There is so much to see and do during Tournament Weekend! If 2021 will be your first visit, there are a number of ways to learn about what to expect as we release details. Keep connected with us on Facebook and Instagram, and right here on our website for updates. See below for a glimpse of it all!

Dancing  • Music • Lectures  • Animals  • Crafts  • Games  • Markets  • Encampments  • Weapons of War

At the heart of the Abbey Medieval Festival are our re-enactors, whose passion for history, commitment to authenticity, and love of all things medieval will inspire and entertain you.

You will experience aspects of medieval daily life, including traditional cooking and craftsmanship techniques, displays of pageantry, and, of course, the animals. You will feel the cannon blast and witness the firing of the largest functioning trebuchet in Australia. There will be jugglers, jesters, and musicians! There’s even a castle siege!

Wander through the bustling medieval marketplace and be transported back to another time and place. Did we mention the food? You will feast upon a variety of flavours spanning many cultures and traditions!

Come hungry for it all!

Dancing

Wandering the grounds of Abbeystowe during the Medieval Festival, you might be drawn to the sound of music in an encampment or one of the performance areas where re-enactors will be demonstrating all manner of medieval dance. From Turkish folk dances performed by members of the Janissary Barracks to the medieval Farandole or the Horses Brawl presented by the Companie of the Phoenix. There will be gypsy dancers, Middle Eastern dancers, and Morris dancers eager to entertain or teach Festival attendees a few steps. Whether you watch or join in, medieval dancing will entertain and engage.

Music

Medieval music can be heard in many of the encampments across the festival site and also on the Stag Inn stage. There you will listen to the sound of strange instruments like a hurdy gurdy or medieval bagpipe, a pipe, or a shawm. Medieval bands, such as Wayward or Pastance will entertain you while you enjoy a cold ale or mead.  In the Janissary Barracks or Historia encampments, you may hear the strange sounds of Saz Oud Ney and Daff. There is much entertainment to be enjoyed as the sounds of our medieval past carry on the air across Abbeystowe.

 

Lectures

There are many opportunities to learn at the Abbey Medieval Festival for those fascinated by history and love lifelong learning.  Check out what is happening in many medieval encampments where re-enactors are keen to share their knowledge and passion for history.   In the encampment of Eslite d’Corps, visitors can see a display and hear a talk on unusual weapons of the 14th century, or the Knights of the Long Dog will talk about the role of greyhounds in medieval times.

A program of lectures will also be presented at the Pageant Wagon.

 

Animals

If you visit the encampment of the ‘Horses, Hounds, Hunters and Farmers’ re-enactment group, you will see many animals common in the Middle Ages. There will be horses and donkeys – big and small – warhorses, packhorses and riding horses – maybe a mule. Also, poultry – chickens, roosters, and maybe quail and hounds- tall, small, sniffy and sleek, and some fast, lean ones too! We will also have medieval beehives called ‘skeps.’ But never fear – no bees – so no chances of stings!

Next door are the beautiful birds of prey under the watchful eye of the falconer. The Birds of Prey can be seen performing in the castle arena. Meet the brave horses who carry armoured knights in the jousting arena or the war steeds in the horse yards of the Order of the Horse. For the youngsters, there are camel rides to enjoy for a small fee.

Crafts

Many medieval re-enactors are very talented in recreating the arts and crafts from the medieval period. If you wander their encampments, you will see many in action. Also, in the markets, several demonstrators are making and selling their wares. These include woodturning on a pole lathe, pottery on a kick wheel, felt making, illumination and calligraphy, inkle loom weaving, and much much more.  You may be inspired to unleash your own creativity and try your hand at some of the workshops on offer.

Games

Games were a big part of recreation in the Middle Ages. Watch out for Viking re-enactors who might be playing games with exotic names such as Hnefatafl, Kubb, Nitau, and Halatafl. In the encampment of Historia, you will see Persian board and card games being played.

At the Make your Own Medieval encampment, they will be offering carnival games – games that might have been played at a medieval fair. These include cup-and-ball and ring toss, which can be played safely by our patrons, following social distancing and COVID safe guidelines.

The Order of Artisans and Kindred Spirits will be presenting children’s games, including Chicken in a basket, Paddle walking (requires two people), and Frog toss (not really a frog – it’s a bean bag). Games for young and old can be found throughout the festival site.

 

Markets

A stroll through the market at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival is a must for those looking for something different and tasty to eat or some retail therapy. With a wide range of traders selling everything from candles and herbs to costumes and hats. For lunch, you might partake in a venison pie or a delicious paella or German sausage. Sample some toffee apples or indulge in a sweet fruit tart.

Visit the many craft demonstrators who will show you how to make felt, illuminate a medieval manuscript, make a tankard or spin some wool.

Encampments

Over 760 medieval re-enactors from some 40 different groups will be setting up encampments at this year’s medieval festival. Patrons are invited to explore the encampments which will be alive with activities. Talk with the re-enactors as they go about their day preparing meals (medieval style), playing board games, practicing fighting skills, or doing crafts including spinning, illumination, embroidery, finger looping, lucet weaving and naelbinding to name a few.

Please remember to keep your social distance when wandering through the encampment and do not touch anything.

Weapons of war

The mighty siege weapons of the Middle Ages, such as the trebuchet, were used in many battles to bring down castle walls. You will see them on display and in action at the Abbey Medieval Festival if you visit the encampment of Cottereaux – Company of the Dagger. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, we saw the introduction of gun powder and cannon. Re-enactment group Condottieri holds all the firepower at the festival this year and will be firing the cannon on occasions throughout the Tournament weekend.

Over the Festival weekend, re-enactors compete to be crowned an Abbey Medieval Festival tournament champion. There are four tournaments – Jousting, Archery, Turkish Oil Wrestling and Skill at Arms. All are based on traditions of the Middle Ages! The champions are awarded and will be presented to our patrons during the Finale on Sunday afternoon.

Joust

One of the most popular attractions of the Abbey Medieval Festival is, without a doubt, the joust. The pageantry, suspense and action of this medieval sport has been a long tradition of the Abbey Medieval Festival, and is rightfully growing in popularity around the world.

The Joust at the Abbey Medieval Festival depicts a 15th century tournament. The best of Australian jousters will compete for the title!

 

Turkish Oil Wrestling

Carried out with traditional rituals and customs of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Oil Wrestling has been a star attraction of the Abbey Medieval Festival for over 10 years. The Janissary Barracks take great measures to ensure the authenticity of this great sport of medieval Ottoman Turkish culture, even the tight short leather trousers, called Kispet, are imported from Turkey!

Oil wrestlers from across Australia participate in this competition at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

 

Archery

The Archery Tournament is a long-running event as part of the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Hosted by the Traditional Archery Companye, the Archery Tournament sees skilled archers from re-enactment groups compete for the Abbey Tournament Archery Champion title.

The Archery Tournament typically sets three challenges for its competitors: the running boar to simulate a hunting scenario, a speed round with armoured knights charging toward the archers (yes, real knights), and a King’s round.

 

Skill at Arms

Hosted by the Company of the Phoenix, the Tournament of Strength and Skill is designed to test the physical prowess of our knights.

The tournament is something of a medieval ‘obstacle course’; designed for training for the field of battle, testing the challenger’s speed, strength, balance and agility.

 

Make a pilgrimage this year to Abbeystowe in the Moreton Bay Region, the home of the Abbey Medieval Festival!

It is a chance to step back in time as 1,000 years of history comes to life. It is authentic, inspirational and value for the entire family!