This page is being updated. Last year’s Survival Guide is still below the new blocks being added.
Table of Contents
The Gate and Greeter Stations
First Aid Station
Lost and Found
Established Fire Pits
Pets and Service Animals
Arriving by Car
Arriving by Bus
Code of Conduct
Leave No Trace
Trash, Waste and Garbage
Finding a Camp Site
Lighting Camps and Trails
Shelter and Weather
Bugs and Ticks
Food and Cooking
Gear and Clothing
How to Contribute
Event Volunteer Shifts
Sound and Electricity
Departure and Exodus
Firefly is held on private property in central Vermont. It’s about 2 hours north of Boston. Please respect the boundaries of the land, the designated sacred spaces, and the farm animals found near the entrances.
The land is 90 acres of wooded mixed pine forest with some clear or sparsely wooded areas all with sloping terrain. It could rain and be cold, wet, and muddy or be sunny, hot, and humid. Check weather reports for central Vermont before the event and pack accordingly. Packing lists page is a good place to start.
Directions and address are emailed to ticketed persons approximately a week before the event. Do not post directions to any list.
No Nudity Areas
Remain fully clothed when in view of the landowners’ neighbors. This includes the porta potties, the main field, the parking areas, and the greeter and gate stations.
This is a list of Festival resources.
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.
This communal kitchen offers brewed coffee, tea, hot water, a gas stove, and dish washing station for your use. You can eat, cook, and share food there, but you are responsible for trash and any mess you create in this area. (NOT SUPPLIED: cold water, cooking pots, utensils or trash cans.)
Bring your own cups to hold hot beverages, and any cooking utensils if cooking, and leave no trace. Take all left over food, water, and dishes back to your camp site with you.
There are two locations. Each found 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 trucks when they come to clean. Use the provided hand sanitizer to stay healthy.
You can pee in the woods but do so no closer than 50 feet from the stream. Do NOT leave any tissues in the woods. 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.
Lost and Found
If you lost something, look for it at the Lost and Found. It’s 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.
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 years event via the Announce, Glowbe, and Facebook Group page.
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.
This 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, etc. Sanctuary volunteers are there to provide non-judgmental support and available assistance.
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 fastest way to get 911 help is to find a Ranger and tell them what the emergency is. Rangers can get 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.
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.
Put on a show! There will be a sign up sheet available before the event. No electricity or gear shelter provided. Stay tuned closer to the event for more information regarding the stage, signing up, and schedule on the Website News, Announce, Glowbe, and Facebook Group Page.
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 there needs to be at least one sober person supervising it
- All fires pits must be cold by Sunday noon at the beginning of exodus
- Burn only wood found on the ground or 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
Vermont is serious about its air quality and burning paper is against the law there. These fliers 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
Below this is the previous Survival Guide.
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!