2020 Fest Sliding Scale Info


Please take some time to thoughtfully review our 2020 Sliding Scale system. Consider the value of the festival to you, along with your income, privilege and access to resources.

Pricing for Common Grounds Passes, Rooted Bundles (packages), Camping, and Workshops will be released soon.

What is a sliding scale?

We’ve been exploring alternative pricing models for a couple of years, and are ready to dive in!

We’re going with a sliding scale model that has multiple access points to the fest, reflecting our community’s varied financial resources and levels of privilege.

It’s really quite simple. Take a look at the tiers, and pay what you are able. Those in a place of abundance, with access to more resources and privilege pay more, thus redistributing some of it so that those with less privilege and fewer resources can attend.

Why a sliding scale? We want the fest to be more accessible to those who want to come, while still covering event costs (so far the event breaks even, without paying the organizers or coordinators).  The sliding scale model offers a balance of privacy, respect and increased access for attendees,  while still covering most or all festival expenses. 

Teachers [and organizers] deserve to get paid and students deserve classes [and events] which recognize the multiple realities of economic access and privilege that exist.

Worts and Cunning

For a sliding scale to work it relies on the principles of truthfulness, respect for complexity, and accountability.

Worts and Cunning

Sacrifice vs Hardship

To work toward greater accessibility, we have created two new price tiers, Cultivate and Rely, as alternatives to the basic Sustain price level. This page was created to help you determine which level is right for you. Regardless of which tier you choose, we are excited that you have chosen to learn, grow, and cultivate community with us!


If paying for a grounds pass or workshop ticket would be a stretch for you, but not detrimental, it’s a sacrifice.

You might have to cut back on other spending in your life (eating out, coffee, craft beer, travel/holidays, craft supplies, night-life, hair salon, new clothes/books/music/etc. as a few examples), but this will not have a long-term harmful impact on your life. It is a thoughtful sacrifice in order to pursue something you feel will better your life.

Folks coming from a space of sacrifice are encouraged to purchase Sustain (mid tier) or Cultivate (upper tier) passes, depending on the nuances of your specific situation, which only you know! 


If, however, paying for a Sustain Pass or workshop would have a negative impact, such as not being able to put food on the table, pay rent, or pay for transportation to get to work, then you are dealing with hardship.

Folks coming from a space of hardship qualify for Rely passes. 

Sliding Scale Tiers

This is an honour system. We won’t ask about your finances. We recognize that there are nuances to these things that go way beyond the number on our tax returns. Read about the tiers below, and if you still aren’t sure which applies to you, click the links for further exploration of each tier. Thanks!

CULTIVATE community.

When you choose a Cultivate Pass,  you are covering costs and beyond – redistribute some of your privilege and access to resources to those in a place of hardship.

Want more info? Head here for help determining if Cultivate passes are right for you.

SUSTAIN community

When you choose a Sustain Pass, you are contributing to the actual cost of the event. Sustain passes are for those who have some earning power and privilege and for whom purchasing passes may be a sacrifice, but not a hardship.

Want more info? Head here to for help determining if Sustain passes are right for you.

RELY on community.

When you choose a Rely Pass, know that you can rely on your community to support you. After all, we are all about the DIY spirit, but within the context of a supportive community! 

Rely passes are limited in quantity. They are reserved for those who truly need assistance.

Want more info? Head here for help determining if Rely passes are right for you.

NOTE: Please select your passes thoughtfully. Before choosing a Rely pass, consider your privilege, earning power, and whether purchasing a Sustain pass would be a hardship or actually a sacrifice. Also keep in mind that Rely passes are limited to 5-10 passes per type.

If you have read all the pricing information and taken time to see which level fits your situation, and Rely passes are still prohibitive, please email us to see if there is a Grassroots Grant available to cover some or all of your festival expenses.


Consider a RELY pass if a combination of the following are true. You:

– have significant debt that sometimes prohibits attainment of basic needs.
– frequently stress about meeting basic needs and don’t always achieve them.
– rent lower-end properties and/or have unstable housing.
– have a difficult time affording transportation
– are unemployed or underemployed. (*See note below about earning power).
– have no access to savings.
– have no or very limited expendable income.
– can rarely afford to buy new items (A lot of us in this community choose not to buy new due to enviro concerns  this is different).
– can’t afford a vacation or to take time off without financial burden.
– have significant medical expenses not covered by insurance
– qualify for government assistance.
– have immigration-related expenses
– are an elder with limited financial support
– are an unpaid community organizer

There are a limited number of Rely passes available (5-10 per type). Please read all of the provided materials on this page to help you determine if this pass is right for you. Thank you!

“If you struggle to maintain access to needs such as health care, housing, food, child care, and are living paycheck to paycheck or are in significant debt, you probably belong here and you deserve a community that honors your price as equal an economic offering to the person who can pay the highest tier.” (wortsandcunning.com)


Consider a SUSTAIN pass if a combination of the following are true. You:

– may stress about meeting basic needs, but still usually achieve them.
– may have some debt but it doesn’t prohibit attainment of basic needs.
– own your own home or rent mid-range property.
– own, lease or rent /co-op a car.
– are employed (*See note below about earning power)
– might have access to financial savings.
– have some expendable income.
– are able to buy some new items & must thrift others. (A lot of us in this community choose not to buy new out of enviro concerns – this is different)
– can take a vacation annually or every few years or take time off work, without financial burden.
– may have some medical expenses not covered by insurance
– have earning power due to level of education (or gender and racial privilege, class background, etc.) *

*Earning Power: Even if you are not currently choosing to exercise your earning power, we ask you to recognize this as a choice. According to the dictionary, earning power is the relative ability of an individual to command earnings in return for services or goods. 

“If you are struggling to conquer debt or build savings or move away from paycheck to paycheck living but have access to steady income and are not spending most of your time thinking about meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, child care, etc., you belong here.” (wortsandcunning.com)


Consider a CULTIVATE pass if a combination of the following are true. You:

– own the home you live in, or could purchase a home if you chose to
– have financial savings
– have investments, retirement accounts, or inherited money, or could if you chose to
– travel recreationally, or could if you chose to
– have access to family money and resources in times of need
– have expendable income
– have a choice of whether or not to live frugally (thrifting, etc.)
– work part time by choice
– have a relatively high degree of earning power due to level of education (or gender and racial privilege, class background, etc.) *

*Earning Power: Even if you are not currently exercising your earning power, we ask you to recognize this as a choice. We ourselves have a fairly high earning power, though we choose to work part time, and dedicate a lot of the other part-time work hours to organizing the festival. We could put our children in school and most likely get well-paying jobs if we had to.

“If you have access to financial security, own property or have personal savings, you would not traditionally qualify for sliding scale services. If you are able to pay for “wants” and spend little time worried about securing necessities in your life, you have economic privilege and power in our community. This price is for you.” (wortsandcunning.com)

*Sliding scale explanations copied and/or adapted from, and with thanks to: 
wortsandcunning.com, littleredbirdbotanicals.com, and ridefreefearlessmoney.com. We were hugely inspired by Alexis at Worts & Cunning and have sent a little gratitude donation over to her.

Most of the explanation of sliding scales and direction of sacrifice vs. hardship comes from wortsandcunning.com, whereas the bullet points of each tier are adapted from littleredbirdbotanicals.com, which we found on a discussion at ridefreefearlessmoney.com. 

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