Sherwood Forest, England - Robin Hood Festival; Carver, MA - King Richard’s Faire; Sturbridge, MA - Redcoats and Rebels
In the one and only Sherwood Forest you can find battle demonstrations at the Robin Hood Festival. This show of swordsmanship can bring you right back to the time of the tales. It’s hard not to be obsessed with the character’s archetype – the do-good rebel with a bow is still around in today’s media in the forms of DC Comics Oliver Queen, The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen, Marvel’s Hawkeye, etc. It’s a character almost everyone can connect to – it calls to the hero we all wanted to be growing up. And that’s one of the reasons we celebrate his story through reenactments as adults.
King Richard’s Faire in Carver, Massachusetts draws thousands of people each year to its many shows. One such show is the joust. This past 2017 season saw Sir Wolfric, Lord of Middleton, clashing with Sirs Joseph, Gregory, and Don Mitri for the hand of Princess Elizabeth. As one of the most popular attractions at King Richard’s Faire, these knights are cheered on by hordes of patrons and some of the Faire’s Village Cast. The cast is made up of a diverse group of actors of all ages. Jouster and Villager Fight Director Dan Reed talks about his love of WWE as one of his inspirations for getting into stage combat. When asked what brought them to work for the faire, most of the cast will cite fond childhood memories there as a patron. As for the draw to medieval and Renaissance themed events, it’s easy to see the "White Knight complex" in most of the people on site, and it’s no surprise that you’ll find many regular D&D players there. Whether it’s an obsession with their own Norse heritage, or that they just want to wear chain mail and carry a sword, the pull is strong. There is a certain romance involved in dressing up in garb, playing a character from another time, and hitting each other with fight-grade steel. People want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel connected to the past or the heroes of their childhood, and participating in these events is definitely one way to do it.
“Old Sturbridge Village.” Home | Old Sturbridge Village, 7 Apr. 1970, www.osv.org/.
Nottinghamshire County Council. “Robin Hood Festival 2018.” Nottinghamshire County Council, 2018, www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/country-parks/sherwood-forest/robin-hood-festival.Reed, Dan. Personal interview. 2017.