Two fully armoured combatants engage in battle during a Crown Tournament vying for the title of King.

Medieval Day madness

Betcha didn’t know that the village of Nakusp resides right on the boarder of the Kingdom of An Tir.

Ryan Willman

Arrow Lakes News

Betcha didn’t know that the village of Nakusp resides right on the boarder of the Kingdom of An Tir, which is currently ruled by King Havordh Ættarbani and Queen Mary Grace of Gatland. Yep, we are under the fictional rule of a king and queen who hold court, make proclamations, host tournaments, practice politics and, along with other members of the Society of Anachronism (SCA), participate in all manner of activity that would have been expected from a pre-17th century European society.

In this medieval worldview, the modern globe has been carved up into a map of 19 kingdoms, each with its own monarchy structure complete with subsidiary principalities which branch into smaller shires and baronies. Within each kingdom, and under the governance of their respective royalty, participants of the SCA are committed to researching and recreating the arts and skills of the bygone middle ages through festivals, workshops and tournaments for members and the general public.

The non-profit SCA educational society originated in California almost 50 years ago, when the first gathering was hosted to celebrate the graduation of the Countess Diana the Listmaker, (Diana Paxson). The 19th-cetnury themed recreation of medieval life was called the Last Tournament and kicked off a new era in research and recreation that spans the world with over 30 000 participating members.

Thanks to the joint efforts of local Daniel Abraham and the chatelaine for the kingdom of Tir Ri (a chatelaine is a newcomer’s SCA officer), Kimberly Stratford, this fascinating world is set to materialize on the fields outside of Nakusp during the August long weekend in all of is renaissance glory.

Abraham arrived in Nakusp around 2013 and after hearing about the successful rise and fall of the Nakusp music fest he was inspired to help fill the social and economic void left by its departure. Abraham settled on the medieval festival concept after observing the rich tapestry of “eclectic artisans and crafters” in the Arrow Lakes area and contacted the SCA to inquire about hosting an event. Within a year, the incorporated non-profit society, Nakusp Medieval Society was created with the support of the Village of Nakusp and a thorough concept description was on the planning table.

Referred to as “the festival,” the two-day celebration will showcase an exhibition of demonstrations, music, dramatic performances and even an all out war between the Kingdom of Avacal and the principality of Tir Righ, which resides within the Kingdom of An Tir.

“The war is going to be the equivalent of BC doing battle with the USA” Abraham explains. “The whole theme of the SCA coming here is that there is a war for Nakusp. We are like a little frontier town on the edge of the Tir Righ principality, so its disputed territory right on the border. The result of this war has the potential to redraw the map.”

The upcoming joint venture between the SCA and the Nakusp Medieval Society is a unique partnership that has not been undertaken before and both groups are curious about how it will play out.

“If the event is received well, then there is potential to evolve into a kingdom vs. kingdom war,” Abraham explains.  “It would encompass a larger scale event that could involve the entirety of north western America’s SCA members, and numbers-wise, instead of expecting 300 or 350 or so participants, we would be looking at maybe a thousand. It is an opportunity for Nakusp to really showcase itself to the medieval group and potentially reinvent itself as a community.”

Stratford is also breaking new ground with this event and is hopeful that enough interest will take hold to develop a branch of the SCA in the area.

“This size of an event in a little village — it is a big deal for the members. And for us to have an event there without a branch there to support us, all I can say is that I am really pleased that Daniel and his team have been on the ground to help us pull this off because we have really needed them. We would absolutely love to have a branch in Nakusp if that is what the local wants and we’ll do whatever we can to support them and grow them.”

Abraham and Stratford’s teams will be meeting up this week to begin the final preparations for the festival.

“We are rolling up our sleeves and getting ready to put on a really good show,” Stratford exclaims. ”We are super excited; I have a huge team who have been pulling all the different aspects of this event together and it is going to be epic!”

Tickets are available online and a complete schedule of events can be found on the Nakusp Medieval Society’s webpage and in this issue of the Arrow Lakes News.




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