attend

The Firefly Gathering will take place June 13-16, 2019 at Deerfields in Mills River, North Carolina. Our gathering is a celebration of learning the skills necessary to live with the Earth. We believe that people, just like the rest of the other-than-human world, fill a special place in the web of life. We are rooted in the land through our dependency and hunger, sense of belonging and gratitude, and the responsibilities we feel deep inside ourselves.

location

The 2019 Gathering will be at Deerfields in Mills River, NC. Deerfields is just 30 minutes south of Asheville, and offers a truly beautiful location for us to share and grow together. We are very excited to be there, as there is copious space for all that we need.

The site has two spring-fed freshwater lakes that are great for swimming, and wonderful creeks that flow through the property. There are many fields as well as abundant shade for class sites and camping. Camping fields are right next to parking, and there is even some space for car camping. Most importantly, Deerfields sits in a valley surrounded mature and diverse forests in all directions.

We hope you can join us at our new and most magnificent home. 

Learn more about Deerfields here.

classes

Firefly offers a wide range of classes that share primitive skills, tools for earth-based living, natural healing, traditional crafts, and more. Classes change annually, but you can view the 2018 Class List here. We will post the ever-evolving 2019 Class List in early April.

youth program

Firefly’s Youth Village is a haven for children of all ages to come and immerse themselves in a diverse natural environment. The village is staffed by loving and able adults whose passion is to inspire and awaken the innate curiosity of each individual child. Through songs and stories, arts and crafts, and games and adventures, your children will have a deep and meaningful experience that will ground them in the natural world, while inspiring their hearts and minds. Most kids leave Youth Village with hugs and hopes of coming back next year!

Additional details and information will be sent to you upon registration in our Welcome Packet.

Toddlers

For our youngest, we offer a child care cooperative. Each family that participates in the cooperative must work one shift during the event. Our cooperative is available during class sessions only. From a very young age, children learn to question, explore and trust through their experiences with their environment. We work to create a safe and loving atmosphere that is responsive and supportive of each child’s needs.

Children

At Firefly, we strive to provide children with a loving and respectful atmosphere immersed in nature. With joy and curiosity, kids will explore the land, play games, sing songs, tell stories, and work on nature based crafts and projects.

Teens

Teen Camp is not a class, but a place where teens can gather and be listened to, supported, and mentored. Teens create their own community to work on projects, share food, sing, play games, or just hang out. The Teen Camp is staffed by experienced mentors, and we  strive to create a safe space where our young adults can be themselves and gather with other teens. Staff models what it means to be vibrant and alive adults connected to the Earth and looking out for the village. Teens will be encouraged to attend regularly scheduled classes by day, and to enjoy the wide array of amazing folks who teach at Firefly. In the evenings, teens will be able to have their own hang-out zone around their own fire. Come and create memories, and make friends to last a lifetime!

schedule

The first schedule is set for desktop and tablet. The second schedule is for mobile view. This text is only visible when editing this page.

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

SUNDAY

5pm Registration Opens

8pm Class Sign-Ups Begin, Continue in AM

8am Registration Opens, Breakfast

9:30am Morning Circle

10:15am Parent Orientation at Youth Village

10:30am – 1pm Morning Classes

1pm Lunch Break

2:30 – 5:30pm Afternoon Classes

6pm Supper Break

7pm Class Sign-Ups Begin, Continue in AM. Evening Activities Begin

9:30am Morning Circle

10:15am Parent Orientation at Youth Village

10:30am – 1pm Morning Classes

1pm Lunch Break

2 – 4pm Afternoon Classes

4:30pm Closing Circle, Goodbyes, and Other Announcements at Main Fire

 

WEDNESDAY

5pm Registration Opens

8pm Class Sign-Ups Begin, Continue in AM

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

8am Registration Opens, Breakfast

9:30am Morning Circle

10:15am Parent Orientation at Youth Village

10:30am – 1pm Morning Classes

1pm Lunch Break

2:30 – 5:30pm Afternoon Classes

6pm Supper Break

7pm Class Sign-Ups Begin, Continue in AM. Evening Activities Begin

SUNDAY

9:30am Morning Circle

10:15am Parent Orientation at Youth Village

10:30am – 1pm Morning Classes

1pm Lunch Break

2 – 4pm Afternoon Classes

4:30pm Closing Circle, Goodbyes, and Other Announcements at Main Fire

We ask participants to head out by 8pm to allow for clean-up. Anyone who wants to stay and help with breakdown for a few hours on Monday is welcome to stay overnight Sunday.​

evenings

At Firefly, we like to have a lot of fun together in the evenings. We listen while Doug Elliott tells stories and plays a fierce harmonica. We drum and dance around the fire to awesome primitive beats. We play old-timey music. We have amazing conversations.

We watch performances and concerts from talented, inspiring, local and traveling musicians with hearts of gold. We hang out. We hold very sweet and intentional sharing circles.

There’s lots to choose from: storytelling, performance, spectating, drumming, dancing, jamming, gratitude circles, small-group hangouts, stargazing, and anything else you might dream up.

pricing

Ticket sales at Firefly Gathering go towards renting the facilities, endeavoring to pay staff a living wage, and to creating a beautiful experience for your time with us.

All of our tickets are on a sliding scale. We ask that you pay what you are able, knowing that folks who have the resources to share more help to defray the costs of those who have fewer resources. In this way, our community can grow and offer the experience of learning to live with the Earth to all who feel called.

Click the button below to view the 2019 Firefly Gathering Pricing.

frequent questions

The organizers of Firefly Gathering believe that the skills shared there 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, apply to work-trade. Work-trade applications will be available early spring. Scholarships are also available through our scholarship program.

If you prefer to mail us a check or money order instead of using PayPal, please follow these directions:

  1. Go to the Register page.
  2. Add your choice of ticket(s) to the cart.
  3. When done shopping, click on Proceed to Checkout.
  4. Fill out and submit the registration form on the website, so our bookkeeper knows you’re coming.
  5. Ignore anything that takes you to PayPal. You can mail your check or money order to: Bookkeeper, Firefly Gathering, PO Box 18758, Asheville, NC 28814
  6. Be sure to include your email address with your check, so we can match your check to your online registration form and then send you a payment confirmation and a Welcome Letter.

Firefly does NOT send out tickets — either by email or snail mail. If you receive the Welcome Letter and a PayPal receipt for your ticket purchase, you have been automatically added to our registration list. When you arrive at the gate, please be prepared to identify yourself by the name of the person who did your registration, whether that’s you, your partner, or someone else who arranged for your ticket.

To transfer your ticket to another person email registration@fireflygathering.org with the name you used to register and the name of the person you are transferring to, and we’ll take care of it.

A full pass ticket includes camping Wednesday night through Saturday night and eight class sessions over four days. A one-day pass includes two classes. A two-day pass includes four classes and free camping overnight. Tickets do not include meals.

If you purchase any ticket other than a full pass, and would like to arrive early (the night before your ticket starts), you may purchase night-before camping for $15 either in advance via the PayPal shopping cart or by cash or check (no plastic) at the gate. Campers who come for one or two days often 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.

Parking is limited at Deerfields, and we strongly encourage carpooling both to save space and to support the environment. You can register to drive or ride in a Firefly Gathering carpool here.

Deerfields charges us per vehicle on the property. We will be charging for cars as follows on-site. *Please bring cash*

-$10 for a vehicle with passengers (please carpool!)
-$15 for a vehicle with a single driver
-an additional $15 for a car camping spot

We have limited additional RV spots available, please email info@fireflygathering.org to inquire.

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 7pm the night before the day of classes. For example, if you want to take classes on Friday, you sign up for them Thursday evening.

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 last year’s classes. Once our 2019 schedule is live, it will be updated automatically as classes are added and moved. 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. Please don’t waste time and energy (and paper) trying to print out the entire schedule, since you will get a Gatebook with the most updated version at the event.

Some classes require fees for materials that the instructors have purchased or spent a lot of time gathering and prepping. You may want to bring some pocket money in case you wish to take any of these classes. About 90% of the classes don’t require any materials fees.

Each year we have a fundraiser for our scholarship program the following year. This typically takes the form of a raffle and a silent auction full of spectacular and useful items. You won’t want to miss out.

You will also want cash on hand to check out our instructors crafts, books and other items for sale. These craft sales are an additional way we can appreciate our instructors and take something wonderful, useful and educational home with us.

In addition we will have food vendors selling food at all meal times.

Meals are not provided. 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. You can of course bring your own propane stove to cook on.

Yes! There will be food vendors on-site selling breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack foods, and beverages.

There will be spring water available on site. Be sure to bring a water bottle and hat, as the sun can be strong and dehydration is a serious concern. Please make sure your young’uns have a water bottle of their own or at least have frequent access to drinking water, and are adequately protected from the sun.

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!

We have an abundance of field space and forested areas available for camping! Whether you like tent or hammock camping and want to set-up near or far from downtown, there are many options to choose from.

This year we have three large camping areas: Family, Quiet and Loud. Each of these have full-to-partial shade and are very close to parking. There is also abundant woods camping surrounding the event in all directions. Woods camping will require more traveling with your gear, but will be well worth the trek.

Please pack your gear in such a way that you can easily walk it in to your camping site. We recommend backpacks, duffel bags, Rubbermaid containers, and wagons or rolling carts with off-road tires. Once you arrive and register, you will be directed to enter our event location and park. You will have received a Gatebook and a map of the premises so you can explore your options, choose your camping spot, and transport your gear to where you want to set up your tent.

All camping fields are directly adjacent to our Parking field. Please do not drive onto any of the camping fields. Quiet and Family camping fields also have a gear drop-off point at their edge. This gear drop off is ONLY for unloading or loading year.

There is a limited amount of car camping available onsite. These areas are NOT designated quiet or loud, as our adjacent fields are. As such, please come prepared to befriend your neighbor and be considerate with your nighttime noise.

While you may want to stay forever, all campers are asked to pack up and leave by 6:30 pm on Sunday evening. 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’ll ask for about 4-5 hours of your time on Monday, and we’ll give you breakfast.

Yes! But you must have an adult over 18 who is attending and designated as being responsible for you during the event. Unfortunately, if you are under 18 years old at the time of the event you cannot attend without supervision. 

Dogs are not allowed at Firefly. This is a Deerfields policy and is non-negotiable. Exceptions are only made for true service dogs with all documentation provided.

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 facilities in the area.

Firefly does its best to make accommodation for people with physical disabilities. 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 likely get 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, 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). Please check with the site manager.

Both spring fed lakes on Deerfields property are great for swimming. All swimming is at your own risk. There will be NO lifeguards posted or safety supervision provided at anytime by Firefly staff or volunteers.

We ask for folks to swim clothed at all times at the upper pond, as it is near the center of the event and in view of family camping. The lower pond is clothing optional.

No fishing allowed.

Portapotties will be available in various convenient locations around the grounds. These will be freshened and stocked daily.

We do not provide showers. Often, we find that swimming in one of the lakes is freshening enough. If you like or need to stand under warm falling water, we encourage you to bring a solar shower bag (available online or at camping stores for as little as $20).

Where we are able to have campfires will depend entirely on how dry the season has been and any fire bans active at the time of the event.

If we have sufficient rain, open campfires will be allowed only at established fire rings. Fortunately, there are several at Deerfields, especially tucked away in the woods. There are places where you can set up your camp around a fire pit. Camp stoves for cooking and raised pits are allowed at individual campsites as long as they do not kill the grass underneath them and are carefully managed for safety.

All fires must be monitored at all times, and put out thoroughly before being left unattended.

Yes! Mills River is only a 30-minute drive from the local “metropolis” of Asheville (population 80,000) as well as Hendersonville and Brevard. In each of these towns many accommodations of all shapes, sizes, and flavors can be found.

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 are given on account of inclement weather.

No! There is no cell service or WiFi available at Deerfields. Your devices will not work. Plan to enjoy being disconnected from the internet web and reconnected to the in-person web.

Please mark your personal possessions with at least your name: water bottles, cellphones, knives and other tools, key rings, clothing, towels, hats, kids’ toys, portable chairs, tents, books and journals, cookware and eating implements, craft projects begun during the Gathering—anything of value to you.

If possible, include a phone number and/or email address. During the event, there will be a central location for lost and found items.  After the event, contact us by email at info@fireflygathering.org to see if we have your items.

You’d be amazed at the sheer volume of lost and found items that get turned in during the event–easily a pickup truck full. We hold items for about a month after the event. Unclaimed items are donated to charity.

If you have purchased passes to the Firefly Gathering and are unable to attend, you are eligible for a refund for 60% of your purchase price until June 1st. After June 1st, refunds will not be given. All passes ARE transferable, meaning you can give or sell your pass to a friend. If you prefer, you can always put your credit towards next year.

Contact us by clicking here here to email us or calling us at 828-202-9469 and we’ll be happy to assist you.