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. Work-trade applications will be available mid-February.
How can I send a check or money order instead of using PayPal?
If you prefer to mail us a check or money order instead of using PayPal, please follow these directions:
- Go to the Register page.
- Add your choice of ticket(s) to the cart.
- When done shopping, click on Proceed to Checkout.
- Fill out and submit the registration form on the website, so our bookkeeper knows you’re coming.
- 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
- 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.
When will I receive my ticket?
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.
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 evening. 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 night-before camping for $20 either in advance via the PayPal shopping cart or by cash or check (no plastic) at the gate. Many full-pass attendees arrive Wednesday evening in order to get their tent sites set up and be rested and ready 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.
What about parking?
Parking is on the premises at our new location in Leicester. In order to minimize environmental damage and to encourage carpooling, we have a parking fee this year. It is a one-time fee for a parking pass for the entire event (not per day).
$15 per car for one person in the vehicle. $10 per vehicle for two people. $5 for three people. And parking is FREE if the vehicle contains four or more people. See carpooling option in next section.
How can I arrange car-pooling?
We have set up a special car-pool system at a dedicated link designed exclusively for Firefly attendees. The link changes from year to year, so check for the current year’s carpool system on our Parking & Ridesharing page.
It’s very user-friendly. You can create (add) a “car” and then other people can join the car. If no car is already available for you to join, then you can create a new car or put your names on a “wait list”. Drivers can pull names from the wait list to add to the cars. The program automatically notifies drivers and riders by email of all transactions. Everything is totally user controlled. The only thing Firefly does is monitor the overall program and troubleshoot if necessary. It’s not set up to require phone numbers (on purpose), but drivers and riders can exchange phone numbers via email if they want to.
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 7 pm the night before the day of classes. Except on Wednesday, when they will be posted at 8 pm. So, for example, 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 live for this year. They are 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.
Will I need money for any class materials?
A few classes require small 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% to 95% of the classes don’t 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 and beverages.
Is there drinking water on-site?
There will be well water available on site. Be sure to bring a water bottle and hat. All campers should carry water bottles and wear hats, as the sun can be strong and dehydration is a serious concern. Young children especially should have water bottles and wear hats at all times. Also sunscreen and sunblock, as appropriate.
What about 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 field space available for camping! There are also limited forested areas where you can pitch a tent or string up a hammock. You are free to camp anywhere in the designated areas and within a few guidelines. Please stay away from Firefly Central and the main activity areas, including workshop locations. If in doubt, please check with a staff member. In addition to General Camping, we will have Quiet Camping (no screaming babies, please), Family Camping away from the drumming) and Loud Camping (drummers and carousers).
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.
When you first arrive at the event, you’ll be directed to the Registration Tent. After you check-in and register, you will receive a Gatebook and a map of the premises so you can choose your camping spot and transport your gear to where you want to set up your tent. This is where the rolling cart comes in handy. We don’t 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 6:30 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’ll need about 4-5 hours of your time on Monday, and we’ll give you breakfast.
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 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, 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). Please check with the site manager.
Can we swim? Can we fish?
Yes, you can swim in the pond when the lifeguard is on duty from noon – 7pm (noon to 4:15pm on Sunday). A bathing suit or other clothing is required during all swim times because the pond is right in the middle of the grounds. Apologies to those who like to swim nekked. We’re sad, too.
No fishing allowed. Period.
What about bathrooms and showers?
We will have chemical porta-potties in various convenient locations around the grounds. We do not have showers. We encourage you 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 (population 80,000), 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 are given on account of inclement weather.
What about lost and found items?
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 or phone 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.
What if I need to request a refund?
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 8. After June 8, 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.
What if I have more questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-777-8777 day or evening until 9 pm.