The Summerlands draws up images of death and the afterlife, but organizers of a new area festival hope that Pagans attending the Summerland Spirit Festival remember it as a place to reconnect with nature and refresh their souls before heading back to the stress of daily modern life.
Summerland Spirit Festival
July 9th – 17th
Website and Registration here
Summerlands Spirit Festival (SSF) bills itself as a community retreat with a slower, more relaxed vibe than other festivals Pagans may be used to attending. “You know that almost frantic energy that you feel at other festivals? We wanted to create a festival that has intensity, yet the energy is much more soothing and calm,” says Todd Berntson, President of Summerland Spirit Festival.
Mr. Berntson says there will be workshops, merchants, and musical entertainment similar to other Pagan festivals, but SSF decided to have fewer of these activities so they don’t overlap and place stress on attendees trying to do everything at once. This also encourages attendees to explore and reconnect to the natural world. “You can go up on this hill that is covered with apple trees and watch the sun rise. Or sit on a large boulder placed in the middle of the creek and meditate while the water rushes by. There are trails through the woods and I’ve seen herds of deer there,” says Berntson. “This is a beautiful place.”
That place is a large tract of privately owned land in Wisconsin about 1.5 hours away from the Twin Cities. The owner of the land is pleased to host this festival and is working with the board of SSF to get the land and facilities ready in time. Berntson says the bathhouse and flush toilets are clean and plentiful. The dining hall is a remodeled old stone barn that has a fireplace large enough for bench seats inside it. There are intertubes available to ride down the creek on. Meals are provided if you choose the meal plan. “We wanted to provide the meals so that would be one less thing for people to worry about, one less chore that takes up their time. We want people to come here and relax,” notes Berntson. “This is more of a pampering spiritual retreat where you submerge yourself in nature.”