Sunday, 8 October 2017
The Excitement and Sadness of Witchfest 2017
I had a fabulous day at Witchfest International, run by Children of Artemis in Brighton yesterday, marred only by the news that there won’t be one next year. Late in the afternoon, just before a superb talk by Professor Ronald Hutton on the origins of Halloween, CoA organiser Merlyn announced that because of poor ticket sales they couldn’t afford to run the event in 2018.
This is very sad, because Witchfest International has been running for 22 unbroken years, originally at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, but moving to The Brighton Centre (pictured above) last year because the other venue had closed for refurbishment.
Merlyn said it was because of poor ticket sales on the door. He put this year’s low attendance down to bad weather and the trains to Brighton being replaced by buses due to engineering works. There will, however, be Wicca Introduced in 2018. It will on 24-25 February 2018 at Lea Hall, Rugeley. You can find details here: http://witchfest.net/events/wicca-introduced-midlands-2018/ and also Witchfest Midlands on 26 May, also in Rugely: http://witchfest.net/events/witchfest-midlands/
readwell’s had a stall in the market and copies of my book completely sold out. If you wanted a copy and weren’t able to get one, you can still order them from Treadwell’s online as there are more copies in stock at the London shop.
I only managed to get to two lectures apart from my own. They were Melissa Harrington’s talk on Wicca and Revolution - in which she pointed out that although individual Wiccans might be very involved in protests and campaigns, Wicca these days is more mainstream than revolutionary – and Ronald Hutton’s talk on Halloween, in which he explained that historically it is a mixture of festivals from both Christian and Pagan cultures. I also bought a wonderful hat and spent a lot of time chatting with friends and getting extremely drunk at the mead bar. I do hope I wasn’t too embarrassing by the end of the day.
Note: As usual, Witchfest has a photo ban, apart from official photographers a booth where you can queue up to have your own picture taken, so I photographed the rather dull looking outside of the building. It was much more exciting inside.