Free Spirit Gathering 2011

I’ve come back from FSG 2011. I’ve unpacked a little, decompressed a lot, have had some Chinese food. Now that I’ve calmed down from a five-hour return trip, here are my thoughts on my experiences at the festival. I’m going to list them from the most negative to the most positive.

– This was the most physically challenging FSG I’ve had in a number of years. My various health problems over the past year left me with a low endurance; it was hard for me to get around. I was able to figure out an issue with my medication and changed my diet appropriately, but it wasn’t enough to keep me comfortable for the entire event.

On the other hand, I’ve been in worse shape. Some years back I couldn’t clean up my camp site by myself, and had to pay a kid $20 to do it for me. This time I was able to do that labor all by myself.

Hopefully, another year of getting back into shape will leave me with better endurance next year.

– The attendance at my workshops was poor. I think there were a couple of reasons for this, but the bottom line is that not many people are interested in what I’ve got to teach, at least not in comparison with the other workshops at FSG. I’ll have to think about this for next year.

Maybe should I give up teaching workshops for a year or two. After all, I used to bring my telescope to Camp Ramblewood and host night-sky workshops, but stopped due to lack of interest (and lack of easy-visible sky objects until 2014). Or perhaps I have to come up with more interesting topics.

Fortunately, I have the better part of a year before I have to think about this again.

– I was able to interview some folks for Isaac’s biography, and made a couple of connections that will be useful for future research. 

– The brightest part of the festival for me were my interactions with the Blue Star community. They’re an excellent bunch of froods who really know where their towels are. My only "Blue Star regret" is that I didn’t get to speak with everyone I wanted, or for as long as I wanted. But there’ll be other gatherings, and more chances to meet.

None of the negative issues have to do with the Free Spirit Alliance management nor anyone else at the event. I’m describing my experiences, not assigning blame. FSA worked hard and created another great festival. My problems are my own, not FSG’s!

My next major festival experience will be Fires of Venus. We’ll see what that will bring.

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