Every Druid Camp offers a “Camp Virgins” familiarisation talk at the start of the event, but since you have to get there to hear it here’re a few helpful hints to bring you up to speed.
How Camp Works…
Having navigated the windy country lanes leading from the A48 you’ll find the entrance to the lower field. Driving up the track to the main entrance tent you’ll be met by the lovely Rainbow team who will tick you off their list and send you on through. You can drive your car to where you want to site yourself, accepting that you’ll need to return it to the car park by the entrance afterward (unless you’re living in it by arrangement). Set yourself up – you might want to find out where your friends are camped first! You might want to be close to a toilet, especially if you need the disabled one, or you might want to find a quiet space. It’s all good.
It is a condition of our licence that no dogs are allowed on the site.
Yes, camp fires are not only allowed, we provide the wood for you. There’s generally a goodly stack of wood offcuts near the entrance gate. Please only take what you need – don’t go nuts and take all the wood so none else has any. We restock if needed, but there’s plenty for all if we’re sensible. Obviously, you need to exercise common sense with your fires – don’t build them near tents, don’t leave them unattended, consider there may be children nearby, have a bucket of water handy… we did have a tent fire once albeit not caused by a camp fire, and while everything was fine for a time it was a bit exciting.
Before most of us are up, there are lovely folk out there on the field or in a marquee offering free yoga, music, dance or Stav sessions. It’s up to you to be there, or alternatively forget it and have a lie in… no, ok. If you wish you can join the band who create the music for the dance. If yoga is your thing, bring your mat. Theo will have mats but if you all turn up, not so many. Please, if you’re wearing a kilt, don’t scare the yoga-folk with handstands – it’s early in the day for some.
These are essential if you’re not to race about the field wondering where you are supposed to be! Apart from that they are a smashing community activity and it’s always entertaining. Each of the workshop facilitators for that day will stand up and outline their intention, so you can choose what you are hoping to see or join in with. General information is also put out at the morning meetings. The days schedule is presented on a blackboard which afterward is usually sited at the Cafe.
Yes, we touched on this earlier. Unless you are living in your vehicle or need it for (e.g.) medical equipment we ask for it to be moved to the car park where it can chat with other cars and vans to its hearts content. Ok, we don’t ask, we require… but we require nicely. ok? Thanks.
We simply don’t have the means to take all your rubbish away, and neither do we feel it is in keeping with Druid ethics to do so. Be responsible, please, and take all your stuff home with you. Don’t be the person who bagged up five big bin bags last year then drove home leaving them for us to find. Please. Also, this field is returned to the animals after the camping season, and if they find fag ends and ring pulls they will eat them. And die.
Most of what goes on a Druid Camp costs nothing in terms of cash. Some workshop facilitators ask for a small amount to cover the cost of materials, which we feel is more than fair. The healing area is run by volunteers who are qualified and skilled in the services they’re providing, and are highly sought after (when was the last time you had a free consultation or massage?). As such, please ensure you make contact and arrange a session; don’t just turn up expecting to be seen. The kids areas are also run by folk skilled in childcare and play, and are happy to help make your children’s time at Camp fun and worthwhile. They are not a creche, however, and it would be a breakdown in honourable relationship for anyone to drop their kids off and leave the team to get on with it while the parents went off to have fun. The team need practical and resilient means of knowing how to find you at all times, and this will be covered in the brief when you bring your kids to the tam.
Yes, I’ve just said this, but it’s worth reinforcing. The kids team are well able to manage the group of children they will be leading in fun and games, but cannot reasonably spend all day looking for the parents of an unwell or unhappy child which was dropped off with no preamble, and for whom we have no contact detail or even identity. A child wanting mummy can’t always provide sufficient information for us to find mummy, so for your child’s sake do follow the good practice and protocols of the kids area team.
Including kids, but we hope that doesn’t happen. If you lose anything, it may well find it’s way to the gatehouse. If you find anything likewise, take it to the gatehouse – preferably immediately or as soon as possible, not waiting until the last day of camp… If you let one of the Druid Camp team know of your loss, they may note it at the morning meeting and this may assist in getting you back in touch with your item.
Timetables and scheduling are often last minute and spontaneous – it’s a Druid camp after all… Everything running on a particular day is advertised at the morning meetings (see above), and where possible this web site and Facebook will be updated – that’s probably not going to happen once we’re all at camp though. Phoebe manages a fantastic blackboard, which after the morning meeting is usually to be found in the cafe. Timings are pretty resilient once scheduled, and so please do turn up at the right time, in the right marquee, for the right event. Lateness is not inexcusable for some presentations and workshops, but you wouldn’t want to wander in ten minutes after a Journey has begun.
There are few opportunities to spend hard cash at Druid Camp apart from the Cafe and Ray’s bazar, but during Saturday lunchtime all who wish are able to set out their blankets and sell their wares. There are no trader stalls unless they be Druid Camp folk who also trade. This is a bring and buy sale with a Druid heart and a Druid theme. Usually, you’ll find books (and their authors), hand made jewellery and trinkets, woollens and clothing, honey, incense… the list is variable and enticing. So if you wish to join in, simply join in. Alternatively, bring a few quid and have a browse and a chat.
This is a Druid camp, and throughout the event there are rituals, planned and spontaneous. On Wednesday afternoon, about six pm, we hold a formal opening ritual in the flag circle and most everyone comes along to greet the site, honour the non-human participants and set the feel for the camp ahead. Likewise, on Sunday afternoon at about three, when we’ve all collapsed our tents – or in some cases simply collapsed – we close camp with a ritual to thank all who have made it splendid; human and non-human. There is hugging. Happy tears are unavoidable in some cases.
Each Camp holds a community ritual on the Sunday, that is itself crafted by those attending Camp. A theme is developed and facilitators chosen, and at the Saturday morning meeting all who choose to are randomly sorted into small groups. These groups each bring a small part of the ritual together, and enact it in the ritual on Sunday. It’s great fun as well as being immersive, and you may get to play the role of god or goddess, elemental or other character. Even if you think you aren’t someone who ‘does’ performance or ritual, you may find yourself throwing everything you have into the mix. If you really don’t want to be involved of course, you don’t have to, and can watch as the thing comes to life.
One of the things about this Camp is the fabulous if slightly Heath Robinson facilities. Water World is our shower and sauna area, and this is managed by a dedicated team so that you don’t have to do anything more than turn up. In fact, please don’t ‘adjust’ the boilers or add wood t fires that don’t need it.
The Water World is given over to our teenagers for an hour at lunchtime, so that they don’t have to put up with the rest of us and get a bit of private luxury. In the evenings the sauna may become a sacred chanting area…
The Cafe serves hot and cold meals, all vegetarian and really fine, for a reasonable cost. It does mean you don’t have to bring cooking facilities with you if you don’t want to – you can travel light. The cafe is also a venue for entertainments and the eisteddfod.
The long drop toilets are clean, and generally don’t smell of anything other than sawdust. I know, folk can have a preconception about camp toilets, but we are really happy to tell you these are different. Some are posher than others, with themes like musical recordings and Hawaiian tropics! Others are simply functional, and as long as you are clean with your use of them, they’ll remain clean for everyone… they are also regularly checked and cleaned by the camp staff. Hand washing facilities are adjacent the toilets and we would remind everyone these are hand washing facilities not washing up stations – obviously we need to keep them available for toilet users and we don’t want any nasties being transferred to plates and cups do we…
There is one disabled toilet – a disabled specific portaloo, which is kept locked with the key held locally by disabled campers who choose to put their tents in this mainly flat and accessible area. If you want to be close to this area, ask at the gate when you arrive.