Huge festivals, except Michfest, don't really appeal to me, the way smaller ones that are more focussed are. I'm interested in a women only environment when I ritual, and preferably a natural one. It doesn't appeal to me to gather in a hotel one iota, in a city environment. For a mixed event, something both natural and citified, a smaller event like Berkeley Pagan Pride is enjoyable to me, maybe something in a local greenbelt park, like up in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills. I like the grassroots too, not the whole worship of 'big names' that goes on with gathering/festival circuits.
I know there are those that swear by Starhawk's 1500 strong Spiral Dance, and while I've enjoyed watching them on video/youtube, or others telling me their enjoyment of them, that is way too much energy for me, and too impersonal. I want something with more personal connection, and a 100-200 womon Spiral Dance is more than enough for me!
Burning Man fascinates me, and I'm glad people can go somewhere's and be their artistic Pagan selves, but like was mentioned above at Stonehenge, so many just go for a big drunk/drug fest and to get laid by as many people as possible. I'm all for: 'all acts of Love and Pleasure are My rituals' but so much of this is just about one big party/celebration and less about spiritual connections, community and Goddess, and EXPANDING those connections throughout the year, not just for that one event. My question is "how do such events fit into our daily lives and continue our deep connections through ritualling with one another in community? Not just for that one time a year, but THROUGHOUT the year. How do we keep the energy going?"
I have had no desire to go to Pantheacon. Raise all that energy in a mixed environment but have no Nature to connect with afterwards to ground? At least when I went to Michigan Womyn's Music Festival one year, and LED a large ritual of 200 womyn for the Full Moon, afterwards I spent an hour alone grounding as the Moon rose, connecting with Nature in that meadow we had just done the ritual on!
I like the idea of Land and Sanctuary, and CONNECTING with Nature in myriad ways, as well as with each other, and weaving the Tribes together in a REAL way, not just a virtual one! Yes, put your money where your mouth is, and KEEP IT GREEN(and I don't mean just $)!