Fayre Times Festival 2014

Unity is a beautiful thing. We love it when individual gaming communities come together to collaborate and create, and Fayre Times Festival is a good example of that.

Set in the expansive grounds of the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey, Fayre Times aims to blend the boundaries of tabletop, LARP and re-enactment. With a variety of demonstrations from a number of groups, guest talks, indoor and outdoor traders and exhibitors, it really thinks big for a relatively small event.

In spite of the vicious storm the night before – which made me feel sorry for the re-enactors, who were camped out in tents of varying historical accuracy and weatherproofing – the atmosphere was very charming, with plenty of smiles and energy from those who put up with the weather to visit. The whole atmosphere was very welcoming, which helped encourage a sense of community between all the different hobby groups present, as well as being very family-friendly.

Which brings me to the quote that started this article. As two men faced off in the main ring, the last men standing of an impressive battle, the Viking leading the proceedings bellowed at them to get it over with. For some people that may seem at odds with my saying the whole event was suitable for all ages, but I should point out that the children had nicknamed these adept fighters ‘Baggy-Pants’ and ‘Ugly’. As Ugly put a battleaxe-shaped hole in Baggy-Pants’ shield (these guys really don’t fight by half-measures), the children started cheering just as much as the adults winced.

That, I feel, was a good summary of Fayre Times Festival – the children chanting ‘Ugly! Ugly! Ugly!’ for their favourite, the adults equally entertained by the display of arms, and the fighters going to all lengths to entertain. It’s a lovely event, and I hope that the weather didn’t put too much of a dampener on the organisers, as they have done a sterling job of creating a unique and very interesting event, with Battle of the Nations and aforementioned Vikings being particular highlights for me.

Over the course of the next week I will be reporting back from the interviews I had with some very interesting characters – including a Viking leader, the landlord of the Crimson Moon, ‘The Gruffalo’ and more. Stay tuned for that, but if you’re reading this considering whether to attend Fayre Times Festival next time it comes around: whether you’re a LARPer, tabletop gamer, re-enactor or just have a passing interest in roleplay or any kind of historical combat, I honestly cannot recommend it enough.