This week, I had the chance to catch up with Tara Shuttleworth, founder and organizer (along with eight other women) of the Goddess Festival.
My first question (and apparently I am not alone!) was about the name: How did she arrive at the name “Goddess Festival” and what does it say about the festival?
Tara assured me that you neither have to be female nor a pagan to come to the festival. She and her co-organizers picked the name “Goddess” because to them it evokes heart and this festival is being organized as an act of love. To Tara, a goddess is an elemental expression of compassion and nurturing, and she wants to help create a festival that will embrace and nurture the local community.
Tara is an event planner by day, and also someone who really cares about being engaged with the community. She decided to help create the Goddess Festival as a way of giving back.
“Not all of us have the money to write checks to the places and causes that we want to support,” she said. “What I have is energy. And I can use that energy to help the community and to inspire others to volunteer their energy to create a better world.”
It’s Tara’s hope that the Goddess Festival will serve two purposes: building community through an “awesome community-based festival” and raising funds for some important organizations. This year’s donation recipients are FamilyWorks, the Wallingford Community Senior Center and Savor the Sound.
The event (this Saturday, August 25th from 12-9 at Lower Woodland Park) is free and open to the public. Funds will be raised for the three community organizations through sales at the beer garden, carnival games tickets and at donation stations. The organizers have the modest goal of raising $1000 for each organization.
As Jordan noted earlier this week, last year’s festival did have some first-timer hiccups, like low attendance and competing sound systems. Tara says the sound system issues have been fully resolved. By changing locations this year, they were also able to add a beer garden, which will be located near the main stage. She’s hoping that the beer garden, plus an action-packed kiddie zone, will help boost attendance.
One challenge the Goddess Festival organizers have encountered, given last year’s low attendance and the fact that it’s a new festival, is attracting food vendors. So, don’t expect to eat much at the festival unless you bring it yourself. There will be plenty of room to spread out a picnic blanket and also grills for barbequing if you want to bring something to throw on. Then you can hit the beer garden!
The Goddess Festival lineup includes Artis the Spoonman and Reggie Miles, Annie Jantzer/Fysah, Blvd Park, Fly Moon Royalty, Diamond Drill Team and Marmalade. The evening ends with “The Dance an Ode to Bjork” which to me, is reason enough to go!
If your kids have some energy to burn or if you find yourself in need of a beer and some music on Saturday, head on over to the Goddess Festival. You’ll be supporting some worthwhile organizations and also helping support the vision of nine women who care enough about their community to organize a party for it.