Annual Gathering

The Annual Gathering will be held June 7th – June 12th, 2022 at Deerfields in Mills River, NC.

Early Bird Passes On Sale Now! 

 

Near the summer solstice each year, around 1,000 people convene from around the globe for the Firefly Gathering. Here folks come together to share skills and ancestral knowledge with the common goal of expanding their capacity to live well with Earth and one another. Days are filled with classes of all kinds, each offering skills to connect us with Earth, our human heritage, and the great wonders of life. Evenings are filled with live music, dancing under the moon and stars, and of course the fireflies, who dazzle us with their beautiful display of light! A variety of nature connection programs guide children and teens to engage through learning and play. For many, coming to The Firefly Gathering is a life changing experience.  

Near the summer solstice each year, around 1,000 people convene from around the globe for the Firefly Gathering. Here folks come together to share skills and ancestral knowledge with the common goal of expanding their capacity to live well with Earth and one another. 

Days are filled with classes of all kinds, each offering skills to connect us with Earth, our human heritage, and the great wonders of life. Evenings are filled with live music, dancing under the moon and stars, and of course the fireflies, who dazzle us with their beautiful display of light! 

A variety of nature connection programs guide children and teens to engage through learning and play. For many, coming to The Firefly Gathering is a life changing experience. 

On Sale Now

Discount Limited to 100 Full Passes. Sale Runs Until March 1st - OR UNTIL SOLD OUT
Popular

On Sale Now

Discount Limited to 100 Full Passes. Sale Runs Until March 1st - OR UNTIL SOLD OUT.
coming soon

Classes

Knowing reconnection to be a powerful force for change, our classes offer the opportunity to touch, taste, see, smell, hear and fall in love with the living world. Many of our topics reach deep into our ancestral lineages for guidance on how to form meaningful connections to self, community, and place in the modern world. 

With acknowledgement and gratitude to the generations of people who keep these skills alive, classes at Firefly such as fire craft, herbal medicine, storytelling, foraging, basketry, hide tanning, and bow making offer ancient and unifying pathways to help us co-create a sustainable future.

Firefly Gathering is also known for its breadth of classes in communication, activism, and modern technologies. The history of the land, ethnobotany, solar power, safe chainsaw operation and environmental remediation with fungus are shared alongside food sovereignty, permaculture, and cultivating our breath. 

Check out the class list from 2019 Here.

Firefly Gathering is also known for its breadth of classes in communication, activism, and modern technologies. The history of the land, ethnobotany, solar power, safe chainsaw operation and environmental remediation with fungus are shared alongside food sovereignty, permaculture, and cultivating our breath. And we can’t forget the bounty of beautiful creations that emerge from our nature-based art classes each year.

Whether you are looking for a deeper connection to Earth, your ancestors, healthy global ecosystems, a sustainable future for humans, wilderness survival, farmsteading, an ecologically sound craft or hobby, or just a beautiful experience to share with loved ones, Firefly has something for everyone! 

Check out the class list from 2019 Here.

Event Details

Sacred Land

We will once again gather at Deerfields in Mills River, NC, ancestral land of the Anigiduwagi, more commonly known as the Cherokee people. We hosted our 2019 annual event here and were profoundly touched by the beauty of this sacred place. With two spring-fed freshwater lakes, meandering creeks, and beautiful hiking trails, all woven through mature forests, Deerfields is locally known and loved. Firefly is honored to return and be able to invite you to gather with us here again.

There is an abundance of great camping at Deerfields, everything from car camping, to flat grassy open fields, to hidden wooded getaways. Located just 30 minutes south of Asheville, Deerfields offers a truly beautiful location for us to share and grow together.

Evenings

At Firefly, we honor our evenings together, recognizing the need to integrate the experiences of the day and simply enjoy being human together. As the sun sets, we celebrate. We sing along with our Elders and storytellers, like Doug Elliott and Nancy Basket. We sway to the sounds of local musicians like Rising Appalachia. We dance ecstatically around the fire under the stars to ancient beats played out on skin drums. We play old-timey music, sing traditional Appalachian folk songs and earth centered anti-oppression heart songs. 

We sit in circle: sharing, listening, trading, grieving, and connecting with our ancestors. We get to know new friends and reconnect with old ones. We play.We boff with Phil, parade, juggle, practice acro yoga, spin fire, square dance, and waltz. We will be bringing more fun things to 2022, including nature based art installations, a community variety show, and more! 

Youth Programs

Firefly’s Youth Village is a haven for children to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. The village is staffed by loving adults whose passion is to inspire the innate curiosity of each 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. 

We have offerings for kids starting from 3 (must be potty trained) to 12. Kids are encouraged to craft, hike, sing and enjoy age appropriate activities. This offers parents a supported way of attending classes themselves.

Teen Camp is a place where teens aged 13-17 can gather and be heard, supported and mentored. Teens create their own community, work on projects, share food, sing, play games and hang out. Teen Camp is staffed by experienced mentors who create a safe space for young adults to be themselves and gather with peers. Come and create memories, and make true and lasting friends.

Attend

Early Bird Sale

10% OFF Full Passes, January 15th - March 1st
$340
$ 305 Adult Full Pass Price
  • Discount Limited to 100 Full Passes Only
  • Additional Youth & Teen Discounts available
On Sale Now

Energetic Exchange

Firefly is now a year-round entity offering workshops and community connection opportunities in every season. Your purchase supports these endeavors; thank you. Without you, Firefly would not be possible. Income from ticket sales at our annual event goes towards supporting land use fees, staff and instructor pay, equipment rental and supplies, and creating a beautiful and safe experience for you. Any proceeds of the event support Firefly’s other programs, including making Perennial Workshops more accessible, and our Community Connection events.

This year we are offering an extra day at Deerfields, an extra class session, more exciting evening entertainment, as well as enhanced safety and sanitation efforts to help insure everyone’s well-being at the event. Please stay tuned, and reference our FAQ below for more specifics.

If funding is a challenge for you, please consider applying to be a worktrader; applications will be open in Spring 2022. You can also read about our Equity Fund to determine if you might be eligible to receive a discounted or fully supported experience at Firefly. The Equity Fund will open in Spring 2022, as well.

Teach

One way to connect with the Firefly community is to offer your wisdom through teaching. The Firefly Gathering is honored to work with so many insightful instructors who offer classes spanning a broad range of topics, skills, and perspectives. We seek out local masters who are excited to come and share the knowledge that they have refined over years of practice, as well as new instructors who are excited to share their passions! Our goal is to offer a wide range of skills that empower and connect us to the land, ourselves, eachother, and our ancestors.

To apply to share a class, please fill out our New Teacher Form so we can get to know you!

Equity Fund

In an effort to be inclusive and accessible, Firefly has an Equity Fund. Our goal is to welcome  Indigenous people, Black and African people, other people of color, and financially challenged individuals (such as single parents) to our event. We offer this support with the hopes to nurture a powerful diverse community of earth-centered people steeped in the knowledge and skills that Firefly has to offer. We also welcome the wisdom that flows into our gathering from these participants.

More information about the Equity Fund will be available in Spring of 2022. 

Work-trade & Volunteer Opportunities

In an effort to make The Firefly Gathering more accessible, we offer discounted tickets for those who help us create the magic and organize the event. We call these Worktrade Passes, which can discount half to most all of the ticket price. Plus, being part of our set up or break down crew is such an awesome way to connect with the community and get to know people and become an integral part of the fun!

The Worktrade Application will be available in Spring 2022.

The Firefly Gathering relies on the community support that we’ve been cultivating for more than a decade. We often crowdsource when we need a hand, or want to offer support to others. To learn more about volunteer opportunities both at the Annual Event and throughout the year, please click here.

Cancellation & Covid Policies

We are monitoring current events so we can make well informed decisions about how to keep our community safe while still coming together. At this time, we know that in addition to improved sanitation (i.e. more handwashing stations, dishwashing setups, etc), we will be staying current with what the Buncombe County and CDC guidelines recommend. Proof of negative Covid tests taken within a couple days of the event will be required for ALL attendees to reduce risk of transmission as much as possible. Accepted time frame before arrival, a list of accepted tests, and other specifics will be made available closer to the event. 

For information on cancelling, our credit policy and transferring tickets, please click here.

FAQ

June 7-12, 2022. Tickets will be available January 2022. 

A full pass ticket includes arrival on Tuesday, camping Tuesday night thru Saturday night, and nine class sessions over five days, Wednesday thru Sunday morning. Closing circle will be early Sunday afternoon. This also includes full access to Deerfields, our beautiful land host, with rich mountains, biking trails and fresh clean spring fed lakes to swim in!

All other passes include 2 classes per day and camping between (if multi-day). Admission price does not include meals or the parking fee (where applicable), so bring cash for these things.

Income from ticket sales at our annual event supports land use fees, staff and instructor pay, equipment rental and supplies, and creating a beautiful and safe experience for you. Any proceeds of the event support Firefly’s programs, including making Perennial Workshops more accessible, and our Community Connection events. Thank you for helping to create more accessible, year-round skill sharing opportunities in the Southeast. 

The Firefly Gathering believes that the skills and ideas shared here should be accessible to as many people as possible. Therefore, we offer a number of ways to attend our event.  If you want to come, but can’t afford the ticket please consider applying for worktrade, which is a fun way to get involved from within the gathering! Read more about specific jobs here; worktrade applications will be available Spring 2022, so please check back.  Scholarships are also available through our scholarship program, which was designed to help make our event more accessible to a wider group of people. You can read more about our scholarship program here; applications for the scholarship program will also be available in Spring 2022.

While proof of vaccination is not required (unless the laws change), proof of negative Covid tests taken within a couple days of the event will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees. Accepted time frame before arrival, a list of accepted tests, and other specifics will be available closer to the event. We’ll be updating our safety measures as we learn more, and we thank you for your patience in the meantime!

Everyone will be asked to have a mask with them at all times, and we encourage you to wear them when in close proximity to others. Masks may be required in lines, and by some instructors for specific classes. We’ll be updating our safety measures as we learn more. We thank you for your patience in the meantime.

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.

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.

Option 1) Satellite Parking – $5 – This field is fairly flat and is located on the left just as you turn onto Watagnee Trail. Once here, you will need to wait for the shuttle to get you and your gear onsite. Alternatively, you can arrange to get picked up by a friend planning to park onsite. This parking lot is free to instructors, worktraders, guests, scholarship recipients, vendors and sponsors.

Option 2) Onsite Parking, charged to every vehicle who drives through the gate.

$10 for any vehicle with passengers, or

$15 for any vehicle with a single driver (please carpool).

The onsite parking field is very close to all three camping fields and is central to the event. Flat parking not guaranteed.

Option 3) Onsite Car Camping – $15 additional fee (upgrade from Onsite Parking) – for a premium spot where you can either sleep in your car (in a nice flat spot) or set up your camp right next to your car.

Class sign up happens at the event.. There are two class sessions per day (morning and afternoon). Sign-up sheets are located at Firefly Central on the bulletin boards, starting around 7 pm the night before the day of classes. For example, if you want to take classes on Friday, you sign up for them Thursday evening or Friday morning.

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.

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.

Yes. Bring cash with you; there are no ATMs or credit card payment options available at the gathering.

All parking fees will require cash: $5 for offsite parking or $10 for onsite parking and $15 additional for a limited first-come-first-serve onsite car camping spot.

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.

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 and well 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.

You can get pretty close if you choose to pay for onsite parking (only $10).

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 gear.

There is a limited amount of car camping available onsite (for an additional $15). 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 dusk 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 sticking around to help, we would love to have you. Be warned, you will be put to work!     
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 accommodations 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 and most pathways are gravel.

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 to the best of our ability.

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.

Port-a-potties 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 refreshing 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).

All burning fires must be attended at all times and must have a fire extinguisher and bucket of water at the ready. Fires are allowed only in fire locations marked on the map or in well-established fire rings. No private fires allowed. 

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 keep track of your things during the event and take them back home with you. If you lose track of something while you’re there, check our Lost and Found.

If you realize you left something of value when you return home, contact us to see if we found it. We will hold found items for one week after the event. Unclaimed items will be given a new home.

If you’re unable to use your ticket, you have two options:

1) Get credit for future events and classes. The credit is a dollar amount that can be applied towards any ticket (while tickets last) and is not an actual ticket. Credit is valid for 3 years.

2) Transfer your ticket to someone else. 

To receive credit or to transfer your ticket to another person, notify us in writing by email at registration@fireflygathering.org at least 7 days prior to the start of the class or event you’ll miss. No post-deadline requests accepted. 

Email us at registration@fireflygathering.org to redeem your credit. We do not offer refunds. There are no credits for no-shows.

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