Festival hosts more than two hundred different events and activities – this page can only be an overview of some of the ones that are better known. If you’re new to Festival and not sure where to start, consider attending the Festival Tour hosted by Baroness Tórfa – it’s running on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons, meeting on the Great Hall verandah. Alternatively, you can jump right in!
On both Wednesday and Thursday night there will be a soup kitchen in the Hall: on Wednesday this will be accompanied by a (non-garbed) convivial gathering in the Tavern; on Thursday by a pot-luck Declaration Feast. After the feast on Thursday, the Barony of Innilgard is hosting the Red Frette Social, with cocktails, non-alcoholic refreshments, and light snacks. On Friday night, there will be a Memorial for our Fallen, where all who wish to speak or sing in remembrance of our dead may do so; Sir Berengar has offered to read out the words of those who are uncomfortable with public speaking.
Merchants, Auctions, and Paladin’s Pantry
There will be the usual proliferation of merchants around the Village Green (including the Floating Coffee Bar, and Golden Gryphon), and Market Day on Saturday.
The Ursulan Martyr Auction will be on Thursday night this year, and Fighter Auction on Saturday evening.
Paladin’s Pantry will be collecting unopened packets, jars, or cans of food and drink, unused shelf-stable food, unused hygiene products, and sleeping bags and tents in good condition for donation to Angels for the Forgotten, a local charity that helps those in need.
The Children’s Activity Space will be open every day for children and their parents or guardians to use, with some permanent activities sat up, and other scheduled classes and activities. There will be arts and crafts every day, and storytime on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. On Friday afternoon, the Children’s Ball will be held in the Hall, and the Children’s Quest will depart from the Activity Space on Sunday afternoon. For the martially inclined, the traditional Boffer Tourney will run on Saturday morning, as always, and the unmissable Children vs. Knights Battle will be on Monday afternoon. And on a practical note, there will be a Parents’ Meet, Greet, and Garb Swap on Saturday afternoon, so bring along those outgrown clothes to swap, donate, or sell.
Arts and Sciences
The list of Arts and Sciences classes at Festival is, of course, far too long to reproduce here – suffice to say, there are many. In fact, there are over a hundred A&S activities in total this year. Some of the major ones are listed below.
Competitions and Displays
This year there are a number of competitions and displays. Directly after opening court, any and all households, companies, shires, and baronies are invited to display themselves to the finest in a Declaration Procession. The Capsule Wardrobe Competition (to create a complete wardrobe for two, three, or four days, all appropriate to a single time and place) will run on Friday afternoon. Lochac’s Ultimate Food Fight (any period item(s) made by you from scratch), will be judged on Sunday afternoon. Laurel Prize will be on Saturday afternoon, as is traditional, and the Brewers’, Vintners’ and Imbibers’ Guild Competition will be held simultaneously.
Dance and Performance
There will be three balls this year, as usual: the Children’s Ball, the Country Ball, and the Caroso Ball, which for the first time is being run in conjunction with the Courtly Music Recital. This year, a number of stalwart souls, led by Eric the Fruitbat, have undertaken to recite the whole of the epic poem Beowulf (in translation) over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. There will also be an Early Music Jam on Friday morning, Choral Singing on Sunday Night, and the ever-popular Boar’s Head Theatre on Monday night.
Atelier is hosting three artisans’ spaces, available for classes, and also as areas for people to work on their own projects in company: the Dairy, the Forge and Furnace area, and the Artisans’ Pavilion – which on Thursday afternoon will host a Sewing Circle for all the garb that isn’t quite done. For those curious about or skilled in the fibre arts, Lady Elisabet’s Handspun Emporium will also be hosting skill sharing every day during merchants’ hours.
The ranges will be open every day (though not all day) for target archery, both for practice and in various competitive formats. There will be a Queen’s Round, a King’s Round, a Rowany Round, an IKAC, a clout shoot, a novelty shoot, and for children, a Monster Hunt on Sunday afternoon.
The Equestrian Field will be open for training in a range of mounted games every day, and the archery range available to mounted archers for an hour each day except Monday. There will be mounted combat on Saturday afternoon, and a Ballet du Cheval performance on Monday afternoon.
Rapier at Festival begins directly after Opening Court, with the Declaration Procession and Declaration/Valhalla Tourney. This will be followed by a Novices’ Tourney and a Cut and Thrust Tourney, simultaneously in neighbouring fields. Friday will feature a Youth Tournament in the morning, and Rapier War in the afternoon. Saturday will host Melee Games, a Baroness’ Tourney, and a Veterans’ Tourney, and on Sunday there will be the Rapier Fighter Auction Tourney and a Teams’ Tourney. On Monday, there will be a Queen’s Glove of Courtesy event, and the Women’s Tourney. Guild Prizes will be on Friday morning, and there are rapier classes spread throughout the event. Each evening at 8pm there is also a Rapier Social.
This Festival is full of opportunities for heavy combat, beginning with the Declaration Procession and Tourneys after Opening Court on Thursday, followed swiftly by the Pole Arm Tourney. Friday features a Rose Tourney and Combat of the Thirty, and the always-well-populated Fighter Auction Tourney will begin on Sunday morning. The Heraldic Melee on Monday will wrap up the tourney schedule, (except for the Children vs. Knights Battle just afterwards).
War is running over three days this year. On Friday morning, there will be war scenarios based on field battles and forest skirmishes. (There will be Rapier War in the afternoon.) On Saturday afternoon after Royal Court, there will be scenarios focused on forts, bridges, and other restricted spaces. And on Sunday after the completion of the Rapier Fighter Auction Tourney, there will be ‘Who Dunn It’ war, with scenarios using the murder room/village.