My Banquet Experience

Read this wonderful blog on a guest’s Banquet Experience

Banquet

Last year was my first year at the Abbey Festivals’ Medieval Banquet and WOW! My Husband and I had been anticipating it as I prepared our outfits for the night. We had some preconceptions about how it might be but in no way were we expecting what we got. Did it live up to our expectations? NO IT DID NOT! To be truthful it far exceeded them all.

When we arrived we joined the line waiting patrons who had also obviously spent many hours and or dollars on their costumes. The display of regalia was superb, from full skirts to fur hats, belts garnished by every medieval accessory required for such an event. As the line moved we had the opportunity to watch other Lords & Ladies take their turn to have a photo taken of themselves in a special portrait booth and, of course, we had ours done also. What a great souvenir of the night!

Our anticipation grew as we edged closer to the Banquet Hall, spurred on by medieval buskers. We approached the table with tickets in hand and were introduced to our first medieval custom of the night. Our hands were washed with fragrant rose-scented water and gently dried. I mean, the last time that happened to me I was a wee toddler and the washer was my Mum. Off to a good start.

We entered a Banquet Hall, the surrounding walls covered with giant banners, tables decorated with ivy and candles, subdued lighting (but not dark) at the front of the Hall was the High Table for Honoured Guests. Unfortunately we were not to be seated there but had been lucky enough to purchase tickets on the centre isle and quite close to the front. We found our seats and sat for several moments just taking it all in. My husband was a little confused as to why there was the cut bottom of a large round loaf of bread in front of him. Luckily the person next to him had been to previous events and stopped him before he could break off a piece of the bread. ‘That’s your plate’ he said and proceeded to educate us about the ‘trencher’. Phew, just dodged our first arrow.

Then we spotted the Bar and made our way across. I ordered a Mulled Wine and Hubby had a Honey Mead. Both were so yummy we were back in the line soon after for seconds.

We just made it back to our seats when the Honoured Guests arrived in a procession down the isle. I curtsied deeply and Hubby bowed low as they passed by. The Steward of the Hall introduced each of the High Table Guests. Oh my Goodness, this guy kept us in stitches all night with medieval style banters and quips. At one point he chanted something in Latin and his voice was so powerful it gave me goose bumps.

The sumptuous food was served over several courses, or ‘removes’ in medieval terms, each platter was shared among those seated around us and there was plenty to go around. If there was anything left on the platters my Hubby cleaned them off. He’s a huge eater that never puts on weight so I was quite astonished that he commented on how full he was by the end.

Throughout the night my excitement levels were kept high by entertainment from the Steward of the Hall, roving minstrels, a band of gypsy dancers in stunning costumes and jewellery. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the Fire Tribe performed a breathtaking display. I could have reached out and touched them and the heat which emanated from their fire sticks and hoops took my heart rate to fever pitch.

All too soon the Honoured Guests were escorted from the High Table. We were reluctant to leave the Hall and the new friends we’d made, but all good things must come to an end. We talked about the event all the way home and then went through it all again over a coffee & port, promising that we would return for the next years’ Banquet.

We saw the Facebook post on the Abbey Medieval Festival page about the new ‘Premium Seating’. I thought “Oh my, I can get all this again plus the ability to rest my tender tushy on a cushy. I’m getting our tickets the day they go on sale”.

To finish up, I can’t wait till Banquet night is upon us again, Tickets have been purchased and printed out, costumes have been made and we’re bringing friends with us who have never been before. I can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces. My only regret is that we have to wait a whole year between events.

MEDIEVAL MARKETPLACE: Food, Wine, Weapons and Crafts.

Good morrow, good people. The year 2014 carries us to the 25th anniversary of the annual Abbey Medieval Festival. This silver celebration will see the Medieval Marketplace bustling with excitement as Brave Knights, Warriors and Fair Ladies come from across the ages to choose where to spend their hard earned Gold Pieces. Fill your bellies with food from across the Middle Ages. Find the licensed taverns to enjoy medieval brews. Browse rows of markets to adorn yourselves with various medieval crafts and weaponry. All of our exciting markets will be easy to find with a two page spread in the festival program – read on to get to know what to expect from the Medieval Marketplace.

The Medieval Marketplace will be brimming with foods from the Middle Ages of Western Europe and the Near East. Imagine the scent of hot baking bread, sizzling whole pig on the spit, lamb shanks, venison, beef, chicken legs and fire grilled sausages. Now, think about a bouquet of spiced vegetables and stews cooked over a hot wood fire. Flavours that have been enjoyed for centuries all come to life at the Abbey. Foods that make the cool Abbey days warm. Taste the sweet delights that have been made with ancient recipes, all perfect for a weekend of medieval faire fun. There are options available for all diets – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and those with a nagging sweet tooth. No need to pack a lunch, feast at the festival!

The famous Stag Inn and Friars Folly Tavern will be helping us all to celebrate in fine medieval style. The Stag Inn, found in the main market area, will be serving their renowned array of hot pies, platters and toasted mulled wine, medieval ciders and cordials in a rustic straw laden encampment, complete with fire and wooden tables. At the Jousting end of the festival you’ll find Friars Folly Tavern, positioned right next door to the musical entertainment, Friars Folly is a prime location for merriness and tasting of premium recipes of herbed beer, and it is only a stone’s throw from the Jousting Arena!

The choice of Craft and Weaponry found at the festival makes holding on to Gold Pieces even more difficult than the smell of fresh food. Be prepared to find quality medieval items ranging from superior clothing, home decor, swords, axes, helms, games, jewellery, museum souvenirs and artwork from specialist merchants with the tricks of the trade.

With all of this in mind, be sure to pick up a program at the gates. All of the stalls will be numbered on an easy to use map. The food, craft and licensed areas will be named and numbered, and speciality stalls with vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options highlighted for ease of enjoyment at the festival. We are looking forward to showcasing the finest medieval merchants at the 2014 Abbey Medieval Festival. Help us celebrate the Middle Ages in all of its glory.

Giants are coming to the Abbey Medieval Festival

We are very excited to announce that we will be presenting a Giants Parade to celebrate our 25th anniversary; and we want to give you the chance to help us make it possible. We will be joining forces with Upatree Arts Cooperative to deliver a series of workshops on the techniques used to create these puppets, so this is your chance to get involved, get creative and have your work showcased at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

I’m sure some of you may be scratching your heads at the moment, so let us begin with: What exactly is a giant?

I’m glad you asked. To start at the beginning, giants were part of pageantry and celebration during the Medieval and Tudor eras; most famously they featured as part of the Midsummer Watch Parade in Chester from the 1400s. Guilds would band together to create these 12ft tall structures out of buckham and pasteboard that were paraded by two or more men. Unfortunately this tradition was banned in the late 1600s, but has since been revived and is part of many medieval festivals and celebrations throughout Europe today.

So why host a Giants Parade? The Abbey Medieval Festival organising committee wanted to create something special and unique to mark our 25th anniversary, and thought the tradition and pageantry of a giants parade would achieve this. Combining forces with Upatree Arts to deliver these workshops is our small way of saying thank you to those who have supported us over the years.

A wonderful team of artists from Upatree Arts Cooperative will be running 6 workshops on the different phases and techniques used to create these giant puppets and you are invited to attend. Participants will get the chance to learn about screen and sun printing, collagraph, design, costuming and puppet construction.

We kick things off with a workshop on screen printing and collagraph on Saturday, 10th May from 9.00am at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. More information regarding this and future workshops will be posted on our website very soon.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to thank our supporters – give you a chance to create a special moment for this event and watch your work with pride at the Abbey Medieval Festival. We hope to see you there!

Medieval Airport!

Abbey Medieval Festival at Brisbane Airport

 The Abbey Medieval Festival has an awesome surprise for you if you are travelling interstate or internationally during the upcoming school holidays! As part of our strategy to expand markets, both within Australia and overseas, from the 1st of June to the first week of July, tickets to the Abbey Medieval Festival will be available for sale at the international terminal of Brisbane Airport!

Look for our huge banner and posters that feature the Hero image of the Abbey Medieval Festival! Airport staff and ambassadors for the Abbey Museum will also be sporting Abbey Medieval Festival t-shirts and are happy to pass on information about the Festival!

So stop for a moment, buy a ticket, bring your friends and family and travel back to a time gone but not forgotton.  Press a mental pause on the trains, planes and automobiles and transform yourself physically and mentally to a life that your ancesters might have experienced.  The Abbey Medieval Festival is held on the 6th and 7th of July and the festival is your ticket to time travel.  This celebration is the biggest and most authentic medieval showcase in the southern hemisphere and we are so fortunate to have it on our doorstep in Queensland!  Normally, you might have to travel to Europe to see a spectacular as good as this one and this year is no exception! It’s getting bigger and better than ever before! And having tickets at the airport makes it one step easier for you.

Fill your weekend with enthrallig displays from musicians, dancers and street performers from across Australia and overseas, experience battle re-enactment, jousting, archery, Turkish oil-wrestling, gypsy dance, arts and crafts, authentic medieval delicacies and so much more! There is so much to see and do! You will wish the festival ran for months!!

For more information please call the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology on 5495 1652, or visit our webpage at www.abbeytournament.com.