Have some questions about the Annual Firefly Gathering? We’re happy to help!

If you have a question that you don’t see answered below, please don’t hesitate to contact us via e-mail at info@fireflygathering.org, call us at (828) 237-2551, or send us a direct message on our Facebook or Instagram pages. 

Getting a Pass

Arrival day is Tuesday, June 7. Classes begin Wednesday, June 8 and run through Sunday morning June 12, with closing circle early Sunday afternoon, followed by general departure time.

Passes include 2 class sessions per day (except Sunday is morning only), camping, offsite parking and shuttle, access to hiking trails on the property, 2 spring fed lakes to refresh and swim in, our youth programs, and an amazing line-up of evening entertainment. Passes do NOT include meals or onsite parking, so bring cash for parking and a plan for meals. See the “At the Gathering” section below for more about food options.

Partial passes will be available on spring equinox, March 20, 2022.

Yes! We have an amazing youth program for all young people ages 3 and over (the youngest must be potty trained to participate). Our youth village offers engaging games and play, crafting, stories and songs, educational adventures and other nature-based and age-appropriate activities. This programming is offered during class times so that parents can enjoy attending classes themselves.

Teens are welcome to participate in the adult classes offered at the event. Some classes will have an age requirement, so check the sign-up sheets. Teen Camp is a place where teens aged 13-17 can gather and be heard, supported and mentored in the evenings, after taking classes of their choosing during the day. All teens must have a registered adult over 18 present at the event and designated as being responsible for them.

Required Upon Entry: All individuals over the age of 3 years will be required to show a negative covid test result before going through registration.

  • PCR Tests must be taken within 4 days of arrival. Bring a copy of your negative test results with you to the gate. The results must show the date of the test and the name of who was tested.
  • Rapid at-home tests should be taken within 24 hours of arrival. 
    • Taken at home: Write your name and the date on the side of the test result strip with a pen or marker. Bring either your test result strip or a clear photo of the test result as well as the person being tested in the photo.
    • Testing at the event: We welcome onsite testing, if you want to bring your unopened at-home test kit with you. There will be a testing station available at registration with someone to help guide you through the process.

Not Required: Proof of vaccination will not be required upon entry or at any time during the event. 

Recommend to Bring: We recommend that all participants consider bringing an extra at-home test with them to the gathering. Please use it if you begin to show symptoms of flu-like illness or have close contact with someone who is.

Masks: We ask all present to have masks with them in case they are requested by certain spaces, classes, or individuals. As this is an outdoor event, masks are not required to be worn during general event participation.

Testing During the Gathering: If you are having flu-like symptoms during the gathering, please take a covid test. Extra at-home tests will be available at first aid.

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee that this will be a covid-free event. There are many ways it could make it through the gate despite our precautions.

You can read more about our decision to require testing for this event here.

Please contact us at info@fireflygathering.org to discuss your access needs and we would be happy to see if we can accommodate them. The physical nature of the event grounds do limit our capacity to make this event physically accessible for those who have difficulty traversing gravel, uneven and potentially muddy terrain.

If you are interested in the skills offered at the Annual Gathering but cannot participate given the conditions, please consider our Perennial Workshops. These classes vary location and are often more accessible, depending on the site.

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 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 the spring. You can also stay tuned for more information on our Equity Fund. More details will be available in spring.

You will not need a physical ticket upon arrival at the gate. If you receive a receipt with your ticket purchase that means you have been automatically added to our registration list. Registrants should also expect to receive a welcome packet closer to the event. When you arrive at the gate, please be prepared to identify yourself by the name given when registering.

We do not offer refunds. 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, email us at registration@fireflygathering.org at least 2 weeks prior to arrival day for the annual gathering.

Exceptions will be made for positive covid tests, contact with someone who has tested positive with covid, or another communicable illness. Email  registration@fireflygathering.org to redeem your credit. We do not offer refunds. There are no credits for no-shows.

Firefly retains the right to cancel events at any time due to public health concerns or other unforeseen circumstances. In the event of a cancellation, all tickets will automatically become credit for future events and classes. You can read our full Cancellation Policy here.

Packing and Preparing

Yes! Mills River is only a 30-minute drive from the local “metropolis” of Asheville (population 80,000) as well as Hendersonville and Brevard. Each of these towns offer accommodations of all shapes, sizes, and flavors.

The Firefly Gathering has a strict NO DOG policy. This is a Deerfields policy and is non-negotiable. Exceptions are only made for true service dogs. Any service dogs on the property must be registered in advance. Email registration@fireflygathering.org to register your service dog. Dogs MUST remain leashed at all times and be cleaned up after. Failure to do so will result in the animal needing to be removed from the premises immediately; no refunds will be given if people cannot return.

All carpooling is organized independent of Firefly, but we are happy to direct folks to one site to encourage connections. Here is our Carpool and Ride Share page!

Yes. Bring cash with you; there are no ATMs or credit card payment options available at the gathering. All onsite parking fees will require cash. While most classes are free, some require a materials fee; for instance, if the instructors have purchased or spent a lot of time gathering and preparing materials. Bring cash incase one or more of these classes appeal to you.

Each year we fundraise for our Equity Fund, which helps provide tickets for folks from underrepresented marginalized communities. This typically takes the form of a raffle and 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 hand crafted items for sale in the Firefly Maker’s Store. 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, and there will be a Bizarre Bazaar on Saturday where items and services will be available for sale or trade.

Face Mask and an Extra At-Home Covid Test: We ask all present to have masks with them in case they are requested by certain spaces, classes, or individuals. As this is an outdoor event, masks are not required to be worn during general event participation. We recommend that all participants consider bringing an extra at-home test with them to the gathering; please use it if you begin to show symptoms of flu-like illness or have close contact with someone who is.

Water Containers & Sun Protection: Please carry water bottles at all times and protect yourself from the sun. Light colored long-sleeves, hats and sunscreen are advised. Even young children need a tote bag with these items, especially if they are getting involved with Youth Village activities.

Food: We provide a community kitchen (propane burners) and a primitive kitchen (cooking over fire) for your cooking pleasure. Please remember to pack your own food, cookware and dishware. You can also cook at your campsite on a small propane camp stove, if you’d like. We will be hosting a variety of exciting food vendors for you to purchase food from, as well.

Rain Stuff: Southern Appalachia is a temperate rainforest. It will rain at some point. Come prepared and you will be much more comfortable. Bring a rain jacket, extra tarps for your sleeping area, umbrellas, something to sit on when the ground is wet, a small plastic bag to keep your notebook and headlamp in, and shoes that you’ll be comfortable in when they get wet (like sandals or muck boots).

Cotton Alert: Wet cotton will draw heat away from your body. You can get very uncomfortable and even experience hypothermia in the middle of summer if you are wearing a wet outfit made of cotton. Pack at least one extra set of clothes and some extra layers that are made of wool, silk or synthetic material such as polyester. Especially bring a good supply of dry socks so your feet will be warm in the rain.

Crafts for Gifting, Trade or Sale: Do you have some very special items that you would like to trade at Firefly? We have a trade blanket Thursday night and the Bizarre Bazaar Saturday afternoon and evening. Instructors always like gifts, too; it helps them feel appreciated.

Hygiene: There are handwashing stations available and folks are encouraged to wash hands regularly and thoroughly. These are not for washing bodies. There are creeks and ponds for swimming, and both are great for freshening up, too. There are NO showers. Come prepared to keep yourself and your family clean. In addition to your dental hygiene supplies, consider bringing sanitary wipes, biodegradable soap, a solar shower, wash rags and a bucket. Soap is not allowed in any creeks or ponds, so you will need some way of carrying water away from the creek so that the soap can break down appropriately. Or, just take a swim every day and call it good!

Minimize Trash: Firefly is a pack-it-in, pack-it-out event. This means we do not have community garbage cans. If you bring a bunch of stuff that will have to get thrown away, you will have to lug it around with you quite a bit. Please plan for a low-waste event, and come prepared with vessels or bags to gather and pack out your trash.

 

There is no such thing as bad weather, just unprepared people. The 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. Bring your rain gear, check your rainfly for holes ahead of time, and bring plenty of warm, non-cotton socks and under layers to stay warm even when you’re wet. See our “What else should I bring?” tab above for some detailed recommendations!

Arrival

Detailed directions will be sent closer to the Gathering to all ticket holders. The closest town is Mills River, NC.

Satellite Parking – Free – This field is fairly flat and is located behind the Registration Tent, 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.
Onsite Parking – $20 / vehicle – In order to drive onsite, you will need an onsite parking pass. The onsite parking field is very close to all three camping fields and is central to the event. Most of the onsite parking field is on a slope, so we recommend you bring chalks if your parking brake is unreliable.
RV and car camping are outlined below.

Registration will be open during the following times. You will ONLY be able to enter the event while registration is open:
Tuesday (6/7) 1pm to 8pm

Wed – Fri (6/8-10) 8:30am to 8pm

Saturday (6/11) 8:30am to 4pm

You can get pretty close if you choose to pay for onsite parking, but you will still have to walk and carry. 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. 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.

At Firefly, we understand that some folks want to camp with their vehicle. We have three options to meet these needs.

Car Camping – $30 / vehicle – For folks who want to camp on the ground next to their car in a tent or other structure of choice. You can put whatever you want on the ground, but the area is on a slight slope.This field is inside the event grounds and close to the main fields. Space is limited.

Small RV Parking – $40 / vehicle – For folks who sleep in their vehicles and do not need access to utilities. This area is flat, but you cannot lay down tents, mats, rugs or anything large that may smother grass. Limited to vehicles 25 ft or shorter. This field is inside the event grounds and close to the main fields. Space is limited.

Large RV Parking – $50 / vehicle – For RVs larger than 25 ft, please contact us at registration@fireflygathering.org to reserve your spot. We have space for large RVs that have nearby access to electricity. The location is about a 5 minute walk from the main event space.

Spots are limited. Do not arrive at the event expecting a spot if you have not reserved one in advance. Car camping reservations are available to purchase here.

Yes. You are welcome to arrive from 5pm to 8pm the evening before your ticket begins. This allows you extra time to get oriented, settled, and sign up for the classes you want. Class signups are available at 7pm for the following day.

At the Gathering

We have an abundance of both field space and forested areas available for camping. Whether you like tent or hammock camping tucked in the woods, or something more centralized, there are many options to choose from. This year we have three large field 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. No camping on the ferns, please.

Please pack your gear in such a way that you can easily walk to your camping site. We recommend backpacks, duffel bags, and/or baskets and totes on wagons or rolling carts with off-road tires. Once you arrive and register, you will be directed towards parking. A shuttle is provided for offsite parking which has space for gear. You will have received a map of the premises at registration, so you can explore your options, choose your camping spot, and transport your gear to where you want to set up your tent.

There will be spring and well water available on site. Port-a-potties will be available in various convenient locations around the grounds. These will be freshened and stocked daily. There is no cell service or WiFi available at Deerfields. Plan to enjoy being disconnected from the inter-webs and reconnected to the web of life!
We do not provide showers. 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).

Class sign-up happens at the event. There are two main class sessions per day (morning and afternoon). Sign-up sheets are located at Firefly Central on the bulletin boards, available the evening before around 7pm. 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. You will get a printed, updated class schedule upon arrival.

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!

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 any time by Firefly staff or volunteers. We ask for folks to swim clothed at all times in 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.
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.

Meals are only provided for the people working hard to make the event possible; this includes staff members, instructors and some work traders. We do this because these people are working all day long and cannot also find the time for nourishing themselves. While we would love to feed everyone, we simply do not have the capacity due to the size of our event and the rustic nature of the venue.

 
There will be food vendors on-site selling breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack foods and beverages. There will also be a community kitchen with sink, propane stoves and food-preparation tables located near the camping areas, in addition to a fire pit that will be stocked with appropriate cooking elements. You can also bring your own propane stove to cook on at your campsite, as well.

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, which will be at the Camp Store. 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 re-homed.