Hear ye, hear ye – my Ladies and my Lords. The following is a brief written and pictorial account of an unusual and strangely very entertaining day I spent out in the good shire of Abbeystowe today.
I've been looking to get myself along to something unusual and perfect for an all-day photographic shoot, and waddya know, I found just the right occasion!
Now in it's 22nd year, the Abbey Medieval Festival is considered the largest festival of its type in the southern hemisphere, attracting tens of thousands of fans and interested onlookers (like me) each year. The week-long festival kicks off with a huge Medieval Banquet and culminates in a grand, two day Abbey Medieval Tournament held over a weekend in Winter each year.
Located at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, this spectacular event is held in a large, gum tree littered field about 4km off the Bruce Highway along the Bribie Island road, 45 minutes or so north of Brisbane.
To be honest, I'd only heard about the event for the first time a few days ago and really had no idea what to expect. I was a tad worried I was going to find a bunch of pimply teens and twenty-something geeks sitting around in a tent playing Dungeons and Dragons (you can play that in a tent, right?), but I was pleasantly surprised with the spectacle that was presented to me and the many thousands that also showed up today.
After being greeted by a fair maiden at the front gate and parting with 25 gold pieces (a reasonable $25 entrance fee for adults, for you non-medieval speaking folk), I stepped into what literally felt like another world filled with castles and encampments buzzing with activity from ye days of old.
There were knights and crusaders, jesters and gypsies, vikings, nomads, nobles and more, together representing medieval times ranging from 600 to 1600 AD. Seemingly accurately attired participants stepped into the roles of those from the Dark Ages, High Middle Ages and Byzantine warriors, German landsknechts (mercenaries), Turkish Janissaries and exquisite Renaissance swordsmen, putting on a succession of shows and mini-performances that thrilled young and old alike under perfect blue skies.
I was able to visit the encampments of various groups who were set up to display the arts, crafts and ways of life of those from their given time period, as well as observe historical combats, jousting, dance, Turkish oil wrestling, archery, full scale battles, street performers and take some time to relax, put my feet up and sip on a mug of suds, while listening to some medieval music on stage at "Friar's Folly Tavern".
Seriously though, while I still think some of the people out there today were a tad beyond "total geek" when it came to their obsession with all things medieval, I really enjoyed the day out and would gladly do it again next year with friends.
To prove that all that I have written above isn't a lie, I shot about 1,500 frames throughout the day, from which I can present the following gallery. I hope you enjoy it!