If you have ever been curious about what goes on when potentially thousands of pagans and witches gather together, then you will get the chance to find out in Croydon in November.

Witchfest - the biggest pagan festival in Europe, possibly the world – returns to Fairfield Halls on November 14.

Around 3,500 people are expected to attend the long-running festival, which has been in the town for a couple of decades.

Wiccan high priest Tam Campbell, from Deptford, told us: “The main problem is going to be the size of the hall. It’s one of the biggest in London that’s reasonable to hire.”

There are around 80,000 pagans and wiccans in Britain, Tam said, and he said one thing that defines them is their variety of beliefs.

Tam said: “They say if there are two pagans in a room, there’s three opinions.”

He added: “One of the things about pagans and wicca is that we are massively tolerant. That means we are tolerant to other people’s ideas.

“We never say ‘that’s a heresy’ because the word ‘heresy’ doesn’t exist. Within the pagan community you will find people that don’t tent to follow the rules.”

Witchfest is a huge celebration for wiccans, who do believe in magic, but if you’re looking for spells and curses then you’re out of luck.

The event features up to six talks and workshops an hour on a range of witchcraft, wiccan, pagan, occult and mythological subjects. There are live bands, DJs and drummers.

Speakers include Real Witches author Kate West, academic Professor Ronald Hutton, TV medium and astrologer David Wells and former president The Pagan Federation Pete Jennings.

Tam said: “It’s not a bit like Hammer House of Horrors. Most people have careers and families and this is another part of their life, like being a doctor or having three kids is another part of their life.”

He added: “We have more in common with the mystical beliefs of the ancient Romans than running around cursing people.”

All of which is not to say that Witchfest takes itself too seriously.

“One of the main things is we have both laughter and honour,” Tam said. “All Pagan groups have both of those things. This is a day of laughter and reverence.”

Witchfest is at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls from 10am on November 14. Tickets cost £29 or £12. Go to www.fairfield.co.uk





Witchfest is organised by Children of Artemis. They’re a volunteer-based non-profit organisation who organise lots other events, including Artemis Gathering.

The CoA’s aim is ‘to promote an ethical approach to wicca’.

Their website lists their understandings and beliefs as:

  • We attempt to live by the Wiccan rede, not harming anyone or anything by our actions (or lack of them).
  • We take personal responsibility for our actions.
  • We always attempt to respect and live in harmony with nature.
  • We view divinity as both male and female, in the form of the Goddess and God. We extend this view of equality to our everyday lives.
  • We view magic as an intrinsic part of this world, a completely natural and neutral force.
  • We never seek to convert others, only providing information and assistance if they actively seek it.
  • We view Wicca or Witchcraft as one spiritual path chosen by some, other religions are equally valid for those that choose them. Hence we always attempt to practice tolerance to others beliefs.