Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still accepting Presenter Applications?

We're glad to hear you're interested in presenting, but ZenFest 2014 Presenter Applications are closed. By all means, please talk to us about presenting at ZenFest 2015!

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How late in the day can I arrive?

Registration closes at 8pm on Thursday, 9 pm on Friday, and 4pm on Saturday.

If you are needing to arrive after these hours, please pre-register and pay for your tickets in advance, and send a "Contact Us" to let us know you will be arriving after registration is closed.

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Can I book a performance for ZenFest?

While we are really glad that you're interested in ZenFest, we would rather use your skills to teach a workshop! We do not have performances/shows, as our festival is focused on involving, teaching, and empowering attendees to do things themselves, instead of sitting back and watching someone else do it. 

We do have community drum/spin/dance jams on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights where musicians, dancers, and insured fire spinners are more than welcome to join in the jam! As we (the organizers) are performers ourselves, we understand the desire to showcase our talents, but ZenFest is a time to step down from the stage and contribute to the community vibe instead. :)

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Can I pay for ZenFest using Gaea Bucks?

ZenFest is not an Earth Rising event, so you cannot use Gaea Bucks to pay for the festival. At the gate, we accept cash and check only. If you are interested in Work Exchange, please contact us to see if there is any available.

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What do I have to do to be a Vendor?

First you will need to register yourself and your party just like any other attendee. Then, once your tickets are paid for, you can go to the "View Merchants" page and click "Add Merchant". The information you enter in the vendor registration will be used for your listing on the public Merchants Page.

Once at ZenFest, you can set up your own booth (no size limit this year) on the Ridge ONLY. Ask a ZenStaff member if you aren't sure where this is. There are limited electrical outlets available on the Ridge. It is strongly encouraged to setup only a tent and not utilize a vehicle as part of your sleeping/merchanting arrangement. If we receive rainy weather vehicles may be restricted from driving on or OFF the Ridge, which may leave you stuck until the ground is safe to drive on. Please respect the land and respect the rules.

You are responsible for the security of your wares.

While there is not an additional fee for vendors this year, you MUST be logged in with a paid and completed registration for at least 1 attendee to be able to add a merchant!

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Will I be able to spin fire?

ONLY insured spinners may spin outside of the “Fire Spinning Workshop.” If you are an insured spinner, bring your proof of insurance to the ZenFest booth to receive your “insured spinner” armband. 

If you are not insured, don’t despair!  Un-insured attendees have the chance to spin fire during the Saturday night “Fire Spinning Workshop.” This is a great time for a “virgin burn,” i.e. for beginners to try their hands at fire spinning in a safe, supportive environment. The Fire-Spinning Workshop is several hours long to give non-insured spinners plenty of time to get their fire fix! The only prerequisite for the Fire Spinning Workshop is to attend the “Fire Safety Workshop.”  Anyone under any sort of influence will not be allowed to participate in the Fire Spinning Workshop.

The fire spinning workshop is an exception to the Gaea Retreat Center’s normal rules. With their cooperation we have worked out this solution to help give un-insured spinners as much time as possible to spin while helping to promote fire safety.

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What do you DO at ZenFest?

You learn from experienced Presenters, explore fun and unusual new workshops, find your peace, meet new friends, and hopefully walk away refreshed and better able to find your zen in your daily life.

This is not a “spectator” event, a “burner” event, or a rave party. ZenFest is all about the workshops! Bring a notepad and pencil, a cushion or blanket to sit on, any tools required for the class (i.e. drum, poi, singing bowl), and most importantly, an open and attentive mind!

Past workshops have covered topics such as: yoga, fire spinning, women's drumming, tai chi, tribal bellydance, Middle Eastern Rhythms, Kombucha tea brewing and benefits, guided meditation, mudras, fan dance and manipulation, drum care and maintenance, Reiki, tantra, labyrinths, Fire Performer Safety, and hoop dance.

We do have community bonfires Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Night. These have open drum circles, room to dance and/or trance around the fire, and (limited) possibilities for fire spinning. This is a great time to try out the skills you learned during the day.

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Cancellation/Refund Policy

We understand that sometimes things come up and plans change, and you may need a refund for your festival registration. We try to be as accommodating as possible. Please click on the "Contact Us" link to request a refund.

If you request a refund within 3 weeks of the date payment was submitted, AND more than 2 weeks before the festival start date, then you will receive a full refund, with no extra charges.

If a refund is requested less than 2 weeks away from the Festival, OR more than 3 weeks after payment is submitted, then a 10% service fee will be subtracted from your refund.

After noon on the start date of the Festival, NO REFUNDS WILL BE MADE.

Payments made through PayPal will be refunded back to the PayPal account. Any other forms of payment will be refunded with a check written to the Customer who submitted and paid for the order.

The organizers reserve the right to cancel the event in an extreme situation. In the case of event cancellation, all paid attendees will be notified and will receive a full refund.


We will accept returned merchandise in its original condition up to 30 days after purchase.

Shipping and Handling Fees are not refundable. The customer is responsible for any return shipping costs.

The refund will be made to the original customer via the original form of payment.

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Are meal plans offered at Zenfest?

We are currently open for food vendors for ZenFest 2014. We do not have a vendor with a meal plan at this time.
We will have water coolers set up at key points on the Ridge – please bring a refillable water bottle (or purchase one of the awesome aluminum water bottles at the ZenFest Booth!).

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Are pets allowed at Zenfest?

Pets are allowed only under very strict rules:

  • Pets MUST be on a leash and attended at all times.
  • Pets must not be disruptive vocally. If your pet is extremely vocal, it would be best to leave them at home.  Zenfest is dedicated to helping everyone attain their own zen. Not everyone has the ability to block out the dog that is barking continuously.
  • Pets will NOT be allowed in cabins!
  • The first time any of these rules are broken, the owner will be given a warning.  The second time, the owner will be asked to leave the property with their pet. No refund will be given, though the owner may return to the festival after arranging for the pet to be taken care of at home.
  • Pets that show an aggressive demeanor will be ejected immediately due to safety concerns!

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What is the venue address?

25110 235th St., McLouth, KS 66048

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What amenities are available at Gaea Retreat Center?

Camp Gaea is a great location! Encompassing 168 acres of woods, fields, and prairie, Camp Gaea is located within a 1-hr drive of Kansas City.

There is a 12-acre lake, with a sandy beach for swimming, and a floating dock.

Structures include a large pavilion with a stage and electricity, cabins with bunks and electricity (bunks are available to rent for ZenFest, for an added fee), and a showerhouse with flush toilets, sinks, mirrors, and (free) heated showers. The Dining Hall is available for eating in an enclosed area, and the Main Hall is kept air conditioned.

There is a water spigot on the Ridge where drinkable water is available, though it may be preferable for taste to filter the water first.

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Is the Gaea Retreat Center a nudist camp?

NO. The Gaea Retreat Center is designed as a recreational retreat center for the purpose of cultural and spiritual education. As such, the camp promotes tolerance, acceptance and respect between groups and individuals. We neither promote nor discourage nudity as it is a personal and spiritual choice.

A good attitude is "Nude, not lewd." It sounds like a bigger deal than it is, especially at ZenFest, where very few attendees exercise this freedom of choice, and those mostly while swimming at the Beach.

However, clothing is required in many places, such as in public buildings, on or along the main access roads, and open areas adjacent to property fence lines. As such, if you are walking and enjoying Gaea, you should carry suitable clothing to cover yourself when needed, as well as to provide some material to sit on.  Chigger bites on the bum are NOT fun.

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What is the nearest airport?

The Kansas City International Airport is the closest airport.  It is about a 1-hour drive from the Gaea Retreat Center.

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Do you have a forum to arrange carpooling?

The ZenFest Facebook Page and ZenFest 2014 Facebook Event Page are great forums to find a carpool ride. 

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Where can I park my vehicle?

Parking is only allowed in the parking fields, not in campsites or on the Ridge. You can unload at your campsite, but once your car is parked, it needs to stay parked for the weekend! Driving up and down the hill will not be permitted, unless you have a handicapped tag. Practice the art of Zen Exercise and walk!

Also, carpooling is awesome. Great for the environment, great for your wallet, great for your sanity levels on long drives!  The ZenFest Facebook and ZenFest 2014 Event page are great places to ask if anyone else is driving from your location.

Vehicles with over 2 axles are charged an impact fee on the land.  This fee goes directly towards the upkeep of Camp Gaea.

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Where can I set up tent?

Most of the activities take place on the Ridge, so the areas closest to the Ridge would be your best bet.  These are Pixie Sticks, Dava Wood, and Drum Styx.  We will have maps of Gaea available if you are not familiar with the land.
You cannot tent on the trails, or past first field.  

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What is the policy on Cabins?

  • The cabins house 8 people each. Cabin reservation for the duration of the festival is $15 per individual bunk.
  • Every person of every age takes up a cabin bunk slot. This is so that the cabins don't become packed with adults with lots of kids all trying to fit onto a limited number of bunks, in a limited space.
  • Pets are NOT allowed in cabins.
  • Smoking is NOT allowed inside cabins.
  • Cabins have electricity.
  • Cabin bunks are padded mattresses, however you will need to bring your own bedding (pillow, sheets or sleeping bag, etc).
  • Cabin bunk rental is $15 for the weekend, and only available for Thursday-arrival registrations, since we have to reserve your cabin slot for the entire weekend anyways.
  • Leave the cabin in better condition than you found it. Wipe down the beds, sweep the floor and take trash to the dumpster and recycling to the recycling corral by Registration.
  • Don't block the door or the path in front of the cabins. Others use the doors and path too.

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Where can I build a fire?

Fires may only be built in existing fire-pits, or in a portable pit that is high enough off the ground so as not to cause damage to the land.

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May I cut firewood?

Only DOWNED limbs/trees may be used for firewood. No standing trees may be harvested or cut to obtain firewood. You may bring in your own firewood.

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I'm not attending, but can I still visit the Beach during ZenFest?

We are selling Beach Passes for $10 per person. This is higher than Gaea's normal cost due to extra insurance and fees we have to pay for all people on property.
You will be tagged with a Beach Pass wristband. 

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