My name is Lord Egil Drakhufvud, Squire to Sir Brendan, and this is my story about how we took the shire Frostheim(Nordmark/Drachenwald) from being a kind of poor and small shire to getting more members and a great economy that lets us hold epic events, lets us buy tents and custom made pottery and stuff like that!
Before my time in the group they had small 1 day demos where we showed people what the SCA is, this kind of demo is of course great(they got me at such one! ;)) , but it’s not what we are doing now!
I have NOT done this myself, its a joint venture, but I have been a part of this event since the early 2000.
When doing a demo, or any type of event, you need to set up goals over whats most important and whats secondary goals. For us, we wanted first of all have fun, and we wanted more fundings to be able to continue having fun.
So, we made a 3 day long demo where we charged visitors 5Euro to come and see fighters, craftsmen, jesters, musicans and everything else we as a society wanted to show them.
By day we do all those things that we love, and by night, we have feasts, classes and all the other things we love, that does not fit as entertainment for others. In this way, we can provide a totally money free SCA event for everyone, where their payment fee is to show what they really love to do! And I can’t stress this enough, this IS the key. let people show what they want to show, Don’t force them into groups doing stuff they might like, but that are not their heart and soul. By letting people do what they want, we have sometimes not had a major branch, like archery, but we have not had any people who did not enjoyed their week ideer! Again, this is of major importance if you don’t want to burn out your group totally! this kinds of events takes a great toll on people! If there is one thing that no one wants to do, but still is key to get the demo going, then hire someone to do it! just pay them ! we have done this for kitchen staff that makes mundane food for lunch. That’s NOT fun SCA stuff, but it needs to be done. those people can still be part of the evening activities but will see nothing of all the fun during the days!
One thing that we do in SCA is the “sca time” thing, where everything happens when it happens, most often 1 hour to late.. this must NEVER happen at this type of event! You need to be exactly on time, The people paying to see you fight at 1400 hours does NOT want to wait for 30 minutes because some fighters though they could dress themselves in 10 minutes. We also have a morning meeting 1 hour before start, to see that everyone knows what they should do this day(might be somethings out over their regular stuff, someone needs help with something etc) The captain of the guard really needs to see that everyone who are going to charge people knows when and where they should be standing etc. The morning meeting is a great way to pepp people to help eachother out. give people special credits when everyone hears if they have done something that normally no one wants to do.
Never be hard and ban people for this and that, it will never give you a great event in the long run. turn it around instead! Pepp people who do come on time, give them visual credits, show that this is the way!
We had problems with spread around garbage(by the visitors) some years, so one morning I said to the people that they all where level 1 today, if they had picked up 5 debris during the day, they would rise to level 2 next morning.. A fun and easy way to get people to pick up some trash!. The day after, everyone who on their honor could say they picked up 5 pieces of trash, got to become level 2 and we had a cheer for them. this was most fun!!
Later, one morning I forgot about it in the meeting and people asked me about it, so they had really took notice of that and wanted their levels! With 80 persons picking up 5 pieces of garbage each, you will get a clean nice site! (some picked up A LOT more just to show off, you know the type!! )
And another example, we have a bathtub, one lady was angry about how much trash it was around it one morning and suggested to close it down, I took the TOTAL opposite approach. I went to the bathtub the next morning picked up all litter there and thanked the bathers that they had helped me to level 4 in such an easy way.. the next morning i was so pissed off, someone had stolen my spot! there was not even one single bottle to pickup! who dares do this?? (i was of course not angry and everyone laughed and the problem disappeared with a good story instead of people not getting to take a bath in the midnight sun)
Don´t be afraid to let other medieval groups into your demo if they want to show off something, maybe your scouts wants to make knots with children? Your larper group want to have a interactive theatre on site or any similar thing! Let them be a part of what you are doing, if they want to be a part of it its all for the better!
ALOT of our new members comes from this satellite groups to start with, people who have been invited to hold theaters and stuff like that, that later fell in love with SCA and what we do.
First of all, find some good reliable people to be commanders for each group you want during the event. like kitchen boss, guardboss, archery captain, fighting captain, fencerscaptain, theatre boss, exhibition chief and so on! This persons are your eyes and ears into their larger groups, they are the ones that report to you what their needs might be.
Don’t have more groups than you need, but don’t make them to wide with to much to do ider! again, they are here to have fun, not to work until they bleed (they do that anyway, because, if you have done this right, they will be doing the things they love)
Give each group “a bag of money” so they can do something for their group. do they need to buy makeup? new arrows? watermelons to trash with a rattan sword? or do they need to buy ice cream? whatever the group needs within their “bag of money” is okay! let them decide if it is good or not for themselves! Trust your commanders!
When you have your commanders, let them know the goals of this event, more or less what’s in this document. Pepp them to find their “crew”, but help them if needed. Also help new people with no contacts to find their way into this groups.
first years we took a fee to try archery, a fee for the theatre and small fees for other stuff. This was a bad way to run this business! First of all it did bring less income, it was unfair to parents with a lot of children and it was hard to keep track over.
After trying this some years, we went to take a fee at the “gate” instead. this was more natural, and the mundane guests are used to pay for events and stuff like that. we charge 5 euro for an adult, 12 euro for a family(as large as they have it) and the event is free for everyone with medieval clothes(yes, we have gotten people in painted paper armour showing up, but that’s just great! let them in!)
Start off small! you never know how many people will show up! Your groups size and what you are showing off is what should set the price, but don’t underestimate how COOL you and your friends are in the eyes of a child!
During the years we have held the event the Heavy Fighting have been the largest crowd pleaser by far. We do this like it would be a royal list! we come in with trumpets and musicians, banner men and ladies/gentlemen at each fighters side to sit ringside during the fighting. Of Course you need a marchal and harold to tell people what’s happening. And fighters need to die on the ground! no exceptions! If you have yesters, let them trigger the public to cheer and boo and whatnot during the matches! Get them to pick their favorites!
First we started off having 1 hour, but that’s to much! not for the fighters, they want more, but the people tend to start dropping of after 30 to 45 minutes. keep it there instead. it’s better to leave people wanting more than getting bored by the howl thing.
After the fighting, we ask if any kids want to hit a fighter and they que up for a long session of hitting a fighter. We have the fighters on knee with shield and sword, so they can block some blows and then take one to the head and roll down dead(you NEED to die!!, the kids love it!)
Choose different formats every day so the populas who are really interested can come back another day to see something else!
The format that works the BEST for us is the reversed rose tourney. Fighters challenge anyone(or any two) the winner gets a rose that they give away to someone in the audience!! this is most fun and no one leaves before all the roses are gone!
Another important thing here is that the fighters loosen up and have a fun fighting day. this is NOT a competition where you win when you hit your opponent, this is a winn when the crowd is pleased! Staring at each other for 5 minutes or “snipekill” people will not get you big cheers, go bold, go big, have fun and do that shield bash or spinshot instead!
There are of course a ton of other important stuff, like keeping books over your earnings and food regulations, medics on site and keeping within the law of your country and the SCA. those things are the same as for any other event, so I will not linger on that information in this document.
To end this I want you to get a checklist to this recipe, the ingredients so to speak.
I hope this will help someone to get going with similar events! If there is anything I can do for you or your group, don’t hesitate to contact me.
The easiest way is to find me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/zakarias.persson but you can also email me at [email protected]
My group can be found at www.frostheim.se and the event site can be found at www.medeltidsdagar.se
Your humble servant / Lord Egil Drakhufvud Squire to Sir Brendan, and seneschal of fFrostheim