An announcement shook the publishing world today – Barnes & Noble, America’s most venerable bookstore chain, is up for sale. As the New York Times put it,
The news surprised analysts and alarmed publishers, who have watched as the book business has increasingly shifted to online retailers and e-book sales, leaving both chains and independent sellers struggling.
How do retailers move forward? An analyst adds, “A lot of independents are figuring it out one bookstore at a time, and that’s what the Barnes & Nobles of the world have to do.”
Similarly, a seismic shift has been taking place in the world of spiritual happenings. Big-box mega-conferences have taken a hit in recent years (as presciently noted by Andrew Jones at the start of the global recession), both in terms of attendance and enthusiasm. Is this all there is? Participants have been asking. Yet efforts to simply down-size have not all been successful; organizers of smaller gatherings have often been left under-resourced and holding a large bill.
So…how to move forward? Just as the publishing industry has been morphing to more adaptive structures involving grassroots readerships, eBooks, and print-on-demand (see Somersault and Samizdat as two to watch in the next 12 months), so festivals are emerging as a viable alternative to the megaconference and the under-funded gathering. We might be biased, but we concur with Andrew when he says,
Festivals as a Way Forward, because they are much cheaper, leave a smaller carbon footprint and are not dependent on one or two Superstar Christian Celebrities who insist on fancy hotels and a hefty honorarium at the end – thus raising the price of admission and reducing accessibility to the people who really need to be there.As a rule, I like festivals more than conferences, as I said in a recent post called
At the Wild Goose Festival, we feel that each contributor (that is, everyone in attendance) is a superstar, from the most-known to the unknown. We’re collaborating to create something fearless, communal, and sustainable – a celebration that will be a blessing for all parties concerned.
Are you interested in volunteering for Wild Goose, or spreading the word to your church, nonprofit organization, online or live-in intentional community? Email us at wildgoosefestivities [at] gmail [dot] com or connect with us on the Wild Goose Facebook Page and tell us how you can participate.