Closing ritual was held on Sunday morning at Phoenix Phyre, but I didn’t attend because, as I am sure everyone has figured out at this point, I don’t do morning anything well. So while I spent time with last minute chats with cherished friends, The Abyss packed away our stuff and trying to leave the site as it was before we came. Then there were, of course, goodbyes, hugs, and exchanges of contact information before we hopped into the car for the long drive home.
POST GAME ~ What did we think about Phoenix Phyre Ostara 2012?
In discussions about our experiences, please note that we make a point of not comparing one festival to another in terms of which is better than the other. While I might make a note about differences such as venue size or type of entertainment, I strongly believe that each festival or gatherings has its own flavor and merits which really makes it impossible to “compare” them one against the other. Additionally, I feel that attempting to do so causes unnecessary tension in the Community and, therefore, is inappropriate simply on that merit alone.
OVERALL ~ The Abyss tribe gave the overall experience at Phoenix Phyre Ostara 2012 a unanimous thumbs up. There was the wonderful combination of the humor, fun, mischief, and spirituality that we, as a festival tribe, prefer when visiting festivals and gatherings. The weather stayed in a comfortable range typical of this time of year.
We would definitely return to Phoenix Phyre. In fact, we have already made to plans to return next year for Ostara 2013 and will be hosting a Pagan Pirate Party on Thursday night with the usual Abyss flair!
VENUE ~ I loved the Maddox Ranch for a variety of reasons. The kids were able to spend a great deal of time in the pool. It was well-maintained and, obviously, I didn’t have to worry about alligators. The Ranch also provided a cage of newly hatched chicks for the children to enjoy as well.
The camping area itself is actually the center pasture of a large ranch, so we did not actually abut the forest. Sometimes I like being able to easily ramble through the forest, but this was the first time we brought two of our five children and they were able to have free run of the campground without any concerns whatsoever which was greatly appreciated. There was plenty of shade trees throughout the site and I actually didn’t get sunburned once even without any sunscreen and my very fair skin.
There were a lot of bugs and ants, however, which is typical of Central Florida at this time of year. So if you visit this venue (or any other in Florida) always be sure to bring Benadryll, calamine lotion, bug off sprays, and Itch X or ammonia pens. The first aid tent at PP had most of this stuff (and COFFEE), but it’s always good to keep it on hand.
The camping area is not overly large either and it is pretty much flat land. I was able to make a full circuit a few times during our stay with my cane. It was plenty spacious at the same time though. No one was camping on top of each other either.
We had a few minutes to speak to the ranch owner while we were there and he had an extremely warm and engaging personality. Nice guy. Really nice.
ENTERTAINMENT ~ The headliners was awesome and readily available. I had the opportunity to speak to almost all of them individually. There were interruptions in the events due to rain and not due to planning or staffing issues. I’m not sure what can be done in that regard. The entertainment overall was very enjoyable and the workshops seemed well-planned and we had no complaints whatsoever. As mentioned, PP was recently bought and is now Community run so I think we can also look forward to seeing a maturing process over the next few years as well and I’m interested in seeing whether they take it.
CHILDREN ~ I already mentioned the pool which was a big hit with the kids, but PP also arranged to have some type of entertainment activity for the kids on a daily basis which was nice. Also, the people who attend the festival are very kid friendly and tolerant and more so than I’ve seen at other festivals.
CAMPERS ~ Phoenix Phyre’s policies towards campers is really people friendly. If you are running a generator, you need to be in the generator area at the edge of the camping area. If you aren’t running a generator (and you don’t have a semi truck), you can camp in the same area as the tents. For someone like me who is beginning to have some mobility issues, this is a great perk which is greatly appreciated. I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to sleep on a blow up bed and, quite frankly, I worry about one day being ostracized to a parking lot or a cabin away from our Tribe’s hearth and my tribe mates because of it. The PP policy alleviates that concern for me.
PLUMBING ~ Camping is still camping, but there were plenty of portable bathrooms throughout the site which were well maintained every morning. There are showers with plumbing, but sometimes depending on the number of people, it can be warm water/cold water roulette which turned into a mass of giggling for those showering. I was told that they ranch is doing some upgrades, but we had no complaints about the facilities. You should note though that the showers are communal and not separated by sex.
STAFF ~ Staff was exceptionally cordial and accommodating. Any concern or inquiry was quickly answered and/or resolved. The communication was extremely impressive for a festival and we always felt that our input was desired and greatly appreciated. Can’t say enough good things about all the staff.
SHOPPING ~ Awesome! Publix and Walgreens were less than 5 miles away and a McDonalds with WiFi was just one exit down the way (10 miles or so).
So thank you everyone who worked so hard to bring Phoenix Phyre Ostara 2012 together in such an amazing, wonderful, fun, and spiritual experience! See you next Ostara in 2013 and be prepared for our Pagan Pirate Party on Thursday night!