Mission

What are the elements of a good event for you?

49 posts in this topic

I agree with the previous posts about tent and entertainment/education space, after-hours shenanigans, live music, blackpowder (lots), appreciative event managers and such. It's also really terrific when the local community gets involved as well.

In addition, I really appreciate a drama-free event. Meaning that the people managing the event have at least some sort of idea what they are doing (or can learn from mistakes and not keep repeating them) and if there are snafus, they are solved with a minimum of drama and fuss.

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Drama Free events??? Aren't all pirate events free of drama (unless you mean stage drama)?

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The best events I have attended take care of at least the minimum needs of convenient water, sanitation that is cleaned frequently enough to not be disgusting (privies big enough to wear petticoats safely a big plus!), good fire wood and organization.

One of the best sites I attend also provides scrip for basic food and drink which are prepared on site (chicken roasted over a wood fire, etc.) There is a broad variety of things to do during the day for both volunteers and visitors. Puppet shows, swordplay demonstrations, music, dancing, acrobats, and so on. We are busy but we can take breaks to visit and shop and at the end of the day, we can hang out and relax at the tavern with our friends (and usually get more free food). It is a rustic location, rather like a village come to life, with fairly minimal modern intrusion. Camping on site is optional. Volunteers do not pay to get in and are offered training and loaner clothing to start with. The site admin appreciates the hard work we do and we feel we are treated well. This has grown the volunteer base over 30 years so that it now includes multiple generations of some families.

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Indeed, Hawkins...

There are many differences between a festival / entertainer mindset, as opposed to a historic site / reenactor mindset, and our priorities are quite different.

Interesting. Could you elaborate on why you find the mindset and, more importantly, the priorities, so different between the groups as you define them?

Perhaps the mindset/priorities thing may depend on a person's definition of entertainer and entertainment.

I know many a reenactor who would take issue with anyone thinking that they are not entertaining the public *L* The reenactor entertainers still have schedules to meet, roles to play, technical and staging issues to overcome, scripts to follow, etc. They bring their own props and costumes, pay for their own gas, food and lodging. The main difference I see is that they do not usually expect to be paid at the end of their gig. At least not as individuals. There are also people who are entertainers within the framework of historic interpretation. I know a fair number of them and have been one myself. These are very different from festival entertainers in the use of their art, and they overlap more with the reenactors in terms of priorities and mindset than festival entertainers.

Jen

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What might be helpful on this topic is to post a list of a few pirate events that are really, really good. The one Jen mentioned sounds excellent, so much that it might be worth a visit! If someone who wants to start up a pirate event had a list of good ones he or she could experience what we like.

Just an idea.

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And I would add, that any list made should be varied, but list specific draws, so people know what to expect. I say this because almost all events are good for someone, so the list would be better if it showcased what each event had, so that people can find what works best for them. We should avoid badmouthing any event that may be perfectly suited to its target audience.

For example, I attend the Utah Pirate Festival, which is a pirate themed festival. You're just as likely to find as many rockbands, deep fried foods and mermaids as one could ask for, and while it's not a re-enactment event, but for an extremely small number of attendees, the people are there are extremely friendly and the public is very interactive. It's a small, young event that is growing very quickly.

Another example is Searle's Raid, which is a very historic event geared to a specific timeframe in 1668, due to the re-enactment portrayed there. There is free, period camping and fantastic food and company at one of the best historic sites one could hope to visit.

These two events are remarkably different in terms of set-up and portrayals, but both have fantastic company and plenty to eat.

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Actually, I would suggest starting a new topic with a title more suited to this idea if you want to run with it. Something along the lines of "What's your favorite event and why do you like it?" While sticking it in here might help keep this topic going, it will also result in that part of the topic being buried over time.

I second William's comment about not badmouthing events. Not every event works for every one, which is how it should be. Better to talk about what you DO like than to cause arguments over what you DON'T.

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And on that subject, don't forget events that are not pyraty, such as history timeline events. I have gone to the Collier County Museum timeline for two years now and I am the only pyrate. I'm filling a hole where there was no war going on. You'll find that timelines have a tendency to be conflict-oriented and so leave out the GAoP. They feed me and sometimes provide a small stipend to cover gas and whatnot and I get to camp on the grounds with like-minded re-enactors from other time zones. It can be very interesting and put one in touch with others doing different stuff, like Buffalo Soldiers. Or the WWII guys with a (real, operative) Sherman tank. Consult your local museum to see what they do.

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Perhaps a comparison reinactor and entertainer could be compared to a band. In one instance the public is able to view a band making music in a studio and interact with them asking questions, this would be a reinactor. The other instance would be for the public to see the same band in concert, this would be a performer. In both cases the band is performing but the performance can be very different.

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What about vendors? Any certain vendor selling his or her wares bring you to an event?

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What about vendors? Any certain vendor selling his or her wares bring you to an event?

For me, yes and no....

I go to some events more to shop than participate, and for those events, the vendors present can be a draw.

For events I go to participate at, I appreciate good vendors being present... But the presence of a certain vendor or not has ever impacted my decision to attend or not to attend an event.

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I go to Alafia Rendezvous every year just for the vendors. Next year the plan is to go for the whole week, but it is the vendors that interested me to begin with.

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there is a National Muzzle loaders western shoot here every year and there is a small rendezvous side event associated with the event.

Although the rendezvous is small the vendor turnout is fantastic and I go just for the vendors. whether I get an hour or a day its can't miss from that perspective.

mP

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What about attending an event that was let's say, more of a party theme than pirate? Example: a local tropical (Tiki, Caribbean, Island) themed bar/ eatery is hosting a Captain Morgan pirate night with free tastings and encourages people to dress like pirates. The wait staff may be dressed up. Beach boys music playing, fake palm trees, Corona neon signs, surf boards, half priced wings. Would you check it out or pass.

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OK, back on theme for GOOD event:

Organized, friendly event personnel #1.

Good ground for camp, access to restrooms or hooters, pot-luck Saturday night, and people I know and love to share it with. And rum, don't forget the rum!

Bo

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have been awol for a while[6 years]. my favorite times were PIP when we could sleep on the beach and there was a pub in the fort. mission and i went for cracked chonk, were late getting back for the battle.was a great camp. went back couple years later as a civilian, wasent the same so we went to fort jefferson and camped there on the beach. i like a long,3-4 day camp, tomuch trouble for a weekender. went to st. augustine for searls raid, dressed as pirates, wern't allowed in raid but we had a ball, civilians didnt kno the difference.saw some old pip friends,willywobble,dana & kelli. misws all the friends, would like to go somewhere like the old pip....Time is slipping away. going to the keys next week but won't be camping but there will be a lot of RUM....,.Boo

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Hey Boo! It's been too long! You should come back to Key West soon!

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Booo! Come back to the Keys!

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hey mates, leaving in about 2 hours for the keys, staying in lower matacumbe key, they also have a lot of rum. drink, eat fish,gator,chonk for a week. what a bummer... will go to key west one day. will go to Lignevida [sp] key state park, they have 4 cannon from the same ship[HMS WINCHESTER] that my cannon is from. hope to see ya soon. gator

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I'm finding more and more that 'consistency' is key. For example, I've been to some events that lean strongly toward history as a presentation and with that comes amazing encampment setups, trials, battles, live music and food cooked right in camp. When events like this start to loosen a set of standards, whatever they may be, the mode of dress becomes loose and indeterminate, and with it go so many things. Safety. Historic variety. Sailors. When a festival has more captains than sailors, I seldom enjoy them.

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I'm finding more and more that 'consistency' is key. For example, I've been to some events that lean strongly toward history as a presentation and with that comes amazing encampment setups, trials, battles, live music and food cooked right in camp. When events like this start to loosen a set of standards, whatever they may be, the mode of dress becomes loose and indeterminate, and with it go so many things. Safety. Historic variety. Sailors. When a festival has more captains than sailors, I seldom enjoy them.

Agreed...

The last one I attended is becoming a carnival. Very little piratey left, it looks more like a rein-faire gone amuck. Shows and music run together and historical displays get less and less.

I understand the fund raising value of the event (a museum) but polyester clad pirates, funnel cakes, battery operated bubble-blowing guns, belly dancers and home improvement hawkers seem to take the edge off the reality. :(

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Months back I went through the event pictures of a pirate festival claiming to be 'historic'. The phrase was used so much I expected to see it in the 300+ images I went through. There was one sailor, dressed like a sailor out of hundreds of pictures. One.

Yet more and more I find that events push the 'historic' bent in their advertising and claim re-enactors where there are none. I don't mind that they have none, but the CLAIM bothers me. If an event is going to tout history, it should have some history.

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I'm finding more and more that 'consistency' is key. For example, I've been to some events that lean strongly toward history as a presentation and with that comes amazing encampment setups, trials, battles, live music and food cooked right in camp. When events like this start to loosen a set of standards, whatever they may be, the mode of dress becomes loose and indeterminate, and with it go so many things. Safety. Historic variety. Sailors. When a festival has more captains than sailors, I seldom enjoy them.

I will agree this a true generalization... But I have found that by allowing low standards, and firmly encouraging , even somewhat rewarding authenticity efforts, I have created an event that has some great authentic impressions, some decent transitiinal efforts, and some well... still finding their way. But one thing I can say, is there is a decided (and thankfully so) lack of silk clad officers... Most of the impressions, good, coming along, and beginning are all pretty evenly run of the mill sailors.

But that is a pretty rare thing... And my events are well photographed (thanks to having a wife who is a good photographer, as well as some regular attendees that are as well) :)

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Aye, but your mindset, like the Mercury mindset, is to allow flexibility in style and interpretation, all the while encouraging and rewarding efforts to improve kit, which is as it should be. All groups and events should have short and long term goals that work with progression towards their mindset.

My gripe is that three different events I've attended in the past told me that they had this same goal in mind, with short and long term goals of immersive history and detailed content. All three of them have added mermaids and one of them introduced space pirates and zombies last year. When you introduce mermaids, fairies and zombies you're not headed toward history or immersion.

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