Frequently Asked Questions

For Mount Franklin to run smoothly, there are a few simple rules we must all adhere to, which are included in this FAQ.

Overall, our expectation as the Organisers is that people come to the Gathering in the spirit of like-mindedness, enjoyment and worship. We spend a great deal of the year planning and preparing so that people can have a great weekend, full of experiences we hope will last a lifetime, where old friendships are renewed and where new friendships are forged. These conditions are to ensure the safety and the wellbeing of all attendees, and most importantly the continued success of the Gathering.

Mount Franklin piper

Circa 1982. Photo courtesy of Ray.

What is the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering?
The Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering is a gathering of pagans and people of many different paths to celebrate the annual festival of Beltane. It is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest-running pagan event.

What is Beltane?
Beltane is an ancient Celtic festival. It is one of the eight sabbats (or seasonal festivals/holidays) celebrated in many different neopagan traditions. Celebrated on May Day in the Northern Hemisphere and at the end of October in the Southern Hemisphere, Beltane is a celebration of Spring and a welcome to the abundance that the season brings. Different pagan traditions celebrate this in a variety of ways.

“Pagan”, you say…?
If you are new to Paganism, or if you would just like to find out more, we recommend checking out the Pagan Collective of Victoria’s Suggested Reading List.

When does the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering take place?
MFPG usually takes place over the last weekend of October. See the Upcoming Gathering page for this year’s date.

Where is Mount Franklin?
Mount Franklin is an extinct volcano about 10 km north of Daylesford. To get there from Daylesford, you follow the signs to Castlemaine.

How much does it cost to attend the Gathering?
There is NO FEE attached to attending the Gathering, however accommodation is camping only. See our Camping at the Mount page for more information on what to bring.
Camping attendees of this year’s Gathering must register in order to be covered by our insurance.

What happens at the Gathering?
It varies from year to year, but generally the Friday night is a casual meet/greet. In 2014 there was a swap and barter “market” on the Friday night. The Beltane ritual is always on the Saturday night, and on Sunday there is a Maypole dance, a raffle draw and a moot before we all part ways.
For more information on this year’s event, please see our Upcoming Event page.

Who runs the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering?
We are an incorporated body and as part of our path offer the Gathering up each year to interested persons both old and new to come and experience the Mountain and join each other in the spirit of harmony.
Host groups including but not limited to Witches of any Tradition or path, heathens, druids, pagans and occultists are welcome to run the ritual each year. Usually people volunteer at the moot the year before or email their request to do so.

Do I have to be Pagan to attend?
No! All interested people are welcome, provided they come in the spirit of peace and respect.

If I attend, do I have to take part in the ritual on the Saturday night?
No. You are very welcome to (respectfully) watch the ritual if you don’t feel comfortable participating.

The 2013 Fire procession, courtesy of K McCredie.

The 2013 Fire procession, courtesy of K McCredie.

What do I need to bring? Is there anything I shouldn’t bring?
See our Camping at the Mount page for details on what you will need and what items are prohibited at the mount.

Can I bring my family?
Yes. Mount Franklin is intended to be child friendly, but it does not take responsibility for others’ children. There is no ‘child care’ available. Parents/guardians are expected to supervise their children at all times.
We would like to see more specific children’s events developed and are working towards this in the future.

Can I bring alcohol to the mountain?
Yes, but remember that we do enforce regulations placed upon us within our permit boundaries from Parks Victoria and we have a zero tolerance policy towards illicit drugs (including drug dealing), fire safety, ritual etiquette, violence or general safety.
If you are behaving in such a way that you are endangering the safety and quiet enjoyment of other participants or campers, you will be asked to leave immediately, and serial offenders will incur a lifetime ban from the Gathering. Please remember that we share the mountain with other campers, visitors and families.
Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering is a family friendly event. Please drink responsibly! Anyone deemed intoxicated will not be permitted to partake of the Gathering ritual for Beltane on the Saturday night. No exceptions.
If you do decide to drink, please designate a driver if you plan on staying off the Mount.

Can I take photographs at the Gathering?
Yes, but please get permission from someone before you take their photo. Some attendees may not wish their image to be shared on social media, etc. Please respect their choices. While photography of all the other events at the Gathering is allowed, photographing, filming or recording of the ritual itself is strictly prohibited.

For more information about attending the Gathering, please see our Camping at the Mount, Upcoming Event and Ritual Etiquette pages. If you have specific inquiries, please contact us.