Reviewed by Anna Maria Espsäter
On Saturday the 3rd of November Witchfest International took over Fairfield Halls in Croydon, south London for a one-day extravaganza of all things witchy. This was the 19th event of its kind to be held in Europe and the 9th at Fairfield Halls itself, the local meeting point for Children of Artemis, a non-profit organisation and the organisers behind the event.
Merlyn, from CoA, gave a brief introduction in the main auditorium, before the opening blessing and the start of the day’s workshops and talks, of which there were plenty to choose from. Witchfest International is the largest gathering of its kind in the world and a wonderful place to meet Wiccans, Pagans and Goddess-worshippers from both nearby and as far a field as USA and Australia.
The main aims of Witchfest - whether the International version or the smaller England, Wales and Scotland gatherings - are to inform, entertain and be a good social space and it succeeds well in all three. Making friends on the day is easy with people chatting and mingling in workshops, at talks or in the two bars on the premises. The informative side is also excellent. In fact with so many events to choose from there really is something for everyone and if anything you’re sometimes hard pushed to find time for all that’s on offer.
This autumn’s Witchfest included active workshops such as wand making, belly dancing, Morris dancing and even spell working. Then there were fascinating talks on everything from runic symbols and introduction to Qabalah, to rituals for the family and the wheel of the year. For those interested in the Goddess there is also plenty to discover, with several talks focusing on different aspects of the Goddess, such as Stevie Diamond concentrating on the Norse Goddess Freyja, or James Bennet giving a talk on Ancient Stories of the Goddess.
The entertainment aspect is no less impressive with belly-dancing from Galatea, Morris dancing from Wolfshead and Vixen, folk rock from American Heather Alexander, not to mention Mediaeval Baebes and the Witching Hour disco in the evening. There is a wonderful variety of stalls selling everything from gorgeous goddess wear and books, to athames and jewellery, with book signings from various authors throughout the day. You could have a tarot reading or maybe even meet your perfect match during one of the day’s two speed dating sessions. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Witchfests!
©Anna Maria Espsäter