Your first event
Your first event
If you decide to join the Fairfax Battalia, sooner or later you will attend your first event. So what happens?
FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENTOnce you are a member you'll find that early in the year you will be sent a calendar of events for the year. Some
By the way, there is no obligation to attend any event. You go to those that appeal.
WHAT WILL YOU NEED?
It may be possible to stay in a local B&B but that will often mean missing out on some of the social aspects of the event. Most people take a tent or a caravan. You'll need food and drink for the weekend and something to cook it with. You'll probably find that toilet paper and a torch will come in handy as well. Most events involve chemical toilets and many are in the country, well away from street lights.
WHAT ABOUT CLOTHES AND EQUIPMENT?
When you first join you're unlikely to have 17th century clothes but you'll find that other members will lend you what you need. It's a good idea to get in touch with one of the team named in the Warning Order in advance so that the necessary clothing and so on will be available. If you want to carry a pike, that will be provided as will a musket if you choose to be a musketeer although you won't be able to fire it until you've been properly trained.
It is important to understand that you must not wear anything anachronistic so no wristwatches, piercings or modern clothes. Most organisers also don't allow us to be seen eating ice cream or drinking tea.
There will usually be a drill on Saturday morning. This is a refresher for established members and an opportunity for you to learn what you need to know before going into the battle. When you're completely new, an experienced member will go through everything with you until you're happy that you know what you need to do. At some stage during the morning the musketeers will be issued with gunpowder in a process known as 'getting bombed up'. Just before the Battalia is due to take part in the battle or drill display, the drums will sound the call and everybody forms up in their ranks and files before marching off to the display.Drill displays are usually orderly affairs with demonstrations of loading and firing muskets, handling pikes, flourishing the colours and sounding the calls of war on the drums. Battles are altogether different and the likelihood is that you will be very confused. One of the experienced members will be designated to look after you so you won't come to any harm.
In some cases, there will be a living history area and members will remain around this during the day, talking to the public and doing whatever we think soldiers would have done in the 17th century. There will usually be a surgeon, an apothecary, a blacksmith, basket makers, weavers, women sewing and a variety of other activities. Take the opportunity to move around and listen: you'll learn a huge amount.
There will also be a sutlery: that's the area where the food is cooked for the mid-day meal. This is provided for participants so there's no need to bring your own.
Once the public have left the site, we all wander back to the plastic camp for a rest before the evening's social activities start.
Generally, Sunday is a repeat of Saturday with the difference being that the living history team will need help packing up all the authentic tents and equipment at the end of the day.
Some people will leave on Sunday night while others will often stay overnight before travelling home on Monday.
That, broadly speaking, is what happens on a Fairfax weekend. If you're interested, why not get in touch and try it for yourself? Email us on FairfaxEnquiries@gmail.com