Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of America’s oldest and largest outdoor Pagan festivals, has announced that it has moved its base of operations from Missouri to Illinois. This is the festival’s second move since cutting ties in 2009 with Wisteria (and Ohio-based Pagan-friendly campground).
“We are looking forward to having the Pagan Spirit Gathering within a short drive from the greater Chicago area again,” says PSG’s founder Selena Fox.” We haven’t been this close to Chicago since PSG 1983 when our site was on private land along the Rock River. This is the first time that PSG will be in Illinois, and we have been getting very positive responses to the news from Illinois Pagans as well as Pagans from around the country.”
This latest move was triggered when their previous home, Camp Zoe, a campground in Missouri’s Shannon County, was raided by federal and state law enforcement. Camp Zoe currently faces asset forfeiture (in short, the seizing of the land by the federal government), you can read two different perspectives of this situation here, and here. With Camp Zoe’s final fate uncertain, and accusations of the property being “maintained for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using controlled substances” being thrown around, PSG’s organizers had little choice but to break ties.
“Since learning on November 9th about legal difficulties now connected with the Camp Zoe site in Missouri that we have rented for the past two years, the Pagan Spirit Gathering Executive Committee has begun a search for a new site for PSG 2011. The dates for PSG 2011 remain June 19-26.”
Pagan Spirit Gathering’s new Illinois home will be Stonehouse Park in Earlville, an hour’s drive West of Chicago. The campground prides itself as a friendly host to LARPs and re-enactment groups from “medieval to the modern,” and boasts many modern amenities that should please the less seasoned camper (like myself). Pagans in the upper Midwest already seem enthused at the prospect.
“There are so many perks to the location they may as well call it a Pagan KoA or Jellystone Park I’m still surprised about cell phones and WiFi. Hmmm… they just need a cartoon mascot LOL! Indoor stages, possible cabin rentals with kitchenettes and bathrooms, RV hookups… wow! Even folks who can’t physically handle a traditional fest would be able to attend. And for me… jeez, why not have it in my own back yard? Off I-39 & I-88? That’s really centrally located for a lot of people, even flights, buses and trains with the shuttle service, *and* far enough away from the Tri-State to keep busy road-leery travelers happy.”
Registration is now open, and they are accepting proposals for workshops, rituals, and other presentations. Having attended last year’s PSG as a presenter, I can tell you that PSG presented some of very best of festival culture and Pagan community. If the money/schedule stars align, I’d love to attend again, and perhaps I can convince many of my Illinois-based friends to come along as well!