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Something for the Lords!

There is something for every Lord and Lady at the Abbey Medieval Festival BUT if ever there was a festival demonstrating male prowess, strength and survival skills, this festival could be described as a very male expression.  My Lords…we have tried to pick a few to summarize ….but you simply have to see them all.

Tournament of Strength and Skill

Located in the Castle arena, this competition is hosted by the Company of the Phoenix with entrants hailing from various re-enactment groups participating at the festival. The Tournament of Strength and Skill is a medieval obstacle course designed for training for the field of battle and to test the combatants’ physical prowess. Made up of obstacles to test a number of important skills that a combating Lord would require on the field of battle such as speed, balance, strength, ability to vault a horse and accuracy with a spear, lance and sword.  You can’t possibly watch this and not engage your male competitive spirit.

War Machines

While this is not a performance, you do not want to miss Cottereaux’s ‘Behemoth’, the largest functioning medieval Trebuchet in the southern hemisphere.  It will showcase its firepower twice a day. A Trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a  medieval siege engine of catapult or stave sling design, and functions by the use of a swinging arm to cast a projectile. The traction trebuchet, also referred to as a Mangonel,  first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. During sieges, heavy stones were cast sometimes with oil and fire to damage castle walls and while it would be very tempting to use the Trebuchet to hurl naughty little Lords afar, the Sheriff would not encourage this practice.

Battle displays

Travel back in time to the Dark Ages (Byzantine era) by taking a stroll through the Commons where Jorth Gar – the New Varangian Guard is located.

The Byzantine Emperor Basil II formed the Varangian Guard to act as his elite personal bodyguards.  Membership initially consisted of the fierce Rus Vikings, however after 1066, the ranks of the Varangian Guard swelled as mighty Saxon warriors sought membership.  The rewards were lucrative and their reputation was legendary.  It was not easy to join the Varangian Guard as their battle skills were exceptional.   Prospective members not only had to pay to join, they had to prove themselves worthy often by a show of combat skill against existing seasoned veterans of the elite Varangian Guard.

The re-enactment group Jorth Gar will present a series of single combats and heroic fighting.  In their day, the warriors of the Varangian Guard needed to acquire and maintain their skills and learn new technology. This combat display is a crowd engager and demonstrates the variety of weapons and fighting techniques available to the Varangian Guard.

You will be in awe of the Varangian Guard.

Turkish Archery

You’ll have heard of the ancient tradition of Turkish Oil Wrestling, which is a huge crowd favourite of the festival, not only for its display but for it’s historical accuracy and it also is one of the five tournaments of the festival. Traditional Turkish archery will not disappoint you either.  This performance demonstrates the use of bows and arrows in various traditional ways such as during the times of war and peace. The Turks were very effective in using bows and arrows shooting very accurately in a variety of situations. The demonstrations will include use of whistling arrows for game and communication purposes, shooting in attack and retreat situations (singly or as a group)Boys Skirmish at Sephoria

Watch different Crusader groups combat at Skirmish at Sephoria (on Sunday only in an army format), shooting down in to a well or down from the top of castle wall, speed shooting and other demonstration of various Turkish shooting techniques.

There’s something for everyone at the Abbey Medieval Festival, after all , learning is not just confined to the young.  Find out more about what’s on a this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, and get your tickets here.

 

 

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!

 

Counting your cards!

Your favourite Heores and Heroines from the  Abbey Medieval Festival can now be a collected as trading cards.  The cards are a big hit, with online orders flowing in.

The trading cards which feature heroes like the Knights Templar, Sir Liam Reilly, Alexander de Vos,  Company of the Wolf, Kryal Castle, Sir Blair Martin and many more, are the first of a new range made available  via the website of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.  And if you order now, you can pick them up at the festival on July 6-7 at the Abbey Museum stall, ensuring you have your a wonderful souvenirs to match your favourite memories of the festival.  There are 40 to collect in total, and numbers are limited.  Next year it is hope the the range will be expanded.  The cards are being sold for $20 per pack of five cards.

http://www.abbeymuseum.com.au/product/heroes-of-the-abbey-medieval-festival-trading-cards/

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.

Woodland Walkers and Green Men

We often have people asking us what associations our beautiful woodland walkers have with Medieval history and reenactment, and you might be quite surprised at the reply. They represent a historical (fictional) figure known as the Green Man. If you have never encountered them before, our ‘Green Men’ like to walk gracefully around Abbeystowe during the festival, delighting visitors and posing for photographs, like this:

The figure of the Green Man appears to have it’s roots in carvings from the Messapotamic and Roman eras, but has also been seen in temples in India, Borneo and Nepal. He was used to bridge the gap between the old forms of worship and the new introduction of Christianity in the early Medieval period, although his appearances during this time were few.

From the late 11th century onwards his face became a carved decorative feature used on Churches and buildings of great importance. The Green Man is quite often linked the to the use of other decorative ornamentation used in the Gothic and Romanesque styles during the High Middle Ages, such as gargoyles, mythical beasts, demons, mermaids and green ‘women’. ‘Jack the Green Man’ was incorporated into village fetes and festivals which is why our woodland walkers fit right in at the Abbey Medieval Festival (why or how he was named Jack is still a bit of a mystery!)

Guess what this will be?

Visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival 2013 and Kids Medieval Fun Day will notice a few new additions to the site. A team of handy volunteers have been working hard setting up permanent improvements at Abbeystowe. I wonder if you can guess what this one is?

 

Hint: It’s somewhere you can watch Gypsies dancing, listen to stories of old and be entertained by Medieval social interactions.

Jousting Tickets – Quick and Easy Online Bookings!

If you have tried to purchase tickets online for this year’s upcoming Abbey Medieval Jousting you may have noticed it was a little fiddly. Well, no more! We have just implemented a simpler, faster booking system so you can get your tickets for the joust of your choosing in a matter of clicks, right here 🙂

*** Please make sure you have purchased your festival entry tickets. Joust tickets only give access to the Joust session you have booked. Joust tickets are NOT festival entry tickets.

Dr. Brown goes down!

A very welcome and surprise guest at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, was celebrity Dr. Chris Brown.  Showing up on both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament weekend, held at the well known Abbey Museum near Brisbane, Dr. Brown was in search of a medieval experience.  The crowd was given a special treat.

A brave and true Knight, Dr. Brown, known as the Bondi Vet and from Channel 10’s Friday night show, ‘The Living Room’, truly embraced his medieval experience.  Not only did he draw a crowd….he drew a sword!

With orders not to hold back, his opponent, Sir Leon Sinclair, from the medieval renactment group Eliste d’corps, as honour bade him, obliged! Clad in armour from the generous and accomplished, Sir Justyn, Dr. Brown had his first Abbey Medieval experience.  The pair went at it, hammer and tongs! The crowd became noisy; their thirst for pain and blood was audible; there was no retreat for either of these warriors….(only joking, there was no blood…was there??) but the Oohs! and Aaahs! were clearly audible around the grounds; the ladies shrieked, covering their eyes and imagining the worst for their favourite handsome knight and Sir Blair, the MC, didn’t hold back either! What entertainment!

To give him credit, Chris put up a good fight, rising again and again, to face the sword.  A little slower each time, but he rose, untill the crowd grew silent.  Dr. Brown went down!……….. There was word of concussion!

But Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, didn’t he look the true Knight in shining armour at this great medieval tournament? And, unlike in medieval times, he lived to fight another day, which is a good thing because we loved him and the crowd loved him.  And good news!  The footage for Dr. Brown’s battle at the Abbey Tournament is to be aired this Friday night (5th October), ‘The Living Room’ on Channel 10. Book the good seat in advance!

Thanks Chris Brown! Come back next year for your second medieval experience!

 

 

Calling our Abbey volunteers!

WE’VE JUST FINISHED our Kids’ Medieval Fun Day, and our volunteers are dragging off their medieval costumes, and cleaning up Abbeystowe.

Everyone is exhausted, but all our volunteers are smiling, feeling really pleased that we have helped build a very special experience for so many children.

The feeling of satisfaction you get from volunteering keeps many of us coming back and spending hour after hour, day after day, helping our community organisations.

Here at the Abbey Museum and Abbey Medieval Festival, we are blessed with over two hundred volunteers.

We want to make sure our volunteers are looked after, and have all the information and encouragement they need to keep on doing their wonderful job.

That’s why we’ve run our Volunteer Induction days. It is one of the best ways to invest in our volunteers.

To have a look at what we did at the last Volunteer Induction Day, have a look at the video footage taken on the day. See the video here for Volunteer Induction Day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw2OoOTwiWc

If you are one of many new (and highly valued) volunteers, we hope you were able to make it.

If so, can you sport yourself in the video. If not, have a look at it. We hope you can make the next one.

In the meantime, we are now getting everything ready for the Abbey Medieval Tournament weekend.

Please leave a comment so we can be sure you have viewed the video.

 

Food….preserving the body and soul!

I believe that there’s an inner ‘Foodie’ in most of us, and in reality,  food is linked to survival, a basic instinct.  Personally I’m really happy to see that nowadays food is starting to regain the rightful and honoured place it deserves in our lives.  It’s as much about giving our bodies required nourishment (and let’s not undervalue that) as being a secret ingredient in our social lives enabling us to communicate and connect.

If you have ever visited European countires, particularly Spain, Italy, Greece, and elsewhere,  we see openly how food is loudly lauded in the home and community.  And in our own lives, we all know TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs; we have food festivals and gastronomic holidays, we are award of the role food plays in our health,  we learn about slow food and organic food and as conscientious parents we try to make more time in our lives to give home-cooked food to our children.  So, I think it would be neglectful if we didn’t address the question about how our ancestors ate in the Medieval era of 600AD – 1600AD.  What did they eat? and how did they cook and …….I wonder what it tasted like?

Experience a taste of Medieval times at the Abbey Medieval Banquets Good news! For those attending the Medieval Banquets, you will have a fantastic opportunity to experience medieval food at it’s best.  The authenticity of the food available at the medieval banquet, right down to the medieval etiquette on show,  is indisputable and the ingredients and dishes on the menu are exactly as they would have been in that era.  You may be surprised to hear that basic staples of our daily diet today, such as potatoes and tomatoes had not yet reached Europe, so you can search but you won’t find them on the menu!

And outside of the noble classes, for a lot of people in the middle ages, having food meant survival.  And sadly, sometimes, people just didn’t.  A staple diet of the lower classes was ‘The Ploughman’s Lunch’, so it proves to us that a good dish lasts.  Meat was not available for many of the lower classes, untill ironically after the ‘Black Death’, which wiped out a third of the world’s population around about the 13C.

So, over the next few blog posts, I’m going to stay on the subject of food, so that you our readers can have a little ‘taste’ of what was available during the Middle Ages, and surprisingly is still available now.  This will be another opportunity for you to experience an additional dimension of preservation, which is at the heart of the Abbey Museum, in more ways than one!

Till next time.

Caroline

 

 

 

 

Abbey Medieval Festival and Channel 9’s The Voice: transformations of a kind!

Hello, my friends, again.

I have been asked to  ‘please explain’ and realise that I have been dropping a distinct word in my last few posts, without clarifying it.

That word is ‘Transformation’ – not one that we as adults use a lot, but ask any eight year old what a ‘Transformer’ is!

So, it’s kind of the same – kind of different! Let me explain!

Let me introduce Joe and Jim! (aka Joseph Pine and James Gillmore).  These two writers are my ture heros on the subject of experiences and transformations.  They will tell you a transformation is in fact an economic offering, just like goods or services – which as it turns out, are yesterday’s news.  Transformations are what consumers want and demand today.  Joe and Jim have further explained a transformation as: “Guiding customers to gaining a deeper understanding to some part of themselves“. (2011-The Experience Economy)

Interesting…… I’m hoping I dont’ lose you here, but actually, you know…it’s not that deep.  We experience transformations everyday.

Last week, I brought my son to his karate lesson. I sat watching.  The children were intense, serious and  focussed.  I remembered my son on those first few lessons; he was giddy and skittish; his attention everywhere.  I wondered if he would ever get it.  Now, as I sat and watched him, I was able to see something new; a strong gaze in his eyes, a serious face; he was absorbed.  He was actively engaged and I had just realised that before my eyes, he had escaped. Yes…..NAPLAN and all the stuff-of-the-week were left far behind.  He had undergone his own little transformation. And was I happy about that?

Channel 9’s ‘The Voice’ – why are we all so hooked? One word: Transformation.  Each of these wonderfully talented contestants are being guided through a transformation; it’s life changing, a personal journey. Let me even use the word ‘walkabout’  here.  There’s no going back.

Everyday, people fall in love, we experience grief, we have children born to us, or….. maybe no baby comes.  Each of these are every-day, life-transformations that we as human beings experience; each bringing us to a deeper and ongoing understanding of something inside us.

Ok, so what’s this got to do with the Abbey Medieval Festival, you ask?

We are here to guide you through a medieval transformation.

Nowadays our free time is so precious.  People are working so hard for their families and to achieve their ambitions.  How recreation time is spent is selective and valuable.   The Abbey Medieval Festival acknowledges this!

I examined what I really wanted for my own free time?

I wanted a little ‘escapism’ if that was possible.

Well it is!  Very possible.  You can escape absolutely and wonderfully so… to another era.  You can transform yourself to a different century and live it, for a short time, as it was.  A real medieval experience.  It only depends on you.  Let’s take the Kids’ Medieval Fun Day!  You as a parent can witness your kids’ transformation or even partake in your own.  Watch your kids as their attention towards the activities on offer changes.  First reluctance leading to curiosity, then mild amusement……a little more interest is piqued, then their attention is grabbed.  This leads to physical involvement and then…excitement and elation as they become totally and utterly engaged.

Guiding this transformation is our job.

And guess what! We are aware that some of our readers and followers are already there!  In our recent competition we asked people to tell us what type of experience they would like to have at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year.  Steve Springhall from Queensland said he wanted ‘the feeling of travelling back in time’…..Steve, thank you for this!  That feeling is yours to have and we really would be honoured to guide your transformation.  That’s all we can do.  The rest is up to you.  So who else wants to join in?

So next time you watch The Voice, think of your own transformation. 

Yours to have at the Abbey Medieval Festival!  So have it!

 

 Till next time readers….Caroline