n Saturday the Sri-La Village will once more host the Spirit Festival organised by Siavash Wildhaven. The festival is the 4th of its kind and is a yearly event which was held the times before. To find out more about it I had an interview with him. Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “To start, what is the Sri-La festival, for those that haven't been in it before?” Siavash Wildhaven: “Pandaria’s culture is very centred around spirits. Where there is life, there are spirits and their nature varies greatly: Some are good aligned, some are vicious, and some are somewhere in between. Each year the veil between Azeroth and the spirit world fades, and aquatic spirits enter the village to explore and spread mischief. Aquatic spirits are whimsical like the element they originate from. They can be powerful allies and vicious masters and it is important to respect this. It is a great honour for me to help Sri-La Village host a festival with a tournament centred on the spirits to allow them to tumble and display their powers in a game that entertains them as well as the audience.” But someone with Siavash’s experience know how to turn a culture-based event like this in something that attracts people with different tastes when it comes to festivals. The key part of this one is its tournament that aims to make us come closer to spirts by working with them in a competition in celebration of Pandaria’s culture. Siavash Wildhaven: “Anyone can join the contest. What they require is to gather a minimum of three allied aquatic spirits who wish to unite as a team on the night. There'll be a sign-up slot of 4 contestants, and they fight through a single elimination system: contestant A fights B, C fights D. Then the losers of the two rounds fight to determine who wins Bronze, before the grand finale.” Once more the great Sunyiu Qiang-Dû will be commenting during the tournament for the delight of those watching, as she is quite appreciated by the public but also by the organiser. Siavash Wildhaven: “Sunyiu Qiang-Dû has always been very enthusiastic about the game, so when she asked if she'd be allowed to be commentator on the show, who could ever decline. The tournament would never be the same without her. She's such an established role in the show." The festival starts at eight in the evening. The host himself gave a detailed explanation of the schedule, and his recommendations to get the most out of it: Siavash Wildhaven: “The festival opens with an introductory speech at eight, by the altar upstairs: Not everyone who attend have had access to the festival program, so I like to just give a quick recap of the program. It's just a few minutes heads up and a chance for people to gather and see who else have joined. Straight after that, the sign up for the contest begins and runs till 8.30. It's a first come, first serve, with a favour of diversity, meaning if four of the first signed up contestants are Alliance and a Horde signs up next, the Horde contestant will be favoured and take the fourth Alliance's spot: we aim for the ideal of 50/50 Horde and Alliance if possible. Simultaneously with the sign up of the tournament, the market is open for browsing. The whole village will be a "sandbox" for traders to install themselves and trade. It tends to be a show in itself, as many are very creative with magic props and banners, making sure their stall stands out as something unique. At 9 PM the Tournament begin. Many traders proceed to trade while the tournament is running, but I recommend people allow themselves to take a break to watch the tournament. The last chapter of the night's program is the fireworks: I like to make all the festival goers part of the show, because I think it gives the best result and I also believe it's more fun for them to be an active part in the happening.” For those shopkeepers interested, the location of your stall is based on the order you arrive, to avoid empty spots due to last minute cancelations that could be used by others. I actually conducted this interview in the Sri-La Village, a small fishing village on the coast of Pandaria, a bit on the side of a small elevation the causes the village to have different levels connected by stairs. I asked Siavash about the choice of this place for the festival. Siavash Wildhaven: “Heh, well it actually started because of an old Hozen friend of mine: Huk-Huk. Some may remember him, as he used to host a "slicky grill" at my markets. He was very thrilled about the tournaments Sunyiu and I were hosting and came to me one day to ask if I could make an aquatic one. I tried to investigate the options and that's where I ironically found the answer in his home-realm: Pandaria and the spirits. Sri-La is a fishing village. This is where there's plenty of space to gather that energy that can attract spiritual energy. I mean they can naturally spawn anywhere they like, but they are by nature very drawn to humanoids and their emotions. So, a festival? It's not uncommon to spot supernatural beings at such places. If the festival is set in Pandaria. And well… we wanted to attract aquatic spirit energies, so that's where the fishing village made sense.” From my talk with Siavash I came to understand this project is quite important for him as it is his idea and it is a festival not related with any seasonal celebration, that are the most known events, but he also said a bit of what he hopes this event will mean for others and his expectations about it: Siavash Wildhaven: “I hope that by joining these events, people will be inspired to stay curious about Pandaren culture and spiritual mindfulness. I believe that it's something everyone can individually carry along as something valuable wherever they go, to also learn something about themselves.”