Children at the festival

What’s there for the Kids and Families?

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Image: BCroese)

A fun-day out with the family is so important and therapeutic today and we are acutely aware that Mums and Dads are very selective with their down-time choices.  Families work hard, endure hard times – perhaps different to what medieval families had to endure – but nonetheless –  both visible and invisible difficulties are surmounted each day by children.  So kicking back and bonding with the members of your family is very important.  To including learning and fun is a must from our side and we hope that this year, you will see that, more than every before, the kids are the winners!

Immersive Edu-tainment for the Family

The festival interweaves very unique opportunities for families to come together, wind-down and indulge in vivid and colourful imagination – This is just what kids love and want and as adults, this is where we can really learn from our kids – fun is therapy. It makes us feel better.  No explanations necessary.  We promise you, there’s fun to be had at this festival.

Kids and Families at the Festival

Kids at the Abbey Medieval Festival (Image: BCroese)

So what do we have in store for you this year?

Kids of all ages will clap, cheer, and laugh themselves silly when Domino the Jester takes the stage. Get ready for fantastic feats of juggling, brilliant balancing and mystifying magic. More?

The Abbey House Troupe will tell stories of medieval legends for children at the Pageant Wagon stage. Led by a narrator, the troupe will act out scenes from King Arthur, Robin Hood and St. George and the Dragon. More?

For the older kids,  those interested in the evolution of medieval garb, why not take a tour through the transition of fashion from early period through to the late medieval period as models display the evolution of clothing influenced by construction techniques, politics and status.  They will never complain about their school uniform again!

Kids Dig It!Medieval Family Fun WEEK!

This is where the fun gets serious!  A week-long of children’s activities themed on medieval daily life takes place from 2-6th July at the Abbey Museum.  You could travel back in time somehow for these experiences, or you could just come to Caboolture’s award winning Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology to join in all-day activities including the Abbey signature events – the Archaeological Digs and Archery.  New this year will be Make a Poppet, Page training and for two mornings you’ll have the chance to take part in Archery Skirmish.  You will also find medieval combat, needlework and illuminating letters masterclasses and there’s a costume competition with a prize each day!

And if all this is too much, parents can hang out at the Abbey Cafe.

Tickets can be booked here:

 

Animals of the festival

Animals of the Festival

The significance of animals in the Middle Ages

In comparison to our lives today, life in the dark and middle ages was not easy.  Peoples’ routines revolved around the seasons – which would signify whether or not they had food – but hand-in-hand for the people that lived during those centuries were the animals that served them.  Animals served as transport, hunters, food and companions and played a very important role.

We think that this year the animals deserve homage! All of the critters including the monstrous and mighty right down to the meek and minuscule.

From the animals essential to life and survival such as chicken, bees, sheep, goats, swine and cattle; the hunting and herding dogs, the draft animals that carried food and supplies  and then on to the horses that carried people on their travels and into the hunt and to war…. Animals served a huge role in the lives of their owners.

The Abbey Medieval Festival attracts over 30,000 people across Australia who make the annual pilgrimage to Caboolture, Queensland for two-days of non-stop feasting, music, dancing and drama of Medieval era. And this year – we honour the Animals too! 

Honour the horses and hounds

The bloody hand-to-hand warfare that raged across continents throughout the dark and middle ages is owed just as much to the horses as it does to the men that fought in them.   Arabs outmanoeuvred their enemies in the desert on camels and horses, Vikings knew to make a beeline for the stables during raids in order to maintain their mobility on land  and European warfare owed much to the horses, mules and donkeys that carried them into battle and carried their supplies.

Medieval Greyhounds“We’ve got dogs, horses, goats and even chickens from the Dark ages and the Middle ages; we have animals that hark back to the Viking age; we’ve got Arabic dogs and horses that have changed little over time and we have a wide range of Medieval dogs, horses and chickens found during those times. We even have some of the oldest documented types of dogs represented, the Irish wolfhound, the greyhound and the Saluki” says Joust co-ordinator,  Paula Winkel.

Two Irish wolfhounds will feature at this year’s festival. Paula says there were depictions of this type of dog in manuscripts dating back to the pre-Christian era and historical accounts of “large rough coated hairy dogs  guarding houses and hunting wolves that had a close resemblance to the Irish wolfhound”.  Irish wolfhounds were highly valued for their large size and strength, and ownership of the swift Greyhound was restricted to nobility.

Unlike today, when breed and look are all-important factors, animals were usually differentiated by their use, their region of origin or their type and rather than by breed.  For example, Horses in the Middle Ages were described as “chargers or Destriers” (war horses), Courser (fast  racing horses) “Palfreys” (riding horses),  and “Sumpters” (packhorses).  And dogs that hunted by scent were called “Lymers” and Dogs that hunted by sight were called “Greyhounds”, “Aulants” were hounds that went after bigger game, and the “Mastiff” was a heavy set dog for really big game and for guarding,  and the “Kennet” were the smaller hunting dogs.

Birds and beasts and bees……

Falcons and hawks will feature at this year’s festival along with a range of dogs, horses and poultry that will see festival-goers having the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the birds and beasts. And look out for the bee-keepers, the humble buzzing bee makes an inaugural appearance this year.

Medieval Bee Keeping

Medieval Apiary (Image from Pinterest)

Paula says the key to hosting Australia’s most authentic re-enactment festival is fastidious attention to detail.
“We’re purists, we want this to look, sound, smell and feel as much like the Middle and Dark Ages as possible,” she says.

“Animals are key to that and a whole lot of detail and research into designing the Medieval costumes  for their handlers,  the type for fencing and cages, right down to the leather gear for the horses and dogs.

“Yes it’s slightly obsessive referring to manuscripts to make sure we get every detail correct; but there’s also a lot of satisfaction that goes behind making the attire to fit us and the animals perfectly.

“The festival is all about fun, adventure and history. So, travel back in time and have a blast.”  Located in Caboolture, The Abbey Medieval Festival, run by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, will be held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July at 1-63 The Abbey Place, Caboolture.

Get you tickets online here!

(Blog in conjunction with Paula Winkel, Abbey Medieval Festival Joust Co-ordinator and  Moreton Life magazine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteering – Give it a go!

5 ways you can benefit from volunteering

Some people might think that if you volunteer, you waste your time because you don’t get anything out of it and it’s only for people who have nothing to do!

Actually,  that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Are you missing something from your life and you don’t quite know what? Are you an ‘all work and no play’ type of person but find it hard to wind-down and keep a hobby?

Volunteering is a great way to add to your life, build up resilience and feel like the person that you really want to feel like.

Get active!  Get alive!   and get that feeling of satisfaction that comes with doing good.

We have some wonderful volunteers at the Abbey Medieval Festival, some of whom come back to us year after year.  This might explain why!

 

What contributing to your community can do for you!

  • Are you between jobs? – use your time to volunteer and keep your skills up to date
  • Are you recovering from illness? If you can’t commit to a full time job yet, use your time to volunteer and build up strength and stamina until you are fully fit again
  • Are you new to the area? Consider volunteering to make friends and contacts to help you feel connected with your community
  • Put that  smile on your dial – where it belongs! – There’s nothing like giving to make you feel better
  • Oh and here’s one, if you are fed up on on-line dating……why not give volunteering a go to see if you can meet some ‘real live’ people.

 

Volunteering for the  Abbey Medieval Festival is and incredible experience.  It’s not just fun, it’s educational.  Applications are now open – apply here!

Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

2018 Abbey Medieval Festival Hero

The face of the  Abbey Medieval Festival 2018

Festival Hero

(Photo by B Croese)

(Photo by B Croese)
Who is our 2018 festival hero?

Introducing Mr. Blair Martin, a multi-award winning Brisbane based actor, speaker, broadcaster, writer, director, entrepreneur and ‘Something Else’!
In 2018,  Blair will celebrate being the voice behind the microphone, the Master Herald at our annual medieval event and the announcer of all things… important or not… for the last two decades.   He is also the Steward of the Hall at both medieval banquets keeping the esteemed guests, the Lords and Ladies and Very Important People,  well entertained throughout the evening with his droll humor and witty wit. His extensive medieval knowledge, his spirit and pizzazz has made him a legend to many visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival over the years. With a character that’s larger than life, a stature that leaves you in awe and admiration, the face of this 29th festival is truly our hero and has been for quite some time.

Festival Hero and ‘Something Else’!

Born and raised in Rockhampton, Blair has many strings to his artistic bow ranging from wildly colourful comic characters, MC services, and innovative corporate concepts and events including the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Blair is a also mastermind  for his ability to recall the most arcane list of facts, figures and quirky stories, and these are by no means limited to  medieval tid-bits.  Blair was a champion on the Australian production of the TV quiz show, ‘Jeopardy’, and in June 2007, Blair became the 6th Grand Champion of the hit Channel 9 quiz program ‘Temptation’.  In 2014,  Blair won one of the inaugural gold medals for the Trivia competition as part of the bienniel Pan-Pacific Masters Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and backed that up with a second gold medal in the same division at the 2016 PanPacs.

In various previous lives, Blair worked as the public face of many projects and jobs ranging from cinema usher to hotel receptionist and his talent for training, team-building and motivation of others, was and remains his personal brand. In 1993,  Blair started his own business called ‘Something Else Entertainment

Without a doubt, the Medieval Festival wishes to acknowledge and thank Blair for his creative  and dedicated services since 1998 and we recognise, also without a doubt, that every year, he just gets better!  He certainly is ‘Something Else’!

Thank you,  Blair. We appreciate you!

 

Stallholders at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hark! Medieval stallholders, traders and vendors – we want you!

Stallholder and Craft demonstratorMerchants and stallholders selling or demonstrating wares at the medieval market-place is one of the most popular attributes of the Abbey Medieval Festival and a much loved favourite of fans and visitors!

The aim of the festival is to provide an authentic medieval environment, including the market place and each year about sixty carefully selected stallholders take part.  Stalls include medieval food, arts, crafts and weapons such as medieval swords or shields. The period re-created at the Abbey Medieval Festival covers a thousand years – from AD 600 to 1600 – allowing a great variety of re-enactment arts and crafts.  

What medieval goods do you have to sell or demonstrate?

High standards are set for our merchants, crafts persons or artisans, with the bench-mark being raised year-on-year, in order to consistently improve on our reputation as Australia’s most authentic medieval event.  With almost 30,000 visitors annually, we welcome new merchants and crafts persons to our market. Participation is on a first-come, first-accepted process, providing the criteria is met.  If you would like send us an expression of interest, please read the 2018 Medieval Stallholder Requirements, and check the costuming standards or Rosalie’s Medieval Woman for costumes.  Wearing a costume appropriate to your time period is a requirement and a general reference to the particular era your goods relate to should also be made in your application.

Demonstrators’ stalls

Demonstrators of crafts should use materials of the period; for instance, card-weaving displays should have cards of appropriate materials, such as leather, bone or wood. Modern playing cards used in tablet weaving displays are not in keeping with our medieval theme and are not acceptable.  We accept that some crafts may need to use some modern tools and materials however, these should be kept to a minimum and if possible out of sight of the public. Blatantly modern items are not in keeping with our medieval theme and should be hidden or eliminated.   And each year we ask traders to work a little harder to become an authentic participant!

Here are some examples of our stallholders  or demonstrator skills that we are sourcing:

  • Calligraphy
  • Illumination
  • Book binding
  • Leatherwork
  • Jewellery
  • Metalwork and blacksmithing
  • Armour and weapons
  • Enamel work
  • Carving in wood, bone, antler and ivory
  • Mosaic
  • pottery
  • Glasswork
  • Stained glass
  • Painting in fresco, tempera and oils
  • Stonework
  • Embroidery and other textile arts
  • Spinning, weaving and dying
  • Tablet weaving
  • Braid making
  • Cooking

 

We especially welcome purveyors of crafts that are specifically medieval, such as pilgrim badge makers, potters making authentic medieval pottery, costumers in the style of the period, armourers, and so on.

Express your interest!

So, if you are a merchant or craft-person selling or demonstrating wares that were part of the artistic heritage of the Middle Ages, we want you! Submit your expression of interest to join the market-place stalls for 2018.

To Joust another day…

joust

To Joust Another Day…

The trumpets blare and the crowds roar as mounted knights make their way into the arena.  Their armour glints as it is caught by the winter sun and their banners flap in the breeze announcing the colours and heraldry of each rider.

Then, the pageantry and ceremony over,  the knights prepare themselves and their trusty steeds for the first joust of the Abbey Medieval Festival 2017.

The first two knights enter the arena and present themselves to the crowd.

The air is charged with excitement and anticipation, the cry goes up from the herald and the thundering horse charge down the centre list with knight, lances extended before them staring determinately towards their opponent.

 

How does the point system work?

When two knights joust each other, it’s called a “pass”.  At the Abbey joust each knight will generally do three (3) passes against each opponent and the points they score will accumulate over the weekend. At this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival joust there will be ten (10) knights jousting for honour. So there will be plenty of action for visitors to see. The Abbey joust works in a round robin-so every knight has the same chance, and gets the opportunity to joust against all their fellow knights!

So we all want to know – what can a knight hit with their lance to score points?

The shield!!!         Yes!! Best option!

The head?              Nooooo (not at the Abbey joust!)

The torso?              Yes!!!! Second best option-the armour is there for a reason!

Below the belt?   No no no!!

The horse??          Never!!! Knights would rather injure themselves than hurt a horse!

 

Scoring points:

1 point for a touch – the lance hits the target area but didn’t break-marshals will often check the tips of such lances to see if they have deformed or carry paint marks from the shield.

2 points for a break – one piece has broken off the lance.

And every jousters favourite…

3 points for a shatter! The lance has broken into two or more pieces! Stuff flies everywhere and the audience roars!!!

So, what about knocking a knight off their horse? Well, at the Abbey joust- knights don’t really get extra points for that.. as you would imagine it can be quite dangerous and of course we want our knights to joust another day.

On some occasions, you see true chivalry and knightly virtue in action. One knight might offer their opponent a “mercy pass”, this is where a knight will ride down the list (that’s the area where the joust takes place) without their lance and presenting their shield clearly to their opponent… now that is what we call brave!

In addition to an afternoon devoted to jousting at the Friday joust tourney on  7th July, at the Abbey Medieval Festival there will be four jousts on Saturday and four on Sunday at 10.45 am, 12:15 pm, 1:45 pm and 3:15 pm.  Ensure you get to see this sport of kings and purchase your tickets on line or at the Festival.

 

What’s NEW to Abbey Medieval Tournament?

Whether you’re new to the Abbey Medieval Festival or are familiar with the tournaments and attend every year, this year is set to be bigger and better than ever! This blog will keep you updated as the program develops and we hope it will serve as a reference to keep you informed.

What’s new in 2018

This year, along with existing four tournaments of the festival (namely the jousting, the Turkish oil wrestling, the tournament of strength and skill, the Archery), a fifth tournament will be added.

The Holmgang.

Presented to you by Staraya ladoga (Stray Dogs), this group which is based around Brisbane re-enacts the periods from 900-1000AD, Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages.

The Rus Vikings from Staraya Ladoga offer the opportunity to observe the aspects of life of a bygone era and demonstrate influences gained through trade and the exploration of their surroundings.  Their campsite displays traditional Rus Viking style tents, cooking hearth with period equipment, woodworked items including seating and chests made from patterns in archaeological Viking finds. Activity at the campsite includes traditional Viking activities—tanning of hides using traditional natural tanning methods, longbow archery, cooking and craft activities. Evenings are spent feasting, carousing with copious quantities of ale and mead, music and Skaldic verse. In between performances, the Stray Dogs work on clothing research and construction by hand, shoe-making, armour and weapon production by hand and social get-togethers. And this year, they present the Holmgang!

The HolmgangBanquet

From Onomatopoeia alone, you can guess that this is going to be arduous – the Holmgang – is a Viking way to sort out disagreements.  Practiced by early medieval Scandinavians, in theory, regardless of your social status, if you have been insulted or offended, you can call for a Holmgang.  Examples of disagreement could be over matters of honour, property, legal or to avenge a friend. The duel can take place on a small piece of land, or even a cloak and Holmgangs can end in the death or incapacitation of the other – although the Abbey Medieval Festival Holmgang – will not.  More details to come.

The Banquets

New banquet entertainment – This year, patrons will have the pleasure of hearing the melodic tones of our harpist Raven Lamont; while they partake in authentic medieval hand washing prior to an evening filled with sumptuous food and enchanting performances. The banquet experience is something that you will think and talk about for a long time – you have to do it at least once!

 

Get your tickets now to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the amazing experiences brought to you by the Abbey Medieval Festival team.

A Wayward Sound

A Wayward Sound

 

For more than a dozen years the characteristic sound of Wayward’s hurdy gurdy and medieval pipes has been part of the Abbey Medieval Festival.

The name of the band relates to the portrayal of the wandering musicians of the Middle Ages. Often referred to as “Jongleurs”, these musicians would travel the country playing for nobility and common folk alike. Not under the protection of lord and law these musicians stood outside normal society ― ‘wayward’, but free. They would travel from town to town bearing news and entertaining people by playing music, juggling and acting out short plays and fables often utilising puppets, masks and costumes.

As the festival grew, so did their involvement ― from just wandering the grounds playing music to entertaining at the Abbey Medieval banquets, holding lectures and facilitating workshops.

In line with a true portrayal of Jongleurs, Wayward expanded its performance repertoire to also include medieval street theatre elements ― namely hobbyhorses as well as a giant processional puppet.
The hobbyhorses became so popular with the public, that the Abbey decided to hold hobby-horse making workshops in 2006, asking Ricarda to lead these.

Wayward’s repertoire extends from the early 11th Century to the 16th Century with the main focus on the songs of the French Trouvères and Troubadours and German Minnesingers, who while singing songs of unrequited love, also sang of crusades and the basic pleasures in life ― eating, drinking and the prospect of warm bed. Wayward perform songs in English, French, German, Swedish & Latin.

Check out Wayward’s new CD “Rota Fortunae” on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/waywardminstrels