HILL SPIRITS are an energetic folk quintet from the fabled hills of southern Ohio. While at some points boisterously uplifting and at other times stirringly mystical, Hill Spirits have become known for their passionate energetics and wholesale love for lifting their voices in song together. Based in Athens, Ohio, the group has forged deep musical bonds over the course of a decade in a multitude of musical projects ranging in sound from psychedelic rock to acoustic to neo-soul, eventually finding home in the Appalachian folk modes of their forebearers. In the course of their work diving into the revival of both Americana and old-world folk styles, Hill Spirits seem to have found a way to communicate with other realms, creating spaces during performances that summon restless spirits to join in a spirit-dance. All-in-all, a Hill Spirits show is an invigorating experience, one not to be missed. (BYO Moonshine)
Hill Spirits are Kyle Lyons (Knux) on banjo, Eric (the Reverend) Osborne on fiddle, George Joseph van Fossen (Old Dutch) on upright bass, Benjamin Stewart (O’Burteen) on guitar and mandolin, and Brother Hill on lead vocals, guitar, and Irish bodhran.
Wisteria Event Site and Campground is delighted to welcome back Byron Ballard as the keynote speaker for Appalachian Summer Solstice 2021!
Byron will be presenting a keynote talk and three workshops.
The Ragged Wound: Tending the Broken Spirit of Appalachia
The problems of a mythic place require a mythic solution and this talk and the book-in-progress are my response to all the palaver about this place I call home. What do we do after the decades of clear-cutting, strip-mining, absentee ownership, mountaintop renewal, poison water and people with no hope or resilience left? We look at the root causes and we address the region’s ills with all the allies we can bring to bear, including the powerful Appalachian diaspora.
A Great and Subtle Weaving: Animism as a Political and Economic Force
So much of the interconnected global economy is dominated by capitalism and the domination language found in Genesis that is foundational to these global movements. This workshop proposes a return to animism and the incorporation of this ancient notion into the political arena as well as the economic one. How would this change these systems in the face of global climate transition? Is it even possible?
Living Under the Tower: A Discussion
Environmental and cultural challenges surround us and it is tempting to fall into despair or apathy. In this time of destruction, we can choose to live bigger, noisier and more engaged lives. Creating activities and putting protocols in place for and with our communities can lead to more resilience and stronger links in an increasingly isolated world. We’ll brainstorm what is already working in our local groups and consider how we move into this deepening time of possibility.
These “hearth gatherings” began in 2019 and have a general shape: we spend some time getting familiar with the idea of Tower Time, then come to a collective understanding of this collapse we are experiencing on all fronts We go from there to visioning about where we go now/next steps, how we grab agency, how we work collectively and individually to “grieve globally and act locally.” By relocalizing everything we can, we will build resilience as well as a kind of hope.
Warts, Waters and What Mountain Folk Know
Dive deep into the specific uses of water in Appalachian folk magic. From stump water and willowwater for cures to ditchwater for creativity and dish water for warts, the many uses of this powerful element have been passed down since the early days of immigration. Learn how they can broaden your own magical practice.
H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a western NC native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, Heartland, Sirius Rising, Starwood, Scottish Pagan Federation Conference, Hexfest and other festivals and conferences. She serves as senior priestess and co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple and the Coalition of Earth Religions/CERES, both in Asheville, NC. She podcasts about Appalachian folkways on “Wyrd Mountain Gals.” Her essays are featured in several anthologies and she writes a regular column for SageWoman Magazine. Her books include “Staubs and Ditchwater” (2012), the companion volume “Asfidity and Mad-Stones” (2015) “Embracing Willendorf” (2017), “Earth Works: Ceremonies in Tower Time” (2018),“Roots, Branches, and Spirits: the Folkways and Witchery of Appalachia” from Llewellyn (Feb. 2021) and “Seasons of a Magical Life: a Pagan Path of Living” (Weiser, August 2021). Upcoming: “The Ragged Wound: Tending the Soul of Appalachia” (Smith Bridge Press), “Porch Food: a cookbook from Wyrd Mountain” and a musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Learn more at www.myvillagewitch.com
This painting was made by Kim Keffer, a presenting Artist, during Summer Solstice 2018. Inspired by Wisteria’s summer solstice festival.
She has graciously offered to share it with the Wisteria community. It will be offered for silent auction during Autumn Fires. Bidding starts at 100$, 16” by 20” Acrylic on Canvas
Kim is a visionary artist, a photographer and painter. Kim is on a mission to use her art and her experiences to bring light and healing to all. Her incredibly detailed paintings are inspired by her connection to Mother Nature. Currently Kim lives in her little motor home traveling the country creating and sharing her art. She also loves conducting Guided Painting workshops and facilitates a creative recovery group called Creative Companions. It is Kim’s belief that we are all creative beings, that creativity heals and it is her mission to inspire others to free their creative selves.
Lots of exciting things happening at Wisteria these days!
Some of the exciting ventures happening at Wisteria these days include:
We have open camping during the entire month of August. And we have had one very successful Microfest weekend called Barleycorn with over 30 attendees. Campers shared in making homemade bread, learned to brew beer, enjoyed a small acoustic concert, and participated in the first Faery Ball to be held at the pond. We are having another Microfest weekend in September called Equinox. Our community of regular visitors is growing and really enjoying low key lightly scheduled weekends.
We have been taking measures to improve the health of the pond. Our new population of fish are flourishing. We added red-eared sunfish, largemouth bass and catfish, as well as some plants and algae eating Bacteria. The pond is beautifully clear. Some of us have been having a wonderful time Floating on hot summer afternoons. We’ve even held a few committee meetings at the pond, enjoying this Wisteria treasure while completing company business!
We are moving forward with a community garden and compost facility that will potentially be located at the north edge of the Grand Field. Additionally, we purchased a mower to help maintain the grounds and keep our maintenance costs low.
These are just a few of the ways that we are moving forward. We hope you have had a chance to interact with our newest Shareholder, Matt Fergurson Exciting times!
Nellie Werger, Assistant Secretary
Ceremonies and Celebrations
Monday 8:00PM, Stone Circle
Greet other celebrants (old and new) and offer your vocal blessings to the land of Wisteria on this 20th anniversary year. Then, we gather the Light and Energy of the Summer Solstice to propel ourselves into a personal journey through a candle-lit labyrinth ceremony. With this week dedicated to creating World Peace, we’ll use this event to acknowledge that PEACE first begins within our own hearts.
Awakening of Paw Paw
Monday 9:30PM, Paw Paw
Join us as we awaken the Spirit of Paw Paw! Earth shall rise in primal grace, Air will move with the dancer’s pace, Waters fall our sacred gift ,Fire rise as passions lift, Drums will sound as the mystic calls. Add your voice to the chanting…. Earth and Air … Water and Fire. This is the spirit of Pawpaw.
Paw Paw Drum and Fire Circle
Nightly 10:00PM, Paw Paw
There will be fire and drumming in Paw Paw every night starting at 10:00PM, or after the Main Stage concerts.
Tuesday 9:00PM, Heart Hearth
Sometimes in festival we get stuck in party mode. That’s awesome… But it’s also good to set aside time for deeper, truer moments. Join Quill for a heart-circle. This is a very, very informal ritual where we take the time really listen to each other. Please bring a beverage of your choice. Alcoholic or not. It will be used in the ritual. Facililtated by Quill Childeye
Wisteria History Talk and Cake!
Wednesday 3:00PM-4:30PM, Caffeina’s Stage
Join us as our founding members share stories of Wisterias’s first 20 years. There will be Cake!
Petite Paw Paw
Wednesday 6:00PM, Paw Paw
For this one night, Paw Paw fire will be lit early especially for our children (other people are allowed too). There will be drumming and dancing. Let’s share our traditions even as we make them.
Wednesday 8:00PM-10:00PM, Caffeina’s Stage
Wisteria Celebrates 20 years With a homecoming Dance, featuring Local DJ Barticus, Wear your prom dresses and dance till you drop.
Thursday 8:00PM, meet at Pavilion; 8:30PM, Fairy Shrine
All our small fairies and their attendants are invited to come out to the Fairy shrine. It will be illuminated for Early Birds. Meet the shuttles at the pavillion for a ride as far as the pond, then enjoy the twinkling stroll past firefly field and mystical musicians to enjoy the Fairy Shrine Illumination.
Pirate’s Fireside Jam Session and Symbel
Thursday 9PM, Pirates’ Cove
Derived from the Old Norse “Sumbl” which roughly translates to feast, banquet, or gathering, this celebration is part musical celebration,
part ritual, and all camaraderie. Join us at the Cove to share stories, songs, toasts, boasts, beverages, all around the fire with the Pirates.
Harriet Tubman ”Mama Moses” Tribute
Thursday 10:30PM, Spirit Circle
Join Witchdoctor Utu and members of the Dragon Ritual Drummers to help build and consecrate an altar on Wisteria land, to honour Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the spirits of the Underground Railroad.
Bring a medium to large rock from home to the ritual, they will be the foundations of a cairn (sacred rock pile) to honour the spirits of those who sought freedom in the north from slavery. We will bless the rocks together as we place a new sacred shrine on Wisteria’s sacred land. Drummers and dancers of all levels welcome.
World Peace Ceremony
Friday 7:00PM, gather at Pavilion and process to Stone Circle
Magick is afoot . . . Rev. Patrick McCollum and Scarlet Rivera will showcase the World Peace Violin within this interactive and moving ritual. Each person will create a “Peace Cord” which will hold their unique prayers and blessings for the future. Join us in this life-affirming experience and dedicate yourself to change our World for the better.
Midnight Masquerade Fairy Ball
Friday 12:00 MIDNIGHT, Fairy Shrine, Age 18+
It’s THAT time of year again my friends….time for the fairies..goblins..gnomes..nymphs.. and satyrs to play with us “normal” folk.. So meet us at the Fairie Shrine with your masks to join in the midnight revelry! Let’s light up the night with our shenanigans! …..REMINDER…THIS IS AN 18 AND UP ONLY EVENT…Parents I know your kiddies love the shrine. there is an opportunity for them to see the shrine in all it’s glory Thursday night at the Fairy Promenade…ADULTS ONLY PARTY
Saturday 10:30PM, Pirates’ Cove. Adults Only 21+
TORTUGA! An exploration of the spirit and the senses, Tortuga is a ritual conducted by the Pirates which fuses modern paths of existential spiritualism with elements of the Ancient Bacchanal Tribal Rite. *A formal ritual precedes the celebration.* Fine attire, beverage to share, and musical instruments are encouraged. Leave your inhibitions in your tents, along with any minors. No cameras in ritual space! Please see our information packet at Caffienas for details about this year’s ritual theme.
Can’t get enough Wisteria swag? Looking for something we don’t sell at festival? We now have an on demand printing site, WisteriaWares! http://www.zazzle.com/wisteriawares We’re currently featuring Sara Adrian’s 2015 winning design contest entry on shirts, hoodies, bags, baby clothes, magnets, and more. And we’ll be adding additional designs such as previous Wisteria artwork and community-contributed Wisteria-inspired designs … coming soon, Jen Capone’s “Sharing Our Peace”. Please understand that prices are higher than what we sell out of the office (there’s not much we can do about that) since these are printed on demand instead of in bulk, but we can do a much larger variety of items. If you think of any other items you’d like to see, just let us know! And if you’d like to submit artwork for consideration, contact Nellie on Facebook; as always, any money we make goes directly to support site and festival expenses and improvements.
This season marks 20 years for us. In the past two decades we’ve learned and grown and weathered hardships thanks to the incredible love and support of our community. This year, to commemorate this and to foster the growth of the festivals we all love, we’ve made some big changes.
We’ll kick off our 20th year with a special festival (yet to be named … suggestions welcome!) during Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30). Last year many of you were here for the Memorial Day work weekend and we all had a wonderful time; this year instead of working, we’ll celebrate. As with all our festivals, volunteer positions will be available.
Summer Solstice is back to a full week (June 19-26), with workshops and performances throughout. While we haven’t decided on our performance lineup yet we hope to include both old favorites and new acts from a variety of genres. For those of you who can’t get the time off work for a full week, we’ll have a special weekend price and a flurry of activities and music during the weekend.
Wormhole (between Solstice and Starwood) now covers the full two weeks this year (June 27-July 11). So if you want to come and enjoy some quiet camping time, this would be a good time.
As with last year, we’ll have our volunteer appreciation festival, Manifest, during Labor Day weekend (September 2-5). Anyone who has volunteered for us during a festival or during work weekends is eligible to come for free.
And of course we’ll end the year with our fall festival, Autumn Fires (October 6-9), with music, pumpkins, arts and crafts, and plenty of fire.
For festival tickets, follow the links above. You can also pay at the gate (gate prices are slightly higher, but you can pay only for the days you attend). Season passes this year cover all three festivals plus the days before each festival, as well as three open camping days. If you buy before January 1, 2016, you’ll get two additional open camping days!
Also planned for this year are improvements to the shower house (and plenty of hot water), improved high speed Internet service, and the return of something we know you all miss!
If you’ve been following our Facebook group, you know that spring has come to Wisteria, and with it, our work season. We’re a small organization run by a core group of dedicated and enthusiastic people, but it’s far too much work for us alone, and we would be lost if it were not for the love and effort of all of you.
This year’s big project is making improvements to the pavilion housing the kitchen and coffee house. Since I’m managing this project, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about what we’re doing and why. Land like any living thing has unique characteristics and challenges, and in Southeastern Ohio, one of our big ones is water. Some places have too little; we’re blessed with such an abundance that sometimes it becomes an issue. Our original wooden kitchen floor was a stop-gap measure, and the water moving across the pavilion ground wasn’t kind to it, or to people’s shoes. So now it’s time to do it right.
We’re doing this in three stages. The first, which is mostly complete, was digging out the back poles so we could pour a concrete curb wall to stop any water from making it into the pavilion. This wall will extend below the pad into the ground. We’ll finish it off by putting on a sealant and barrier. The highlight of this stage, if you will, was a very long and hard work day involving building forms and getting four yards of concrete into a 6″ wide space. I joke sometimes that we should call it a fitness camp because we definitely built some muscle that day!
The second stage will be excavating a trench behind the wall and across the field, putting in pipe to take all the water coming off the hillside, ground, and roof, and move it into a ravine by Green Man. Our final stage of course will be making a new concrete pad in the pavilion so we can rebuild our kitchen and coffee house. This will make the space cleaner, safer, easier to maintain, and much friendlier for the hard-working souls behind the counter, and improve the flow for everyone getting their food and coffee drinks. We’ve got a professional concrete contractor helping us out on this job since this is a major project.
Our next work weekend coming up is Memorial Day, and by then we hope to have the pad finished. If the concrete has cured enough, we’ll be putting the pavilion kitchen area back together, making it beautiful and functional. And of course there will be plenty of other work to do, from wood busting to grounds keeping … oh, and hopefully faster Internet, too! If you’ve got time before the work weekend and want to help out, we’d love your help! Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
I’m thrilled to be help manage this project and couldn’t do it without the incredible contributions of too many of you to name. Let’s git ‘er done and have some fun!