[Please note – this was written for the 2017 Michaelmas event. While the general points are still relevant, activities may differ at every event.]
Welcome! I’m Lady Cecily and I’m the event steward for Michaelmas. We’re delighted you’re considering coming along to Michaelmas in Thamesreach as your first SCA event. Whether you’ve been along to any smaller local get-togethers and practices or this is your first real-life encounter with what we do, the weekend should be lots of fun for everyone.
For more information on the event and to register, see: http://www.thamesreach.org/michaelmas-2017/
What do I need to bring?
Clothing: The basic dress code for events is “a reasonable attempt at pre-1600 clothing”. Some people will be wearing multiple layers of splendid handmade wool or linen clothing with a high level of authenticity from headdress to undies, but this isn’t expected of anyone.
There are various commercial suppliers of simple re-enactment and LARP kit online, their offerings can vary from high fantasy to meticulously historical, so look carefully at how things are described, but there are good affordable options. The high street (and charity shops) are also worth a try – this has been a very good summer for things like loose plain linen tunics/shirts/blouses and linen drawstring trousers – avoid things with visible zips or obvious modern buttons.
Or you can make something. A T-tunic/dress is easy to pattern (it’s all rectangles). A tabard or sideless surcote (maybe to put over your shop-bought linen top) is even easier, with minimal sewing.
We may also be able to lend you something appropriate, as lots of us have spare kit, so do ask.
Feast gear: You need to bring your own crockery and cutlery – the minimum would be a dish, drinking vessel, knife and spoon. I’d recommend both a bowl and a plate, as meals can include soups/stews. Wood, pewter, rustic pottery etc. can all look nice and medieval – again try charity shops – but we won’t refuse to feed you because your dish looks too modern!
Also bring your own drinks – tea, coffee and juice will be available, but you can bring beer, wine or soft drinks to enjoy at feast. There are a few corner shops/mini supermarkets in walking distance of the site.
Sleeping stuff: The dorms each contain 4-6 bunk beds, but no bedding etc, so bring your own pillow, sleeping bag, bath towel, teddy bear, earplugs, sleep masks, or whatever else you need. You can also day-trip the event – the vast majority of the schedule happens on Saturday.
What can I take part in?
The arts and sciences classes, the game of stool ball, the feasting, the dancing – most of the event is open to everyone, but there are a few limits.
We hope to offer an opportunity for beginner archery, but as the shire owns no ‘loaner’ bows, there will be limits on what is available to borrow, in terms of size, draw weight and handedness. If you own a bow (modern or traditional) do bring it.
Both the armoured combat and rapier fencing tournaments are only open to those who have “authorised” and have appropriate equipment. The rules, including kit requirements, can be found here: http://www.drachenwald.sca.org/drupal/content/kingdom-specific-regulations.
Authorisation is a test of understanding the rules and that you play safely, and for most people is taken after attending practice a number of times. If you’re interested in learning about the martial activities, do watch the tourneys and talk to people about it.
How is the event run?
The whole weekend is run by participants. That means everyone involved – the cooks, the marshals, the heralds, the musicians, the washers-up, the teachers, me – is a volunteer and is paying to join in the event, just like you. So please, treat them kindly and politely and help out where you can if, for instance, you are asked to carry something or perhaps run a message to the archery field.
However if you don’t feel comfortable doing something due to eg. disability, injury, slippery shoes or whatever, please do say so, we don’t want you going home in pain or a feast platter dropped because you didn’t think you could say no! And there will probably be another chance to help out in a different way along in a moment.
If you’d like to get more involved in helping make the event happen, please let me know in advance so I can give you a proper role. Being involved in the kitchen team for a few hours or on the clean up crew is always a good way to get to know people.
If you have more general questions about what we do, you may find the answers here: http://www.thamesreach.org/2017/03/08/notes-queries/
We look forward to seeing you in September!