Excellent question, Dolphin.
ESA was founded several years ago as a result of a large political event within CMA. A large minority of the membership left that group and came together under the leadership of one man who bought some land near Red Rock. In an attempt to keep it simple, the land owner calls the shots while those who move-and-shake wihin the organization work to build the foundation on which the membership sits. In the four or five years that I have been in attendence on the site, I have not seen one political argument whereby one group of folks tries to outpower another. THere basically is no committee to "overthrow" and no "power" to usurp, therefore people just come together to lend help mowing the grass, planting seeds, improving campsite areas and, at the end of the day, everyone feasts, drums and dances around on bonfire or another (as the burn bans allow, of course). There are several work weekends throughout the year were the membership is invited to come help revitalize and maintain the site. Otherwise, for the yearly events, it's a bring your own camp gear type affair with workshops, drum circles, revel fires, and general drama-free pagan merriment.
Everyone has their own personal bits of drama, naturally. But, no one is allowed to let their drama affect the collective as a whole. If someone has a problem, or makes a problem, the issue is discussed with the land owner and a few other long-time, active members. The issue is alleviated through dialogue and compromise or, in a case or two where compromise was unattainable, those few people were asked not to return to the site. At no time, though, does the issue filter into the general membership so as to not ruin the experiences of those who come to revel in the events or attend the workshops, etc.
There is a set of enclosed showers on site with several portapotty locations. There is a stage for plays and bands to perform as well as a kitchen building where everyone can collectively cook for the potluck dinner on Saturday nights. The fields are freshly mowed before events so barefooters don't have to overly worry about sticker burrs. The woods are marked and lined with trails and offer a very large amount of shade for setting up tents. There is no current water feature on the property, but I think a pool is in the works. The site itself is always a pack-it-in, pack-it-out environment, so bring trash bags to haul your empties out.
Other than that, I can make no complaints at all. I have had a great time at all the events I have been to.
From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [pagan-1137] Upcoming festival
Date: Sun, 15 Mar[masked]:56:01 -0400
Good morning everyone,
I am new to the group and have not had the chance to meet anyone as of yet, but I have a question that I am hoping everyone can help me with. I am interested in the ESA campout, but have never been, so I am wondering if anyone can share some experiences with me. I have been attending the CMA campouts for a couple of years now and it is great, but there are some issues with it. I really like all of the people there and the classes and workshops, but at times it gets a little weird with all of the inner politics.
Has anyone here been to the ESA retreat? I really want to go, but am a little apprehensive about it as I have never been to it.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.