Abbey Medieval Festival 2012 (part 1)

We enjoyed the Abbey Medieval festival 2011 (which I talked about here and here) so much we thought we’d go again this year. 37,500 people went this time – 10,000 more than last year. We got there 45 minutes before opening time, but being near the head of the queue – which gets veerrry looong – has its advantages, plus we had interesting conversations with our enthusiastic co-queuers who were often in costume. Getting a weekend ticket means there is plenty of time to stroll around and see things, and re-visit if inspired, on both days.

There are many photos by photographers better than me on flickr – of fighting and jousting and such – so if you search-engine that together with the festival name, you’ll see them. There’s also some excellent ones, of the less martial sort (which I myself prefer), at Heart of a Gypsy here.

I’ll post some of my own that are different.

Lady and barn owl at the falconry exhibit

These visitors were VIPs (sponsors of the festival) – they told me their costumes were “fantasy”, rather than going for “authentic”, but they still looked good …

Vikings were a popular re-enactment subject. Here’s a 9th century Viking trader …

9th century Viking trader

One Viking group, the Norviks, is building a small-scale Viking ship. According to the Abbey website:

The Nordic Viking Society (Norviks) is a re-enactment group representing the Vikings from the northern countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.

Before 793 AD, the rest of the medieval world knew little about the Vikings, but that all changed when the Vikings started exploring Europe by its oceans and rivers, through trade and warfare.  They used their graceful, long, narrow, light, wooden Viking longships, designed for speed.

As a true Viking re-enactment group, the Norviks have their own replica Viking ship, ‘Fafnir’, loving hand-made by members using traditional methods.  At the Abbey this year, the public will get the opportunity to experience ‘Fafnir’, magnificently rigged with its full square sail and dragon-headed prow.  The group will also display and demonstrate Viking weaponry, tools, blacksmithing, jewellery making, weaving, runewriting and children’s games.

And here’s the Fafnir …

The Viking ship, Fafnir

The ‘Fafnir’ is named after the gold-loving dwarf who was turned into a dragon that guarded treasure, in Nordic fable.

Here is the daughter of the boat-builder. Her character name is Verdandi.

Viking girl, Verdandi

Here’s what may be a shaman – she said she wasn’t a historical ‘character’ as such, but just liked to dress this way …

The grand parade showed off over 30 re-enactment groups for all over the world. You can see descriptions of some of them here. The Abbey festival is the largest re-enactment festival in the southern hemisphere …

Grand Parade

A period canon was shot at the start of the parade …

Period canon – very loud

Traders were out in force …

The Shuvani Romani (note: do not call them “gypsies” as they do not like that) …

… had a large encampment …

Shuvani caravan

Part of the Shuvani camp

A knight and his lady …

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) hosted a detailed talk about costumes, which I will cover in part 2.

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6 Responses to Abbey Medieval Festival 2012 (part 1)

  1. Pingback: Abbey Medieval Festival 2012 (part 2) | A-roving I will go

  2. Pingback: Abbey Medieval Festival 2012 (part 3) | A-roving I will go

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing my link on your blog post. I love all the info you’ve put on about the festival. My blog posts are photo heavy and lack all the background info. Great job!

  4. Pingback: Abbey Medieval Festival 2012 (part 4) | A-roving I will go

  5. Cath Clark says:

    Ah, to be a Romani drum song woman…

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