A Guide to Pagan Camping

A Guide to Pagan Camping:
Festival Tips, Tricks and Trappings
Lori Drake, Rotco Media, 2011
3.5/5 Broomsticks

When festival time rolls around, this new Guide makes a great addition to your hoard. Though rough in spots, and occasionally in need of an editor, Ms. Drake’s compendium of practical advice provides a welcome addition to your festival fun.

Longtime vets of the festival circuit, Lori and her husband manage the indie music label Rotting Corpse Records. After seven years of blogging about their experiences, she realized that it was her posts about camping and festivals that attracted the most attention. Compiling and refining her observations into book form, Drake released A Guide to Pagan Camping just in time for festival season. Her effort is our gain.

Organized into two sections — “All About the Fest” and “My Fool-Proof Recipes” — Drake’s Guide features an array of topics, including perhaps the most practical part: a checklist organized into various categories. Given the disorganized manner in which many campers prepare, this section alone is almost worth the price of the book. Lori emphasizes vital items with an asterisk, and large items with bold lettering, which helps the reader prioritize for his or her needs. The following chapters cover most situations you might encounter in a Pagan-oriented festival: costs, children, vending, entertaining, etiquette, volunteer work, nudity, even casual hook-ups with new friends. Although she tends to err on the cautious side, it’s all good advice. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of drama and hardship that could’ve been avoided if the people involved had read Lori’s Guide in advance!

The second section — roughly half the book’s length — consists of camp-friendly recipes. Whether or not these 80 pages (!) are a good use of space depends literally upon your tastes. I found it a bit much, but can’t deny that I’ve already tested some of her recipes, with good results.

Like most self-published books, the Guide is uneven. Lori rambles in some spots while breezing too quickly through others. Given the complexities of festival relationships (sexual and otherwise), I would’ve liked to have seen more emphasis on these issues and a bit less about cooking. Personal interjections, parenthetical asides, and stabs at humor (some successful, others not-so-much) keep the book’s tone loose, and the amateurish cover makes the Guide seem less polished than it actually is.

However, I can recommend Drake’s Guide. It’s fun, practical, and rooted in experience, and we should reward her effort by buying a copy.

CEDAR BLAKE.


This article first appeared in Witches&Pagans #23
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