So you’re going to Firefly! This guide is essential reading for every participant. This Guide will help you: prepare for the event, know what to expect when you get there, and learn what is expected of you when exiting. Make sure everyone in your group reads it before packing and leaving for the event.
If you’re looking for specific information, browse the menu below to find it.
You should read this guide well before you leave, however, you can reference it at the event (there is some cellular activity in the area). In case digital devices are unavailable or you’re unable to charge them, there will be downloadable PDFs (not yet, closer to the event) you can print at home and bring for reference: Placed Theme Camps and Art Map, Infrastructure Map, and the What/Where/When.
Firefly is held on private property in central Vermont. It’s about 2 hours north of Boston.
Terrain and Climate
The land is 90 acres of wooded mixed pine forest with some clear or sparsely wooded areas all with sloping terrain. A small stream runs through it. It could rain and be cold, wet, and muddy or be sunny, hot, and humid. The trails could be dry or choked with mud. Check weather reports for central Vermont before the event and pack accordingly. The Packing List page is a good place to start.
Directions and the address are emailed to ticketed participants approximately a week before the event. Do not post directions to any list.
Boundaries, Stream, and Sacred Spaces
Please respect the boundaries of the land and the designated sacred spaces as Firefly is taking place on privately owned land. Do not use soap or salts, of any kind, in or near the stream.
No Nudity Areas
Remain fully clothed when in view of the landowners’ neighbors. These areas includes the porta potties, the trails to the porta potties, the main field, the parking areas, and the greeter and gate stations.
Otherwise, nudity and free expression are perfectly fine throughout most of the wooded area of the event.
This is a list of Festival resources and structures to help you find your way around the event.
A Map of the Event Site and Infrastructure is located on the Map page.
The Gate and Greeter Stations
You visit these on the way into the event for ticketing, wrist bands, and important information.
There are usually Kiosks erected at the upper parking and some up the hill that will have maps and event info posted. A final map of event Infrastructure, registered art and registered theme camps is posted on the web site about a week before the event.
Coffee Kitchen Cafe
This kitchen cafe offers brewed coffee, tea, hot water, and dish washing station for your use. You are responsible for trash and any mess you create in this area. (NOT SUPPLIED: cold water, hot beverage cups, or trash cans.)
Bring your own cups to hold hot beverages and leave no trace.
Firefly participants have had a well professionally drilled. Bring a container and pump all the water you want–by hand.
There are two locations, near the upper and lower parking lots. Help maintain the porta potties and replace toilet paper (more is available at the Ranger Station) and remove trash.
There are some old outhouses on the site which are NOT available for Firefly use and they will be marked and cordoned off.
If it didn’t come from your body, it doesn’t go into the porta potties! The only exception is single ply toilet paper. No trash, napkins, tampons, or other items. These will clog up the poop-eating monster when it comes to clean, and you don’t want to see it angry.
You can pee in the woods but please not near the stream. Do NOT poop in the woods.
First Aid Station
First Aid workers provide basic first aid to event participants at the First Aid Station. In the case of a serious injury, first aid workers will be there to determine if the patient can safely be transported to a hospital via privately owned vehicle or if an EMS transport should be activated.
It is recommended for Theme camps to have basic First Aid Kits and for all campers to bring bug repellents, band aids, sun screen, over-the-counter pain medication, and any prescribed medication needed for the week.
The Main Field, Bug and Temple
The Bug and Temple are located in the Main Field. The Main Field is a quiet space between midnight and 10am. As with all shared spaces at Firefly, please talk with your neighbors if they’re participating in noisy ways which detract from your experience.
The Bug is usually interactive and one of the main draws to the field. The Bug Burn begins with a Fire Conclave (fire performances) on Friday at sunset, followed by celebratory ecstatic release of the Bug in a large fire.
The Temple is a place for reflection and remembrances. The Temple Burn begins on Saturday at sunset. Temple Burn is typically quiet and solemn, depending on the intentions of the Temple artists.
The Gnome (Volunteer) Station is where Gnomes help other participants help out at the event. They are the volunteers that help volunteers volunteer. They support the other Cores when shifts are not covered by finding a free participant or jumping in themselves. They also help find on-the-spot volunteers when non-scheduled help is needed. There will be binders of all volunteer shift sign-ups found here during the event.
Lost and Found
If you lost something, look for it at the Lost and Found. Its location should be on the event map. If you found something, drop it off at the Lost and Found.
If something is very valuable and you don’t want to leave it unattended, or if your very valuable thing isn’t in the Lost and Found, contact an Event Lead on duty or one of the LNT Core Leads.
Get clean at the steam bath.
See a bridge that is broken or a trail that has washed away. Find a Department of Public Works (DPW) volunteer for assistance. This is where they huddle when they aren’t building things.
Ice has been available the last couple of years when volunteers and donors made it happen. Stay tuned for info about Ice closer to this year’s event via Announce emails.
Sanctuary is a place for Firefly participants when they are feeling overwhelmed. Sanctuary has helped participants coping with emotional trauma, interpersonal issues, anxiety, and over-stimulation. Throughout the festival there are always two volunteers at Sanctuary and two on call. The volunteers maintain a calm space and offer non-judgmental empathetic listening.
You can always find a Ranger at the Ranger Station. There are also Rangers roaming the event. If you are lost, injured, or concerned about a safety issue (uncontrolled fire, medical concern, etc.), please speak to a Ranger. They are happy to talk with you, they know the lay of the land, have radios and can call in emergency response people. Look for khaki clothes and a laminate.
The best way to make sure a 911 call will find you is to find a Ranger. Rangers can get first aid staff to you quickly since they have radios. They have a plan in place to help outside emergency assistance find and access participants in need, in the fastest manner possible.
Firefly hires outside security staff who will be posted near the Gate. They are trained to defuse any potential physical situations that Firefly volunteers may not be comfortable handling and will only be coming into Firefly when needed. They will always be accompanied by specific event organizers.
The Open Stage
Put on a show! There will be a sign up sheet available before the event. No electricity or gear shelter provided. Go to the Open Stage page on the website for more information regarding the stage, signing up, and getting on the schedule.
Established Fire Pits
There are approximately 7 established fire pits at the event. Do not create new fire pits. All participants using the fire pits must follow the Firefly Fire Policy on the website.
- Each fire pit needs to have at least 2 gallons of water and either a shovel or bucket of dirt handy at all times
- When there is a fire lit at least one person needs to be attending it
- Burn only wood found on the ground or purchased from Central Vermont
- Do not burn trash, garbage, cardboard, paper, cigarette butts, plastic, or pressure treated wood
- Do not cut down trees for wood. The landowner does not want his land cleared of trees
- Portable fire bowls are allowed as long as they follow the Firefly Fire Policy and are elevated off the ground as not to create a burn scar
- Fireflies traditionally pass the whiskey bottle to the left around the campfire
Vermont is serious about its air quality and burning paper is against the law there. These links have lists of what you can/cannot burn and describe why burning specific materials are harmful: Backyard Burning Fact Sheet | Open Burn Pamphlet | Health Effects of Burning Various Things.
You’ll need a ticket to participate at Firefly, but not to come to Work Weekends. The most up-to-date information regarding tickets can be found in the Ticket Section of the website.
You must create a Firefly Account in order to buy a ticket. If you want to gift a ticket to another participant that person needs to create an account as well. One ticket per one account.
When announced, you must then register (using your account) to be added to a lottery. Groups of participants and families will have the option to register and added to the lottery together.
When tickets are ready for purchase, the option to purchase tickets are sent via email and the offer is good for approximately a week. All tickets are will-call and are to be picked up at the Gate. Bring your ID! Your ID is your ticket and will be matched to the ticket list at the event gate. If you do not have a government-issued ID, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NO tickets will be available for purchase at the gate. If you have not paid for a ticket or do not have a picture identification to match a name on the ticket list, you will be turned away.
Until Gate opens, if you purchased your ticket and find out you can’t make it, you can sign in to your account and return it for a full refund–someone on the waitlist will be happy you did!
Find out how to create an account and to hear about the most up-to-date information regarding tickets can be found in the Ticket Section of the website.
Minors are welcomed at Firefly. Children 11 and older require a ticket. Children 10 and below do not need a ticket and do not require registration. All minors under 18 years need to arrive to the event with a parent or guardian.
Firefly is not necessarily a child friendly event: guardians will need to work with their children about what is appropriate to see and do, since since some events might not be suited for your child’s participation. If you bring children, please act in a safe and responsible manner, and keep aware of where they are. There are camps and events where children are specifically asked to not participate.
Fireﬂy is whatever all the participants make it: kids’ involvement in projects and events is a valued tradition at Firefly.
Pets and Service Animals
Pets are not allowed at Firefly. Ensure the safety and well-being of your pet and the other Firefly participants by not bringing your pet. Firefly takes place in a (sometimes) unforgiving physical environment. You will be asked to leave if you arrive with a pet.
ADA certified service animals are the only type of animal permitted at Firefly. For details regarding service animals please refer to the Policies page of the website.
How to Contribute
Get involved—this is your festival! There is lots of planning, creativity, and effort to make Firefly happen.
Volunteer, Bring Art, Lead
The Firefly event is run by volunteers. The Firefly Board hosts the festival and the Festival Leads supports the Cluster Leads who support the Core Leads who run a Core. Firefly won’t happen without all that support. Check out our Open Leadership, Volunteer Core, Art at Firefly, and Theme Camp pages on the website for more information on all the stuff that gets done, who does it, and how you can too.
The week you’re are at the event, and you have some time, offer help to those who look like they could use a hand!
Everyone that you see working to make this event happen is a volunteer (even the Board of Directors). They started out just asking what needed to be done, please don’t be afraid to help out or ask what needs to be done.
Take care of each other! Help each other along the path. Don’t wait to be asked: volunteer! You might make a new friend.
Town Hall Meeting
Every Spring Firefly hosts a Town Hall Meeting in the Boston area where newbies and veterans alike can find out how to help make Firefly happen. Meet Firefly core leads and hear about all the volunteer possibilities. Be sure to add yourself to the Announce email list to find out the date and location of the next Town Hall Meeting.
Work Weekends are where we pick up the chainsaws and shovels and do the infrastructure projects needed to make Firefly happen. They are also used for Art placement and Theme Camp placement, Bug building, Temple building, and some preliminary Theme Camp preparation.
You need to sign up for each Work Weekend you plan to attend.
For the most up-to-date information, logistics, and how to sign up for a Work Weekend, go to the Work Weekend page on the website.
Event Volunteer Shifts
Volunteer shifts at Firefly is the best way to meet new people and learn new things. Go to the Volunteer page to learn more.
When you sign up for shifts in the Spring, do not forget to put the day, time, and shift in your calendar. That way you will remember in July where to go and at what day and time.
If you are a night owl, do not sign up for volunteer shifts in the morning. If you are a morning person, do not volunteer for a midnight shift.
If you sign up for a shift before the event begins and you can’t make it, be sure to sign into your Firefly account and make those changes to the Volunteer Schedule Grids so others can sign up.
If you are at the event and you can’t remember or find your schedule, go to the Gnome Station and there will be printed out binders with sign up grids to help you find your shifts.
Bringing and Supporting Art
Firefly supports the community by offering all kinds of Art Grants. Grant recipients are guaranteed to be able to purchase a ticket and the art has a reserved spot on the Art Truck. Grant recipients are always in need of help setting up at the event and the Art Truck needs volunteers to help load, unload, and have moop sweeps done.
Bug and Temple
The Bug and Temple are built before the event during the Work Weekends and are always in need of help getting built, and set up for the event.
The Bug Burn begins with a Fire Conclave (fire performances) and begins on Friday at sunset. More information on performing at the Conclave go to the Fire Policy page.
The Art Truck leaves the Boston Area before the event and is available for Grant Recipients and Bus Riders. The Art Truck is always in need of drivers, loading and unloading, and moop sweeps. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Theme Camps and Art
Some Firefly participants share resources and create a Theme Camp. Some people camp alone. They bring art, host performances, feasts, events, and workshops. Heck, one person can have a theme camp. There are few rules regarding who can call their camp a theme camp and who can post events in the What/Where/When. If you don’t want to reserve a campsite, a place for your art, or be on the map, just show up at the beginning of the event and avoid any ribboned off areas when searching for a campsite.
Performances and the Open Stage
Firefly has an Open Stage available for your performances. Anyone can book it to host events. Go to the Open Stage page for more information.
Placement and Map for Theme Camps and Art
The What/Where/When (WWW) is a list of events, workshops, activities, performances, artwork, etc. that happen during the event. Submissions and postings usually start the month before the event. Stay tuned to Announcements Emails for updates.
You can learn more on how to post one of your events on the WWW on the What/Where/When page of the website.
The WWW is posted on line in digital and printable form. It has been hung on kiosks in previous events.
Firefly allows and encourages Fire Art. Fire Art is comprised of Open Fire, Burnable Art, and Flame Effects. (Pyrotechnics are NOT permitted at the event.)
If you plan on bringing Fire Art to Firefly you must read the Fire Safety Guidelines and register with Fire Safety Core and Register your art for Placement. You must register with Fire Core BEFORE registering with Placement.
The mission of the Fire Core is to provide support for artists, both before the event and on-site, and to ensure the safe use of fire and flame effects at Firefly. For more information about Fire Art at Firefly and how to register your fire art go to the Fire Core page on the website.
Before operation, your Fire Art must be inspected by FAST (Fire Art Safety Team) who are Fire Core Volunteers that include artists, fire safety volunteers, and people with professional experience. They will assist you in the safe execution of Fire Art.
Fire spinning and performances involving fire are welcome at Firefly! Fire spinning should happen in an adequate clearing, and only at approved spinning areas. If you spin, please make sure you are familiar with the Fire Safety Guidelines.
Please do not interfere with spinners. Give them space to perform.
If you wish to be a part of the Fire Conclave before the Bug Burn, there are two brief fire safety meetings held during the event. Anyone wishing to perform in the fire conclave prior to the Bug Burn must attend one of these fire safety meetings and check-in with the Fire Core. The fire safety meetings’ day, time, and location will be announced closer to the start of the event.
We are also looking for a few volunteers to be fire safeties during the burns. All are welcome, no previous experience required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sound and Electricity
Plan on providing your own power. Please talk to us about noise issues if you plan to have a generator or large scale sound. For large sound camps or any questions pertaining to sound, contact email@example.com. If you are not sure how loud you are, ask the rangers for help to check with the sound meter.
The main field is a quiet space between midnight and 10am.
If you plan to bring amplified sound louder than a boom box, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loud events (dance parties, drum circles, primal scream flash mobs) and noisy art (fire poofers) fall under these policies and Guidelines:
- Be aware of specific sound requirements, which vary year to year
- No amplified sound in Quiet Designated areas
- Be aware that amplified sound may be banned for certain days, hours, or locations
- Art and theme camp placements are informed by sound considerations, or history of the camp
- Art and theme camp speakers are assigned to point towards a designated compass coordinate, which varies by campsites
- Sound core may visit neighboring areas to check sound levels as heard from outside
- There are immediate and/or planned responses to sound complaints
- Sound core may ask you to adjust your sound, turn it down, or turn it off
- Gear Storage for Musicians is not provided
- We do encourage you to bring your creativity (and your instruments). There usually is at least one camp with a live sound stage. Make friends, and prepare to protect your own musical investments
Be aware that failure to comply with these requests and policies can now result in immediate ejection of the individual or the camp from the event. In order to keep Firefly at the current location the neighbors have to be happy. Noise issues have been the biggest complaint in previous years.
Arrival and Exodus
Learn how to travel, where to go, and what to do, and what to expect when you arrive to the event.
Learn what to expect and what is expected of all participants at the end of the event.
The event begins on Tuesday at noon and ends Sunday at noon.
Everyone will have their identification checked against the ticket list when arriving at the Gate. You will receive a Firefly wristband to wear throughout the event. A different color wristband is used for participants under age 21.
You can pick up a red NO PHOTOGRAPHY wristband at the Gate if you don’t want photographs taken of yourself during the event. (Photography Guidelines are outlined in Code of Conduct section of this guide.)
When you arrive, after a few minutes checking in at Gate you’ll head to the Greeter Station. All arrivals, car or bus or bike, should stop by the Greeter Station for an introduction and important info.
Arriving during daylight hours is highly encouraged—finding and clearing a campsite in the dark can be tricky. You can not camp in your car overnight.
No re-entry for shopping from noon Tuesday to noon Sunday. If you leave the Firefly event, you will not be re-admitted. Be prepared with enough water, food, and supplies for the duration of the event. If you forget something, ask a friendly Firefly if they can help you out.
If you have an emergency and need to leave site temporarily, talk to a Gate Lead and they will work with you. Exceptions to the no re-entry policy require approval. Find a Gate Lead or email email@example.com if you know you will need to leave temporarily before the event.
Arriving by Car
If you’re driving a car full of people make sure that they have purchased a ticket and they have their identifications on them before you leave for Vermont. The whole car will be turned away if one of you does not have an ID or is not on the Ticket List.
When you arrive at Firefly please pull immediately off the road into the gate queue. Do not block the road. This is a serious issue as we do not want to block any public roads. The neighbors do not like this, and we respect that.
After you have gone through the gate process of IDs, ticket lists, parking passes, and wrist bands, you need to be properly welcomed by the Greeters. When given the word, you may proceed to unload your gear, park, and find a camping place.
There is limited parking at Firefly. Each car will be charged for a parking pass to encourage car pooling. Parking passes go on sale when event tickets go on sale. Parking passes are also sold on site (cash only) but at a higher price than if purchased on line.
Your car might be parked away from the event so you might need to drop off gear at a drop off zone at the gate or upper parking. You will be shown where to park you car off site, and then you will be shuttled from the off site parking lot back to the event.
Be prepared to haul your gear up the hill to your camp site by hand. You can bring a dolly or cart (bungee cords are useful to hold things down). If you have extra carts, please bring them and put your name and camp name on them so they can find you after arrival.
Read Everything about transportation options, car pooling, and parking on our Getting There page on the website.
Arriving by Bus
Bus service and gear transport is available from the Boston area.
***Your bus ticket includes water and your gear will be brought up the hill to designated drop off zones.***
Bus passengers will be allowed to bring three large suitcases plus a day bag.
Go to the Getting There page on the website for more information on how to purchase bus tickets, departure times, Boston locations of pick up, and other bus perks.
If you plan on being on site before Tuesday at noon, you must be approved before you arrive. Stay tuned, closer to the event, to the Getting There page for when Early Arrival Applications are being accepted. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Early Arrival begins at noon on Monday. Early Arrival approved volunteers (early arrival shift volunteers, art builders, and theme camp builders) may enter then. Make sure to visit the Gate for your wrist band.
If you were not granted permission for early arrival, please do not come to the site before noon on Tuesday. You will not be let in.
A very limited number of AWD/4WD/high ground clearance vehicles may be given access to drive up the trail into the event to unload gear during the Early Arrival and Exodus periods. To apply for vehicle access please go to the Transport page for more information. Only high ground clearance vehicles will be considered for trail access. Vehicle access to enter/exit the woods during Early Arrival and Exodus is managed by GTFO.
No vehicles will be able to use the trail after 11am on Tuesday. NO vehicles, except DPW vehicles, will be allowed on the trails during the event.
- Please be packed and able to leave by 3pm on Sunday
- Shuttles to off site parking will begin on Sunday after 12pm
- All Buses leave no later 3:30pm on Sunday
Do a moop sweep after all your gear has been removed from your camp site. After you remove your gear, scatter brush and tree limbs to make your camp disappear. Moop sweep around your car and where your gear piles were.
MOOP is matter out of place. Moop sweeps are defined in the LNT section of this guide.
A very limited number of GTFO registered vehicles may be able to drive up the trail into the event to load gear during the Exodus period. To apply for access go to the Transport page on our website for details. Only AWD/4WD with high ground clearance will be considered for trail access.
In previous years there has been a food drive drop off area for the local town. It is usually set up in Upper Parking at the end of the event. They DO NOT accept water, perishables, or opened food containers. If there isn’t a Food Drive drop off area this year, DO NOT leave anything behind.
After the Event
Only those who signed up to help with the Leave No Trace Core (LNT Core) may remain on the land past sunset on Sunday.
If you wish to learn more about how to volunteer for the Leave No Trace Team and help break down infrastructure and doing the final moop sweeps please go to our Volunteer Core section of the website.
You will be turned away at the gate if you bring: fireworks, firearms, wood from areas outside of Central Vermont, hand held lasers, and animals.
Do NOT bring tiki torches, candles, feathers, sequins, confetti, moopy art, moopy clothes, and moopy decorations.
There is no vending, no sleeping in your car, no trash dumping, no food waste dumping, and NO pooping in the woods or urinating near/in the stream. Please respect the no nudity designated areas.
Traditions and Behavior
Before committing to participating in our annual July event, learn about Firefly’s traditions, values, and culture.
Culture and Values
Firefly is an arts festival inspired by the Ten Principles of Burning Man. We are a community of makers and free thinkers putting on a DIY weird, art party. We value free expression and community involvement.
Firefly’s mission and tradition is to foster a collaborative environment and community for participatory arts, encouraging people to express their creativity, and challenging them to extend their concept of both community and art.
Code of Conduct
All events organized by Firefly Arts Collective are run within a Code of Conduct that each participant is expected to follow. While we value self expression, that does not include harming your neighbors. We as a community do not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual violence and expect participants to be able to communicate about consent and to respect each others’ boundaries.
- Participants are responsible for their own behavior and resolving their own issues at all events organized by Firefly Arts Collective
- Firefly Arts Collective strongly suggests behaving in a manner that does not make other participants feel unsafe or threatened
- Firefly Arts Collective will not condone any behavior that endangers its ability to hold the annual festival and other community events
To learn about our Conduct Committee, report incidents, and how incidents are investigated go to our Conduct Committee Policies page on the website.
Photography and Recordings
If you plan on taking photographs or other type of recordings there are Photography and Recording Guidelines for review on our website. Here is a summary:
- Do not take pictures or videos in or near areas with “No Photography” signs
- Do not photograph participants wearing “No Photography” wristbands without getting explicit consent
- When in doubt, ask before photographing anyone
- Identify and inform people who are pictured before posting photos or videos of them on social media
- Remove or delete pictures of participants if they request you do so
Leave No Trace (LNT)
Firefly is a Leave No Trace event. WE DO NOT SUPPLY trash service, trash bins, dumpsters, or a trash team.
Everything you bring to Firefly needs to go with you when you leave the event.
- Pack your own trash bags and take all your trash with you
- Throw out unnecessary packaging while packing for the event
- Bring your own reusable beverage container, dishes, and eating utensils
- Offer to take a bag of excess Firefly trash or recycling with you at exodus
- Do not burn trash and food waste in the fire pits. Keep paper, cardboard, trash, and cigarettes out of the Firefly fire pits
- Carry a moop bag (a small bag for trash on your person) during the event for a place for moop
- Don’t leave your trash at other camp sites or communal areas
- If you smoke, carry a tin for ashes and butts
- Respect the porta potties and don’t put trash, of any kind, in them
- Firefly organizers cannot accept donations of leftover food, supplies, or water
The seven principles of Leave No Trace can be found at the Leave No Trace website.
Moop is: Matter Out of Place. If it didn’t originate in the woods, it doesn’t belong there. Pick it up and take it home with you.
LNT Moop Sweeps
All week long and right before you leave, make time to do moop sweeps of your campsite and areas you frequented during the event. Look up at trees for ropes, ribbon, clothes, and check under pine needles for moop.
There is ample room to pitch a tent and camp out. Please respect the boundaries of the site.
There are open camping areas and designated theme camp areas as well as areas put aside for quite camping.
Finding a Camp Site
- There is NO sleeping in your car overnight
- Look for the open camping areas on the map located on the kiosks
- Avoid areas marked off with ribbon—they are either sacred spaces, or reserved for theme camps, or infrastructure
- Arrive during daylight hours—finding a campsite in the dark can be tricky
- Camping is not allowed in the main field
- Do not set up camp in trails and paths
- Be aware camping sites may be a 5 to 15 minute walk from the porta potties and parking lots
If for some reason you are unable to camp in the woods (e.g. health reasons), email email@example.com so other arrangements can be made.
Lighting and Trail Lighting
The best camp is one you can find your way back to at night. Light up your site and smaller trails near your site. Fireflies are known to stay up all night wandering the woods with eyes half-blinded by the many glowy wonders. You may want to mark trails and entrances to your camp with glow-sticks or glow-in-the-dark art.
Most of the major trails are lit at night by the volunteers for DPW. It’s up to the rest of participants to light up the rest of the trails. Some folks get creative and bring back their trail light art year after year. NO tiki torches or candles allowed! Electricity is not provided. Bring extra batteries. Solar lamps work but sometimes it’s too dark in the tree covered woods to fully charge them.
Head lamps are nice to bring. Keep it in your pocket or dangling from a belt loop when wandering around. You don’t have to keep it on your head (since it blinds other Fireflies). Some of them come with a red, low light mode that you can use when walking around if preferred. Head lamps are essential for hands free porta pottie visits or when you have to rummage through dark tents for lost items.
If you set up any art or structures that someone could trip on, crash into, or be clothes lined by, it is very important to light them up or take them down at night. Be creative with it!
Shelter and Weather
The ground at the Firefly site contains clay, so water often collects or flows along the surface before being absorbed. Before you set up, take a close look at your site and think about how it will drain. Choosing the right place for your tent and camp will help you avoid waking up or dancing in a puddle. Ground that is completely cleared of leaves and brush is more likely to erode and turn to mud.
Portable canopies are useful and it is possible to cover large clearings, with tarps, hung from trees. Use the Blink discussion list or the Facebook Group page to learn more from our community’s many self-made tarp experts.
Firefly happens rain or shine. Check the weather report for Central Vermont before you leave and pack accordingly. It almost always rains during Firefly, which means trails and roads can get muddy so bring boots and dry socks. It can get cold at night so bring insulating padding to sleep on. Bring sun screen, sun hats, and umbrellas for the field and when going to the porta potties.
You will still have more fun if you are prepared and Radical Self Reliance is the bomb. See the Packing Lists page to help you survive.
You must bring your own water. One to two gallons per person per day is recommended. You’ll need water to drink, wash dishes, and bathe with.
Water is included with Bus Tickets and are brought to drop off locations up the hill.*** Bus passengers will receive a plastic 1-gallon reusable container to use at new for 2019 community funded well.
There is a small stream running through the site, but it may be only a trickle if it’s a dry year. Do NOT use soap or shampoo in or near any body of water. Even Dr. Bronners and other “biodegradable” soaps are NOT ACCEPTABLE. When using any kind of soap, wash and rinse at least 100 feet from the stream. That includes bodies and dishes.
You can bathe using a sun shower: they hold 5 gallons, which is sufficient for 2 – 3 showers. If using soap stay 100 feet away from the stream. Wet-wipes can be used but buy the fragrance free ones or you will smell like a baby all week.
Bugs and Ticks
It’s the Vermont woods in July—there will be bugs and ticks. Be prepared with punks, bug repellent, garlic, or whatever other repellent method you prefer. Clothing is optional when wandering the wooded part of the site, but, wearing clothes help keep down the chances of getting ticks and therefore contracting tick born illnesses. Check daily for ticks.
Food and Cooking
- You will need to bring enough food for yourself. There is no event re-entry for shopping or picking up take-out
- You can bring gas stoves to cook your food
- Charcoal grills are not recommended since you need to take the ash with you at the end of the event
- You can cook in established fire pits but these need to be supervised when lit so it isn’t guaranteed that you can find a lit fire when you’re hungry. Do not make new fire pits
- As in previous years, coffee, tea, and hot water will be provided by a crew of dedicated volunteers in the Kitchen Cafe. Bring your own hot beverage cup
- Carry your cup and a spork while wandering around! You never know when a generous Firefly may want to fill you up with something yummy
- Animals don’t care for techno, folk, or metal, but in case they are overcome with hunger, keep all of your food outside of your tent, inside animal proof containers, or hung from a tree
Ice for your coolers and cold beverages have been available in previous years by Ice Hole volunteers and donors. Pay attention to the Announce List emails on how to volunteer and donate to Ice Hole.
Gear, Clothing, and Costumes
You must bring your own tent, sleeping bag, insulating padding or a cot to sleep on (the ground is cold even in the summer time) and general camping gear. The ground is sloped and lumpy. If you have never camped in the woods in New England, ask around for advice.
Bring a variety of clothes and footwear for different weather conditions: galoshes, boots, lots of dry socks, an umbrella for trips to porta potty, sun hat, warm hat for evenings, light weight cloths and cold weather cloths.
Make sure any clothing and costumes you bring do not have feathers, sequins, confetti, or moopy decoration.
When deciding what to pack, remember you will need to move your gear up a hill, on foot, along dirt paths that get muddy when it rains. Bring a sense of adventure and self-reliance, and if possible, bring friends who will help each other and keep a good attitude under challenging conditions.
See the Packing List for direction and recommendations.
The Last Word
Participate! Create value! Shine your light! Do your dance!
Share your Firefly vibe with those you meet! Share your art, song, healing, and vision.
Have you tried every path? There just might be a surprise!
Take care of each other! Help each other along the path.
Don’t wait to be asked: volunteer! You might make a new friend.
When and Where is Firefly
Firefly, a participatory temporary autonomous zone and arts festival, starts at noon on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 and ends at noon on Sunday, July 7, 2019. Firefly is a 6-day event!
Firefly will be held on private property in central Vermont — about 2 hours north of Boston. The land is 90 acres of wooded mixed pine forest and sloping terrain with some clear and sparsely wooded areas.
Maps of the site will be posted on kiosks around Firefly and posted on this website for printing. Please respect the boundaries of the land and the designated sacred spaces as Firefly is taking place on privately owned land. Camping is not allowed in the main field — head into the woods to make your campsite. Please remain fully clothed when in view of the neighbors — this includes when visiting the porta-potties and in the main field. The main field is a quiet space after midnight.
Directions to the Site
Directions will be emailed to ticket buyers. Please do not post directions to any list.
Arrival and Tickets
All tickets are will-call to be picked up at the gate. Bring your ID! Your ID is your ticket to your ticket. More details about ticketing is available here.
NO tickets will be available for purchase at the gate. All participants (over the age of 10) must have purchased a ticket to be admitted. If you have not paid for a ticket, sadly, you will be turned away at the gate.
Bring your ID! When you arrive, Gate volunteers will check your ID against the ticket list to find your name and give you a snazzy Firefly wristband. People who do not have an ID or whose name is not on the ticket list will be turned away, so if you’re driving a car full of people, make sure they have their IDs (and that they signed up and paid)!
Arriving during daylight hours is highly encouraged — finding and clearing a campsite in the dark can be tricky. Volunteers, builders, and theme camps may enter between Monday noon and Tuesday noon by permission only. If you were not granted permission for early arrival, please do not come to the site before noon on Tuesday.
Important: When you arrive at Firefly please pull immediately off the road into the gate queue. Do not block the road at any time, for any reason — even for a moment. This is a serious issue for us, as we do not want to block any public roads. The neighbors tend not to like this, and we respect that.
Rideshares, Bus, Arriving by Car, and Parking
When you arrive, plan to spend a few minutes at the gate and then being greeted. After you have been properly welcomed and given the word, you may proceed to park, unload your gear, and find a camping place.
If you leave the Firefly event for any reason, you will not be re-admitted. Be prepared with enough water, food, and supplies for your needs for the duration of the event. If you forget something, ask a friendly fellow Firefly!
Early arrival is noon on Monday, July 2nd through Tuesday, July 3rd at noon. If you plan on being on site before Tuesday at noon, you must be approved. Please fill out the Early Arrival Application, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
A very limited number of vehicles may be able to drive up the trail into the event to unload gear during the Early Arrival period. To apply for access please fill out the GTFO Vehicle Access Form. Only AWD/4WD with high ground clearance will be considered for trail access. Be prepared to transfer your gear to a different vehicle, or to haul your gear up the trail with a dolly or cart. (If you have extra carts, please bring them!) Vehicle procedures to enter/exit the woods during EA is managed by GTFO – full info is here.
No vehicles will be able to use the trail after 11am on Tuesday — absolutely NO vehicles will be allowed on the event site or up the trail during the event.
Firefly ends Sunday, July 7th at noon. Please be packed up and able to leave by 3pm Sunday. Remember that everything brought up to the site has to brought back out on Sunday.
A very limited number of vehicles may be able to drive up the trail into the event to load gear during the Exodus period. To apply for access please fill out the GTFO Vehicle Access Form. Only AWD/4WD with high ground clearance will be considered for trail access. Vehicle procedures to enter/exit the woods during Exodus is managed by GTFO – full info is here.
Please take all your trash with you — Firefly is a Leave No Trace event — there is no trash service or trash team — pack it in, pack it out.
Make time to do a sweep of your campsite and areas you frequented before you leave Sunday afternoon.
Only those who signed up to help with Leave No Trace Core (LNT) may remain on the land past 3pm on Sunday, if you wish to volunteer for the Leave No Trace Team (doing the very last sweeps to make sure we leave the land the way we found it or better) please go to our Join A Core Page.
How Can I Contribute?
Get involved in Firefly–this is your festival! If you have an event you’d like to run, an installation to build, or a hand to lend than get in touch.
Volunteering before, during, and after the event is strongly encouraged and greatly appreciated. Volunteers are still needed so please check out the Join A Core page and find out how you can get involved.
If you have some time to spare and an able body at the event there will still be plenty of ways to help: organize a crack team to haul wood out of the woods to communal fire pits, check the kitchen area to see if coffee and tea need to be made, offer help to those who look like they could use a hand! Everyone that you see working to make this event happen is a volunteer too (even the Board Of Directors)! They started out just asking what needed to be done, please don’t be afraid to help out or ask what needs to be done!
Publicizing Your Events
The “What/Where/When” Guide will be posted around Firefly to help promote events, workshops, activities, music line-ups, artwork, etc. Info on submitting events to the 2019 Guide will be up soon.
Firefly is a Leave No Trace event
What does that mean? It means that all participants should respect the wildlife and environment where Firefly is happening.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Leave packaging at home. Take EVERYTHING home with you.
- Pick up litter as you go.
- Take an extra bag of trash or recycling home with you.
- Naturalize! After you pack up to leave, scatter brush and tree limbs to make your camp disappear.
- BUTTS… If you smoke, please use a film canister or other container.
- Respect the potties–don’t put trash of any kind in them.
- All fires must be in approved fire pits; personal ground fires are not allowed. Burn only clean, natural wood in the fire pits. Keep trash out of the fire pits. Please do not cut down any trees for wood, as much as this seems like a good idea at the time. Freshly cut wood burns poorly and the landowner is quite happy where the trees are (in the ground).
The seven official principles of the Leave No Trace outdoor ethic are as follows:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly (which does not mean putting it in a random dumpster)
- Leave What You Find (unless it’s escaped trash, then by all means find it a nice home!)
- Minimize Campfire Impacts (ground fires can only be in the fire pits)
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
More information related to these seven principles can be found at the Leave No Trace website.
Unlike many commercial festivals, there is no trash crew. Take your trash home and plan on taking a small bag of excess Firefly trash or recycling as well. Bonus points for taking extra.
A few good rules that minimize overall waste are:
- Think ahead: leave unnecessary packaging at home.
- Keep paper, cardboard, trash, and cigarettes out of the Firefly fire pits. Take it home with you. Recycle it if you can!
- Bring your own reusable beverage container.
- Bring reusable/washable dishware and eating utensils. These will not be provided.
- Don’t forget to bring trash bags!
- Firefly organizers cannot take care of extra trash or accept donations of leftover food supplies – they would need to bring them home in their own vehicles, which are just as packed as yours.
Bring water for drinking, cooking, cleaning. A gallon per day should suffice unless you are watering plants as well. If you like water, bring more. There is a small stream, but it may be a only a trickle at Firefly (ah, the vagaries of nature), so if you wish to bathe, you may explore the possibilities provided below. If you splash around in the stream, please do not use any soap or detergent products — including biodegradable or natural soaps.
Other ways of getting clean include:
- Bringing a sun-shower: they hold 5 gallons, which is sufficient for 2-3 showers
- Bringing extra water for a bottle-shower
- Bringing wet-wipes
- As in previous years, coffee, tea, and hot water will be provided by a crew of dedicated volunteers in the communal kitchen. Bring your own cup. Volunteer for a shift making coffee and tea: email@example.com
- You will need to provide enough food for yourself and your friends. Plan to potluck — bring extra food to share.
- Bears don’t care for techno, folk, or metal, but in case they are overcome with hunger, keep all of your food outside of your tent; hang it in a tree — don’t become a tent burrito!
- A communal cooking area and dish washing station will be available. You can eat, cook, and share food there, but you are still responsible for trash created in this area, and you’ll need to bring your own stove.
- Cooking is also allowed at campsites; please use camp stoves and do not make fire pits.
- Carry your cup! You never know when a generous Firefly may want to fill it with something.
- Please take all leftover food and water home with you.
Weather happens. Firefly happens rain or shine. It almost always rains during Firefly, which means trails and roads can get muddy, and it can get cold at night. You will still have a lot of fun if you are prepared:
- Bring a variety of clothes and footwear for different weather conditions. (More info on clothes below.)
- Plan your camp to survive the rain. (More info on camps below.)
- Bring sun protection, sunburn is a common occurrence at Firefly.
- When deciding what to bring with you, remember you will need to move your gear on foot.
- Bring a sense of adventure and self-reliance, and if possible, bring friends who will help each other out and keep a good attitude under challenging conditions.
There will be bugs and ticks. Be prepared with punks, bug repellent, garlic, or whatever other repellent method you prefer.
Bodies of Water
There is a small stream. Please, do NOT use soap or shampoo in any body of water. No, even Dr. Bronners and other “biodegradable” soaps are NOT ACCEPTABLE. If you must use biodegradable soap, please use as LITTLE as possible AND wash/rinse at least 100 feet from any water source.
Firefly allows and encourages Fire Art. Fire Art is comprised of Open Fire/Burnable Art, Flame Effects and Pyrotechnics. Although Pyrotechnics are also included in Fire Art, Pyrotechnics are NOT permitted at the event.
The mission of the Fire Core is to provide experienced support for artists both pre-event and on-site, and to ensure the safe use of fire and flame effects at Firefly. Your Fire Art must be approved by Fire Core prior to placement and Firefly. Before operation your Fire Art must be inspected by FAST (Fire Art Safety Team) who are Fire Core Volunteers that include artists, fire safety volunteers, and people with professional experience. They will assist you in the safe execution of Fire Art.
Ground fires are not permitted in the camping areas except in the established fire pits. Burn only wood from the forest in the campfires. No plastic, cardboard, paper, pressure-treated wood, or anything else. Vermont is very serious about its air quality and burning paper is actually against the law there. These flyers have lists of what you can/cannot burn, and describe why burning specific materials are harmful: Backyard Burning Fact Sheet | Open Burn Pamphlet | Health Effects of Burning Various Things
Fire Pits: For all the camps with approved fire pits (please do not create any more fire pits, the number of fire pits is at max capacity) please follow these guidelines to keep Firefly and the land safe:
- Fires need to be in a fire pit, surrounded by rocks and free of roots (root fires will put a damper on the event).
- Clear at least 5 feet back from the fire pit of brush, leaves, and pine needles so sparks have nothing to jump to.
- Each fire pit is to have at least 2 gallons of water and either a shovel or bucket of dirt handy at all times.
- When there is a fire, at least one sober person needs to be supervising it.
- If you see any unattended fire, please extinguish it or flag down a friendly ranger to help.
- All fires must be out and cold by noon on Sunday as that is when the event ends.
Fire spinning and performances involving fire are welcome at Firefly! Fire spinning should happen in an adequate clearing, and only at approved spinning areas. If you spin, please make sure you are familiar with these fire safety guidelines, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do not interfere with spinners… give them space to perform.
If you wish to be a part of the Fire Conclave before the BUG Burn there will be two brief fire safety meetings held during the event. Love & Lion’s Den: Thursday, 12-1pm and Diode: Friday 1-2pm. Anyone wishing to perform with fire as part of the fire conclave prior to the burning of the BUG (Friday night) must attend one of these fire safety meetings, and check-in with the Fire Core. We are also looking for a few volunteers to be fire safeties during the burns. All are welcome, no previous experience required.
If you plan to sleep, there is ample room to pitch a tent and camp out. Please do not camp in the main field. Depending on where you choose to camp, you may be a 5-15 minute walk from the main clearings and road. You must bring your own tent and sleeping bag. If for some reason you are unable to camp (e.g. health reasons), please email email@example.com so other arrangements can be made. Sleeping in your car/RV/VW is not permitted — the parking lot is only for parking vehicles.
You’ll have more fun if you plan your camp to be safe and to survive the weather:
- It is possible to shelter large clearings with tarps hung from trees. Use the discussion lists to learn more from our community’s many self-made tarp experts.
- The ground at the Firefly site contains clay, so water often collects or flows along the surface before being absorbed. Before you set up, take a close look at your site and think about how it will drain. Choosing the right place for your tent will help you avoid waking up in a puddle.
- Ground that is completely cleared of leaves and brush is more likely to erode and turn to mud under rain and feet. Don’t clear an area completely to soil — leave the leaves as padding.
- The best camp is one you can find your way back to day or night. A volunteer crew will mark the main trails at Firefly, but you may want to take responsibility for marking smaller trails near your site. If you notice trails turning to mud-puddles in the rain, do your best to fill or reinforce them with brush.
- Fireflies are known to stay up all night, wandering the woods with eyes half-blinded by the many glowy wonders. You may want to mark trails and entrances to your camp with glow-sticks or glow-in-the-dark art. If you set up any art or structures that someone could trip on, crash into, or be clotheslined by, it is very important to light them up or take them down at night. Be creative with it!
Clothing and Gear
Water: You must bring your own water. You’ll need water to drink, cook with, wash dishes, and possibly bathe (if you’re into that). One to two gallons per person per day is recommended.
Port-a-loos: There will be rented port-a-loos down by both parking lots. There are some old outhouses on the site which are NOT available for Firefly use — they will be marked and cordoned off.
When using the port-a-loos please remember, if it didn’t come from your body, it doesn’t go into the port-a-loos! The only exception is single-ply toilet paper. Please no trash, napkins, or other items, these will clog up the trucks when they come to clean the port-a-loos. If you’ve ever met the horrible gurgling poop-sucking monster when it arrives at dawn to feed, you’ll know you don’t want to make it unhappy! This could lead to overflowing port-a-loos, shit monsters, or even loss of sanitary facilities completely–the kind of “interesting” situations which don’t lead to happy memories. Use the provided hand wash/sanitizer to stay healthy. Help maintain the potties — replace toilet paper (more is available at the Ranger Station) and remove trash.
Sound and Electricity
Plan on providing your own power. Please talk to us about noise issues if you plan to have a generator or large scale sound. For large sound camps or any questions pertaining to sound, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not sure how loud you are, ask the rangers for help to check with the sound meter.
Gear Storage for Musicians is not provided
We do encourage you to bring your creativity (and your instruments). There usually is at least one camp with a live sound stage, make friends, and prepare to protect your own musical investments.
Children at Firefly
Children and minors are welcomed at Firefly. Children 10 and below do not need a ticket and do not require registration. Anyone under 18 years of age must arrive at Firefly accompanied by their legal guardian.
Firefly is not necessarily a child friendly event: guardians will need to work with their children about what is appropriate to see and do. If you bring children, please act in a safe and responsible manner, and keep aware of where they are. There are camps and events where children are specifically asked to not participate.
Firefly is whatever all participants make it, kids make awesome projects and events!
If you are lost, injured, or concerned about a safety issue (uncontrolled fire, medical concern), please speak to a friendly Ranger. Rangers are happy to talk with you, know the lay of the land, have radios, and can call in our emergency response people. Look for khaki clothes and a laminate.
The fastest way to get 911 help is to find a Ranger and tell them what the emergency is. Rangers can get on-site first aid staff there quickly, and have a plan to help outside emergency assistance find and access participants in need, in the fastest manner possible.
At the Ranger HQ in the woods you can always find a Ranger. There are also Rangers roaming the event.
If you have a MURS Radio you can also reach a Ranger on Channel 1.
Firefly First Aid volunteers provide basic first aid to event participants. However, in the case of a serious injury, first aid volunteers work with the First Aid Lead and Ranger Lead to determine if the patient can safely be transported to a hospital via POV (privately-owned vehicle), or if EMS Transport should be activated.
First Aid volunteers can be found at Ranger HQ in the woods or flag down a Ranger and they can contact a First Aid Volunteer for you.
Sanctuary is a safe space where the citizens of Firefly can seek an outlet or assistance with emotional trauma. This could include issues at Firefly, home, work, assaults, personal relationships, and the like. It’s different than sharing with your campmates, because let’s face it, there are some things you can’t even share with them. We are here to provide non-judgmental support and available assistance.
You can find Sanctuary near the entrance to the woods at the top of the field.
Pets are not allowed at Firefly. Ensure the safety and well-being of your pet and the other Firefly participants by not bringing your pet to the woods. Firefly takes place in a sometimes unforgiving physical environment for humans and animals alike. You will be asked to leave if you arrive with a pet.
Service Animals are the only type of animal permitted at Firefly. For details please refer to the Policies page of the website here:
Any people that come to Firefly with unauthorized animals will be asked to leave the event.
Vending is not allowed at Firefly. Share, gift, trade!
Like the last several years, Firefly has hired a couple of outside security staff, who will be posted near Gate. They are trained to defuse any potential physical situations that Firefly volunteers may not be comfortable handling and will only be coming into Firefly when needed and accompanied by specific event organizers. They often work various Vermont festivals and concerts.
More About Tickets
Disclaimer: Use of the Firefly ticket indicates that the bearer agrees to the following terms:
- You are solely responsible for your own survival and well being, including bringing an adequate supply of water and food, as well as your own shelter.
- You agree to read and abide by all rules in the Firefly Survival Guide, and to follow federal, state, and local laws.
- You understand that the nature of the event entails certain risks and hazards; you attend solely at your own risk, and no guarantees, expressed or implied, have been made about your safety.
- Photographs, video, or sound recordings of any participants or creative work cannot be used for commercial purposes without the express permission of subjects or artists and Firefly Arts Collective, Inc.
- Commercial vending and/or advertising are prohibited.
- You agree to waive any claim or action you may have against: 1) the owners of the land upon which the event is held, 2) the organizers of the event, or volunteers at the event, 3) the sponsoring corporation, Firefly Arts Collective, Inc., or 4) any other participants, for any action taken, damage incurred, or injury sustained during the event.
The Last Word
- Drunkenness is no excuse for stupidity or disrespect.
- You have a beautiful body! So beautiful it makes the neighbors uneasy. Please remain sufficiently clothed while in plain view of the public road — this includes when visiting the porta-potties and in the main field.
- Have you tried every path? There just might be a surprise!
- Take care of each other! Help each other along the path. Don’t wait to be asked: volunteer! You might make a new friend.
- Participate! Create value! Share your art, song, healing, and vision. Shine your light! Do your dance! Share your Firefly vibe with those you meet!