The World of Festivals Slowly Pops its Head Above Ground

Photo by Matthew Bornehorst at Unsplash

Since early 2020, large gatherings have been curtailed. COVID stopped our social lives in a time warp, and there are many people who feel that we might not be able to return to the way things were. Others are excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Burning Man will return, but it will have an attendance at 2012 levels, and that is intentional. Things had slowly been feeling like they were going astray, and this is an attempt to draw back to the core values. Glastonbury is going to return after a two fallow years in a row.

Do you feel like the cicada coming out of its 17 years in larval nymph form? Are you ready to stop burrowing beneath the soil, and break out into the world to sing?

Many of us feel this way, but we’ve come out into a new wild, and seemingly, more dangerous world. Some of us greet the new day with zeal, but remember, not everyone is popping out of the ground to sing. Many of us will peek out of our holes slowly like the groundhog coming out of hibernation.

Wild Theology Podcast with Diana Greenfield

A new episode of the Wild Theology Podcast comes from the George and Pilgrim Pub in Glastonbury, England. This is a discussion with Diana Dingles Greenfield aka The Goth Vicar of Glastonbury. We both have just returned from the 3 Wishes Fairy Festival followed by the Glastonbury Festival, and I am staying with Diana and her husband Sedge in the village of Street next door to Glastonbury.

Link to Podcast:

Cornish Fairy Festival and Glastonbury: UK Mission 2019 – Part 2

This is the second part of a previous blogpost at the end of six weeks and six festivals in the UK this year.

Hanging with the Searle Family

After spending time at the Appleby Horse Fair, and three days with Matt and Jo Arnold, I made my way to Cheltenham, and stayed with the amazing Marc and Anthea Searle. They are like a home away from home. It is an important part of our faith that we learn to take all that we have and place it into service for God. The Searles model this as well as anyone I know.


From Cheltenham, I headed to the town of Glastonbury and met Diana Greenfield. She and I and Stu headed south to Mt. Edgecomb Park in Cornwall, just over the harbor from Plymouth, Devon, England.

Diana and I at 3 Wishes

I spent the next five days helping Diana and Stu as they managed the main tent and stage for the Fairy Festival. It was a second year for me to be there, and conversations about life and faith were now common with people I had come to know through the festival.

I was there right until the end helping Vicky take down the circus tent that the main stage was held in.

A crowd gathers in our little vale in the trees at Glastonbury 2019

On Monday, after 3 Wishes, I caught a ride with Sedge, Diana’s husband, and he dropped me off at Worthy Farm, the site of the Glastonbury Festival. I found my way to the site of of the Iona Community and there I spent the next full week hosting people in our little campsite in the trees. You can read more about the experience at Glasto on my travel and bucket list blog page. This year’s Glastonbury Festival was filled with discussions about faith and the person of Jesus, and in some ways had a more fruitful sense of mission than 2017 (the year of the last Glastonbury Festival). I cannot thank the Iona Community and Debbie (who organizes this group) enough for providing a space to make Christian Spirituality an accessible worldview to the festival goers at Glasto.

If you would like to support my podcasts, you can become a patron on my Patreon Page. You can also find a link on this website to donate to the mission of reaching the subcultures of this world through festival outreach, and mission to places where our world’s nomads live. 



Appleby Horse Fair and podcasts with friends: UK 2019 – Part One

Since the last blog post about three weeks ago, I have added three more festival outreach events to the frenetic place, and have stayed with friends in Pontypridd, Cheltenham and Plaisley. I created a few podcasts. One about the travels and two of them interviewing Matt and Jo Arnold, who I stayed with in Plaisley near Sherwood Forest.

I moved on from the three festivals in Wales (Focus Wales, How The Light Gets In, and the Hay Festival). I stayed with my friends Andrew and Dawn in Pontypridd and spent a day seeing the site of the festival they are running in August – Between the Trees. It was a gorgeous location and festival worth considering. The gathering is a mashup of folk music, science and philosophy near Bridgend in a hidden little gem of a forest.

From Pontypridd I traveled up to the Appleby Horse Fair in northern England. Due to a series of weird circumstances it took me 24 hours to get there by train and bus, when it is only a five hour drive. I missed the last train to Appleby from Leeds, and had to spend the night in the late night eateries, or at the train station. The following morning the ticket machine ate my money, and I missed the first train out, and then the second train broke down, and I had to wait two hours for the next train.

I eventually arrived in Appleby, and the first person I met turned out to be a pioneer vicar in a neighboring town, and she and her pioneer vicar husband invited me to stay with them for the weekend of the festival.

Appleby 4

The Appleby Horse Fair is the largest gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Europe. I did a podcast specifically talking about my experience at the Appleby Horse Fair, and you can find it on my Patreon page. I am hoping to return to Appleby in the future. It offers an opportunity to learn about one of the most misunderstood people groups in the UK. One of the great duties of life, and particularly of mission, is to understand the other we disagree with.

Matt Arnold at Sherwood

Following my time in Appleby, I traveled back south and stayed with Matt and Jo Arnold and their three boys. They live near Sherwood Forest and Matt took me on a Sherwood Forest tour while I was there, and we did a couple podcasts together. Matt is one of the few people who regularly works with the same demographic of people I do, and it made the podcast with Matt fun to do. Jo works for the Christian Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, and this made the podcast with Jo a unique experience, as we talked about Christians who have experiences they cannot put into the typical Christian theology box.

Part 2 comes up next with stories from the Fairy Festival and the famous Glastonbury Festival.

If you would like to support my podcasts, you can become a patron on my Patreon Page. You can also find a link on this website to donate to the mission of reaching the subcultures of this world through festival outreach, and mission to places where our world’s nomads live. 

From California to Cornwall

The last two months have been a whirlwind of travel, work, relationships and festivals. After working with Joshua Hanson from Kingdom Promotions, and helping dream of social justice art dealing with the injustices of the for profit prison system in the US, I was quickly off to the UK. I have now spent a week in Caernarfon, Wales, which most people who know me well know is my favorite place in the world, and then I followed that up with five festivals in a row.

So, at this point in the travels through the UK, I have been at HowTheLightGetsIn Philosophy Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, The Hay Festival (in the same town), Burning Nest (a UK regional Burn in Devon), 3 Wishes Fairy Festival in Cornwall (over the water from Plymouth), and Stonehenge during the Winter Solstice.

Desanka has been a part of three of these events. Papy Fisher, Jake Humphrey, and Michael Buchanan were at HowTheLightGetsIn, Burning Nest, and Stonehenge. Jake joined me for the Fairy Festival as well. Along with Desanka, whose work in festivals is growing at an amazing rate, Vicar Diana Dingles Greenfield is doing amazing work in places Christians usually don’t hang out, because she does such a great job of contextualizing the Gospel in the wild and wonderful places most Christians avoid. Along with Papy and Diana, friends such as Andrew Thomas and Stephen Simmons are making God appearances at places like Hay-on-Wye as well.

Please pray for us, and for the momentum of the Gospel in the festival settings.

June and July in the UK and EU

Micro-Church Planting Mission, UK and Europe, Summer 2017


Mid-June through mid-July in the UK and mainland Europe were a whirlwind of activity. From the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge with Christopher Gaston and the Browns from Brownwood, TX, to sleepless same day travel to the 250,000 person Glastonbury Festival, to joining Andrew and Dawn and helping set up/run events/take down for Between the Trees, to flying to Prague for a 4 day heavy metal/punk/hardcore festival called Meziprostor it was a busy month.

This was the third year at the 4-day Solstice Festival and going to Stonehenge with nearly 15,000 people on the Summer Solstice. During the day, Sandi Chai Brown and Christopher Gaston interpreted dreams at the festival, and I occasionally joined them, but more frequently I might have been found discussing life and spirituality with people from around the UK and Ireland. There were a number of faces we have come to recognize, and people with whom we are developing deeper relationships. Many of those we have come to know are following a New Age spirituality filled with hopes of aliens and psychedelic drug use. Please keep these people and this outreach in your prayers.

When the Sun rose at Stonehenge, we traveled back to the camp, and after about an hour of shut eye, I said goodbye to Christopher and the Brown family, and grabbed the bus without air-conditioning, to the train without air-conditioning, to the next train without air-conditioning full of hippies and camping gear, to the hippie bus without air-conditioning to the Glastonbury Festival and a long walk with all my gear on the hottest day we had experienced in what has been a hot summer in the UK. Grabbing the first bus at 11am, I finally found a placed to hang my hammock tent around 8pm with the help of Diana Dingles Greenfield and the Iona Community. I spent the next four days at the largest, loudest rock festival I’ve ever experienced. We spent our days in the Iona Community camp talking to people about life and God, and sat around the fire at night doing more of the same. We hopped from concert to concert, and joined the hundreds of thousands moving from show to show. This was my first Glastonbury, and I am hoping to return and join the Iona Community in two years when the festival next occurs. They are in a season of developing some new plans for their outreach after 17 years of working in the festival.

I returned to the town of Glastonbury after the festival for a few days. It am hoping that this wonderful little place, which feels so much like being at home in Salem, Massachusetts becomes a wonderful new haunt of creative outreach. The doors appear open, and Diana has been working among the variety of New Spiritualities found there for some time now.

Early July, it was time to return to Cardiff and prepare for Between the Trees – a small music festival in the valleys just outside Caerphilly. Charlie and Becky were back again. After having spent time with them at Burning Nest, once again I helped set up lights for the festival. Charlie was busy moving out of his apartment, so Becky and I became the lighting masters for the festival. I taught a class on poetry writing, performed some music to fill a slot in which someone was unable to make it, and led a well-attended philosophy discussion in the evening.

After we worked to take down lights and do the clean up after the festival, I had a day to prepare for the next trip: a train to a bus to a train to the eastern edge of the UK to catch a flight to Prague. After a day in Prague, Sasha Flek took our small crew of Americans out of the city to a festival he has been helping organize for a few years now. Meziprostor is a hardcore/punk/metal festival with a Christian Spirituality edge. I taught on the subject of the changing dynamics of sexuality in our culture (under the title “Uncomfortable Sexual Positions”), played a little more music, led a morning devotional and got to know people as best I could through the often challenging language barriers. I discovered a wonderful set of new friends from Poland and the Czech Republic and hope to return to this event and perhaps to Poland as well next year. Please keep the team that is building Meziprostor in your prayers. This festival has created one of the best environments I have ever seen for Christians and their non-Christian friends to hang out together in a life affirming way.

After Meziprostor and spending a morning with Cathryn Camissa and some of the Jones family and friends, I caught a bus to a train to another 3 trains, and arrived late at night in Kaiserslautern, Germany. In Kaiserslautern, I spent the next few days with Jeff and Barbara Cox. And here life slowed down a bit, and I washed away a month of weariness. I also left Germany with an iPad Pro which the Cox’s donated to me. (Thank you, thank you, thank you! This will make traveling much easier in the future.) After spending a couple days with them, I sat in the airport in Cologne waiting about 5 hours for my late flight back to the UK.

I stayed with Ben and Joanna, my new friends from the Iona Community Outreach at the Glastonbury festival, and had a lovely time with lovely people in Manchester, which is an amazing city. I am back at Mark and Anthea Searle’s home in Cheltenham now, and will head back to North Wales in the next day or two to start prepping for the Eisteddfod.

I am in the last phase of travel, meeting people, and working in my final festival of this trip – the Welsh National Eisteddfod, where I anticipate a little over two weeks living and working in the Welsh language.

Phil Wyman
Micro-Church Planting, Summer 2017