I've just had a phone call from Merlyn.
No, not the legendary wizard of Arthurian tales (that one is spelled Merlin, with an i), but nevertheless someone who is still pretty legendary in his own right - for doing wizardly amounts of work for pagan group Children of Artemis. In particular, this Merlyn is one of the main organisers of Witchfest, CoA's international witchcraft festival, held every year in Croydon, in south east England.
Merlyn phoned me to ask if I wouldn't mind writing a review of Witchfest for CoA's magazine, Witchcraft & Wicca. Of course, I said I was happy to. Not only do I go to Witchfest every year and really enjoy it, I also review it on A Bad Witch's Blog. I said I'd be delighted to write about the festival for Witchcraft & Wicca too.
While we were chatting, Merlyn gave me an update on a rumour that had been circulating - that Children of Artemis had been dissolved as a company. I wrote about this back in May, when Companies House confirmed the rumour. Now, Merlin assured me, the company was back on track, with a new registration number at Companies House.
He said: "There have been some changes in administration. We dissolved the old company but have registered a new company. This won't affect any of the events CoA organises, or the magazine."
He added that CoA is profitable as a company, everything goes back into the organisation and no individual makes anything out if it. The organisation runs on a tight budget with volunteers and this change wasn't done to boost anyone's income.
However, there has been a new development with membership - something that sounds worth looking into if you ever go to Witchfest with a group of friends or with your family. It's called Gold Membership.
The benefits of Gold Membership are everything you get with regular CoA membership plus you can buy two tickets for one for any Children of Artemis/Witchfest event, up to a limit of five ticket purchases per year - meaning in effect 10 tickets. You always pay the members' price for any ticket, you get two copies of each issue of the magazine and 20% discount on purchases at the CoA stall at events. Gold Members also get a fancy gold membership card and a free black Witchfest wristband.
Merlyn said this package was aimed at families, covens or groups of friends who could club together to make the most of the CoA ticket deals.
I'm certainly very glad to hear that Children of Artemis is still going strong, and I'm looking forward to the next Witchfest, on November 6.
For more details, visit the CoA site: http://www.witchcraft.org/