For the past eight days, the Pagan Federation (England and Wales) Disabilities Team has been inviting people to join them on Facebook for an online festival. It finishes today but the reaction to it all has been so positive that a) you can’t expect it will be the last time something like this will happen and b) you feel that everything has changed slightly as a result of it. Suddenly, the online world feels that bit more inclusive.
We missed publishing the running order for yesterday’s celebrations, which included a couple of live acoustic sets from Inkubus Sukkubus, so would suggest that people just head over to the Facebook page and fish around for them in the many, many posts that the event has generated.
And as yet, we’re not totally sure of the running order of today’s line-up either. One thing that we know for certain though is that it’s going to be an emotional occasion. Social media is often decried for its ability to promote difference and exclusion, but in this case it has really fulfilled its promise by helping a team of dedicated people create an event that has united people and created bonds of friendship across continents.
If you miss things live, no worries: many people dip into the live videos after the event and the comments and discussions carry on long afterwards (which, given some of the teething problems that have been found with the still comparatively new Facebook Live video format, has probably been a good thing).
There are plans though, we hear, for some of this content to move onto YouTube or Vimeo and so be available to those not on Facebook. And, given the runaway success of the event, it looks like its next iteration will cast its net even wider. We hope to be speaking to the organisers soon about future plans.
So, do drop by its pages today and mark the end of something that has been, for many of its participants, something incredibly special and precious.
Here’s how the team’s Debi Gregory,the driving force behind the event, wrote about it in her introduction. “Here at the Pagan Federation we’re trying to combat the loneliness and isolation that the disabled in our community feel. Too large a number of our brothers and sisters are finding it increasingly difficult to make it to moots and events. So, we’ve decided that if we can’t take them to the gatherings, we’ll bring the gatherings to them.”
Job very much done.
Follow the link to find out more and join in: Online Beltane Festival.