome and Registration Tents, attended by parking personnel. You can then take your year to our shuttle pick-up point, where it will be taken, according to the posted schedule, to near the camping area. Once you have finished at the Registration Tent, you can walk into the event, either with your gear (this is where the rolling cart or wagon will come in handy) or to meet with your gear at the drop-off point near the camping area. We do not allow any vehicles on the actual premises, except for a few Firefly utility vehicles.
Of course, if someone has a physical disability, we will allow temporary vehicles and will also arrange utility-vehicle rides around the grounds if needed. See below for more information.
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.
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, many of our administrative staff members will be 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. If it rains, the grounds will like 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 has a disability, 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 very limited showers, but discourage use of them, as hot water is in short supply. They will be reserved for menstruating women and emergencies. We encourage you to take a dip in the pond to cool off or to 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?
Yes! Leicester is only a 20-minute drive from the local metropolis of Asheville, where many accommodations of all shapes, sizes and flavors can be found.
What if it rains?
There is no such thing as bad weather, just unprepared people. Firefly Gathering is held rain or shine. There is no provision for a rain date, and no refunds given on account of inclement weather.