It’s Monday, 3rd of August and I am lying on my bed. Absolutely stuffed after being to an All You Can Eat buffet with my Parental and Brotherly Units. This morning, my body still felt the events of Pagan Pride 2015: a tiredness from being awake from 5am to be on site for helping set up. Hips, knees and ankles aching from running around checking my venues throughout the event (not to mention legging it at the parade to find it was much longer than before), my voice; hoarse from yelling to keep the parade spirit up with jeering. These are not complaints… They are badges of honour!
I’ve been with Pagan Pride UK since it’s inception back in 2008. 2009 saw it as a picnic in Nottingham. 2010 saw it’s first festival complete with fundraisers (PP has been and is a non-profit organisation, it relies on donations from the fundraisers and people to make it happen.). It has been getting bigger and bigger each year. Always on the first Sunday of August, come Sun and rain! Hey, it’s an outdoor festival, you’ll experience Nature in ALL of her glory! 😁
If you’ve never been, it’s a free festival that starts with a parade from Nottingham City centre which leads up to the Arboretum where an opening ceremony takes place. It has stalls, food vendors (never seems to be enough), there are bands, dancers (Belly Dancing and Border Morris), story tellers, speakers and workshops.
And it’s been my job to sort out the last three, for 6 years.
I have learned much about festival organisation and about how much to inform the potential speakers, or how to politely refuse any speakers if they aren’t suitable (“That’s a great talk but has nothing to do with Paganism…“)
I have learned that negotiation is a great tool. And if something is just impractical to work out, then refusal is the last option.
Patience is a virtue… Only in the world of books. There have been times I’ve yelled out in frustration (“Whaddya mean they fucking cancelled!?”) or wanted to throw my smartphone across the room (“But I already told you about THAT!”). Alright! I’m parodying myself a lot here, this doesn’t apply to any specific person except me.
Ok, shit happens. Deal with it.
It’s all been worth it though. If someone wanted to be at a different time slot, ask others if they are willing to help before refusing, you’ll be surprised at Human Kindness! Fulfilling requirements to help someone’s disability or anxiety issues and they deliver a talk with a big audience, priceless! If a workshop leader cancels, leaving you with an empty slot, call on your backups… In fact, ALWAYS have backups!
And remember your team on the day! Advise them, tell them everything they need to know. Treat them like people and don’t assume they can read your mind. Help them to help you! Luckily, I worked this one out really early.
Chat, laugh, take no shit (like the guy with the boom box who me and a big marshal escorted off the premises, when he called me a ‘fucking fascist’, I glibly replied with “I’ve been called worse.” Step in when you need to (“You have 5 mins to wrap up!”)
When I check that all the speaker zones are running well and folks are good, that’s when I know that all those late night emails, material checking, insurance evidence asking, experience checking, problem spotting, information chasing has been worth it.
I’ve truly enjoyed my service for Goddess and Country and have met many wonderful people during the past festivals, a lot of whom I can call friends*. I sincerely wish the rest of the PP team the best of luck for next year as I have been part of that team and know what effort it takes to get each festival underway. And no, it isn’t easy.
Well, it’s time for me to step down and let fresh blood take my role of Performance Manager. This year has actually been a struggle for me to balance this, my full time job (with two reassigned locations this year) and focusing on my performing. I can now hang up my purple shirt as I won’t be at PP2016 in an official capacity. I’ll be there to help set up on the day, but that’s it for now. I can definitely say that I’ve ended on a high, that I AM PAGAN AND I AM PROUD!
If you’d like to know more about Pagan Pride UK, or get in contact, visit the site: http://www.paganpride.org.uk
*And to those random people who snuck me sneaky drinks of Hobgoblin from a horn, or mead in a plastic bottle, ta very much!