First Festival FAQs
First time attending a Kadampa festival? Welcome! You may be surprised how quickly you feel right at home. Our annual US Festival is very “user-friendly” for first-timers. If you’ve never attended a Kadampa festival before, below is some useful information regarding the event.
Is the Festival appropriate for beginners?
Yes! Buddha’s timeless wisdom can be understood at many levels, and appeal to a great variety of people, regardless of their experience. So, whether you know a little about Buddhism or almost nothing, the festival is will still touch your heart.
Where does the festival take place?
The festival takes place at the inspiring World Peace Temple in Glen Spey. Set on 82 acres of beautiful woodlands in New York’s Catskills region, the temple offers a wonderful opportunity to retreat from busy daily life, and the perfect peaceful conditions to deeply contemplate Buddha’s profound insights.
How do I get there?
Just two hours outside of NYC, the temple is accessible by a combination of public transportation and private taxis.
Recommended Airport: Newark (EWR). New Jersey Transit from Newark Airport Station to Port Jervis, NY. For more information visit www.njtransit.com.
Festival Airport Shuttle from Newark: this service is organized specifically for this event. If you are interested in signing up, learn more here.
Car: KMC New York is just two hours outside of New York City. Click here for directions.
Bus from New York City: Coach USA from Port Authority to Matamoras, PA or Port Jervis, NY. For more information visit www.coachusa.com
Rail from New York City: New Jersey Transit from New York Penn Station to Port Jervis, NY. For more information visit www.njtransit.com
Taxi Service: The cost of a taxi from Matamoras, PA to KMC New York is approximately $30, or Port Jervis, NY to KMC New York is approximately $20. The taxi services do not accept credit cards; please have cash ready. Please reserve a taxi in advance.
Taxi Service from local airports:
J & L Taxi Service: (845) 856-3544
EWR (Newark airport) – $155 flat fee for up to 4 people
SWF (Stewart Newburgh airport) – $80 flat fee for up to 4 people
How is each day structured?
The festival starts with welcome and an introduction on Friday evening. The main event, the empowerment blessing ceremony, is on Saturday morning, followed by teachings from Saturday afternoon to Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday are dedicated to retreat, where there is a greater emphasis on meditation and taking the teachings more deeply into our minds. There are a variety of optional activities throughout the day, including opportunities for a coffee, tea and snacks in the cafés, walks on nature trails in the woods, browsing in the gift store or simply some time to sit and relax. Most evenings, there are chanted prayers (attendance optional) held in the temple.
Where do I stay?
Limited on-site accommodations are available. If on-site beds have sold out, there are plenty of options in the local area, including hotels, motels, cozy B&Bs as well as airbnb.com options. If you belong to a Kadampa center, it’s always a good idea to check in with people from your center to see if there are opportunities to share travel and accommodation.
What should I bring with me?
April in Glen Spey is a beautiful time of year. Average temperatures are between 45 and 72, so definitely pack warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, but also a few t-shirts. Also, pack walking shoes or sneakers so that you can enjoy the beautiful woodland trails. It’s a good idea to bring sun protection, sunglasses and a hat, as well as a water bottle. Other items to pack: a sleeping bag and towel if you’re staying in the onsite dormitory, bathroom supplies, and a notebook for writing down your favorite parts of the teachings. Feel free to bring some money for coffee, tea and cakes in the cafés, or to buy some memorabilia in the gift store.
Can I arrive a day early or stay a day late?
Yes, you are welcome to arrive on Wednesday, April 24th or Thursday, April 25th to get settled in before the event starts. You are also welcome to spend the night on Wednesday, May 1st. You can book these extra days when registering for the event.
What kind of food is served?
All meals are vegetarian and may include gluten, egg, soy, and/or dairy products. We regret that it is not possible to provide for special diets during the Festival. In addition to the main meals, a selection of prepared and pre-packaged snacks, light meals, desserts and beverages will be available at the onsite cafés.
Can I bring my kids?
Absolutely! Children are very welcome at the US Festival. The Festival provides a wonderful environment for children, with lots of outdoor space and room to play. During teachings, audio will be provided in the World Peace Café at the back of the Temple for parents with children. Children’s activities (indoor and outdoor arts and crafts and games) will be available during the weekend’s afternoon breaks. Click here for more information about registering your child.
Is there onsite parking?
Limited parking is available at the festival site on a “first come, first serve” basis, but nearby parking lots will be available with shuttle services. Simply add the parking permit to your booking ($3-$5 per day). A parking pass will be given to you when you check in for the event.
Is it appropriate to come alone?
Yes, absolutely. Many people come on their own and leave having made many new friends. If you have any concerns about attending alone, please contact us at [email protected]stivalus.org and we’ll make every effort to connect you with one or more people attending from your local area.
Can I volunteer if this is my first time there?
Yes! Festivals are run 100% by volunteers! There are a variety of jobs to suit everyone, from cooking and cleaning to washing up, and helping out in the gift store. If you are coming from a Kadampa center, many times your center will have a special area to volunteer in, so check with your center managers to find out what the center job is. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us at [email protected].
Do you cater to people with special needs?
Parking & bathrooms for the disabled are available on site. There is wheelchair access to the Temple, World Peace Café, and gift shop. Please let us know about any special needs in advance through leaving a comment in the “special request” field in your booking form or by emailing [email protected] and we will do our best to help.