To say that the past year as the organiser of the Dark Gathering has been challenging would be the understatement of the year! Sometimes an event can prove to be so popular it can become the victim of it’s own success, and now that the Gathering regularly attracts many hundreds of people it has also brought upon itself the scrutiny of the red tape brigade. I personally have been on a very steep learning curve including learning new jargon, PLI, RA, TEN not to mention H&S! Thankfully I have had the help of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’s Events Manager who has diligently steered me through the minefield of licenses, permissions and insurances required by various departments and organisations. He has been a godsend. 🙂
What this preamble is leading to is to inform you that there may well be a few changes to the way we run things from this year onwards. There may be restrictions to the amount of people permitted around the harbour area to view the proceedings. There are however no such restrictions in the surrounding areas providing there remains free access to public thoroughfares and footpaths. A lot depends on the day regarding numbers of attendees how much crowd control will be implemented. I would ask that folk co-operate with the marshals at the event, all of whom are volunteers, and move round if requested to do so.
The other main change which is in accordance with Health and Safety regulations which we have to comply with is that no naked flames are permitted in the Lantern Procession but that torchlight be restricted to LED lights instead. There are many on the market nowadays that are very reminiscent of candlelight. Once again during the Procession please comply with any instruction from any marshal or the Procession Leader who will be a member of Beltane Border Morris.
Right. That’s the officious bit out of the way! There have been some changes in line-up so there will be a few surprises for folks over the weekend and definitely on the day itself. It’s been a bit wild and wacky and probably will remain so for the duration! 😉
The Pedlar will be out in full force selling her wares with some new merchandise this year to delight you with. Also there will be a collection bucket going around which I hope you will give generously to. Insurances and licenses don’t come cheap and we have always endeavoured to keep the Dark Gathering free and hope to keep it that way, so anything donated goes straight into the Dark Gathering account in order to keep it well funded and efficient.
So here we are with just under a week to go and the excitement is palpable. I feel the dark magic rising to welcome the Gathering and the Old Ones stirring to respond to the call of the Ancestors. It just falls to me to say ‘Expect the Unexpected this Hallowtide’ and travel safe. See you soon! 😀