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Fun things to do

Fun things to do at Festival

Duena Acacia de Navarre

So you have suffered the long drive to festival, past sleepy towns, visiting way too many fast food joints and old pubs. Down long roads that never seem to have any bends. Admiring trees that turn colours you never see in Queensland. You arrive at festival, stiff and sore from too long in a car … and it is a dusty paddock – so when does the fun start! There are tons of things to do at festival but like all the best mischief you do need to go look for it. Firstly when you arrive at the gate you should get your timetable of events, this is a gold mine of information and should be studied. This will let you know when all the arts and science collegia are on, wars, fencing tourneys, dance balls, archery tourneys, guild and other meetings - Best to keep in your pouch or bag for reference.

Now your on site and it is time to explore, first place to turn up to is the village green, this is the hub of festival site, here you will find the tavern, wine bar, coffee shop and medieval merchants which are set up for festival – beware the evil purveyors of books, personally I think I should just hand over my credit card at the door, I am sure they would spend less than I do. Don’t forget to check out the range of pewter pilgrim’s tokens, this is not how they teach medieval at schools. Also at the village green is the great hall, this is the main site for courts as well as dance balls and bardic circles. On Sunday there is even a mass held on site for those who wish to attend. Near the great hall is the officer’s tent (great if you have lost anything as this is where the lost property is taken).

OK now you have your bearings, go have a wander and check out some of the campsites, there are period campsites which are amazing to behold as well as the more party orientated sites. One of the best ways to visit all the campsites, meet a lot of people and help out in the organisation is to volunteer as a constable (go to the officers tent). If you have never done this before, don’t worry, they will team you with someone who knows the rules. Your job will be to check out all the campsites and make sure everything is safe, nice excuse to see what each of the groups gets up to.

Things are always happening at festival, some of my favourites include:

  • The bardic circle in the great hall on Saturday night; hear some of the best entertainers (and at least a few drunken sing-a-longs) in the kingdom.
  • The Children’s quest, if you see trolls and other large legendary characters wandering the campsite being attacked by large bands of roving short people, don’t panic it is the children’s quest. Watch as the children work there way through riddles and other mind bending puzzles to solve the quest.
  • Watching children fully armed and battle ready is always fun, which is why it is worth a look at the children’s boffer tourney. You can even buy a child for the tourney and cheer them on. There is also the rumour that the King and his knights will try and take back the children’s fort…last year the children won it in a very spectacular battle from the knights. Every war tactic possible was used by the children and the knights were well and truly routed. A return battle is on the cards … listen out for announcements.
  • St Ursula’s Martyr Auction. Need someone to help carry that armour to or from the war field? or do your washing roster? Then have we got the slaves for you. Come along and help the poor students of St Ursula get to the college wars by bidding on a Martyr. A martyr will do a couple of hours work for you at a time over festival – goodness all round.
  • Speaking of bidding don’t forget the fighter auction on Sunday night in the tavern. Buy as many or as good a fighter as your purse will bear and where they come in the tourney entitles you to the spoils of battle….greed is good!
  • Brewers breakfasts: some of the finest brewers in the kingdom get to compare the fruits of their labour at a time way too early in the morning.
  • Market day on Saturday morning, Laurels Prize Tourney on Saturday afternoon, Pirate parties and plank walking, all the no sh*t there I was stories from all the battles, tourneys or visits to the tavern / wine bar.

There is always something going on, I have been going for years and I still never get to do it all. But don’t worry, there is always next year so you can do all the stuff you missed this year!