Where can you see Vikings engaging in pitched battles and knights battling it out in close combat this weekend? Look no further than CelticFest at the Warwick Showgrounds this Saturday and Sunday, where Viking warriors from re-enactment groups Jorth Gar Living History Society and Rognvald’s Lith will clash on the Main Arena, and knights in 13th to 16th century era armour from Tyr’s Warriors Club will tourney with sword and shield in the Medieval Arena!
While CelticFest is a celebration of all things Celtic, festival-goers can also immerse themselves in the authentic re-enactment of how people lived hundreds of years ago. Battles and tournaments were just part of medieval life; re-enactors living in the Medieval Arena during CelticFest will also dress, prepare food, eat, work and sleep as people did in feudal times.
CelticFest patrons are encouraged to come along in their own medieval garb, view demonstrations of lost trades, buy some of the traditional wares on offer, watch graceful displays of tribal belly-dancing and dancing through the ages, and participate in one of the workshops and classes, including felting and chainmail making (schedules will be posted in the encampment each day). You could even take home your own authentic drinking horn or chainmail-making kit!
There’ll be a ‘photo booth’ as well – come and get your photo taken on the replica throne of swords (gold coin donation); capes, crowns and swords (NB not real swords) will be available for those who don’t have their own.
Jorth Gar is a Viking re-enactment group which is part of the New Varangian Guard re-enactment group in Australia, which pays homage to the Viking-based Varangian Guard; the Varangian Guard was the personal bodyguard of the Byzantine emperors from the 10th to the 14th centuries.
Led by a Jarl, also known as a nobleman or a chieftain, Jorth Gar re-enacts not just the Guard, but also artisans and civilians, including those skilled in leatherwork, woodwork and metalwork; weaving and clothes-making; medieval cooking, and makers of instruments such as lyres, drums and double reed flutes.
At CelticFest Jorth Gar artisans will demonstrate blacksmithing, dyeing and weaving, and medieval cooking; Viking fighters will give talks on their weapons and armoury, and CelticFest patrons can also play Viking-era board games.
But one of the main drawcards is expected to be Jorth Gar’s Main Arena Viking battles with Rognvald’s Lith! When it comes to Viking age combat re-enactment, Jorth Gar trains its soldiers in units of eight, and presents a range of tactical situations, such as skirmishes, and battles against the shield wall of an enemy – this will truly be a sight to see over the CelticFest weekend!
The close combat demonstrations in the Medieval Arena between Tyr’s Warriors’ knights will also be worth watching! Around 10 knights in 13th-16th century armour, weighing up to 30kg, are expected to battle it out for supremacy at CelticFest, with the competition fights comprising longsword, sword and shield, pro fights (a bit like medieval MMA fighting), and group fights. Choose your favourite knight or knights and cheer them on!
The longsword, and sword and shield battles are three one-minute rounds in a best-of-three format, while the pro fights last 1.5 minutes; each hit scores a point with the winner being the fighter with most points at the end of the round. A group fight (three on three or five on five) can last for up to five minutes, with the winning team being the one that knocks down all the players on the opposing team.
CelticFest is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
CelticFest received funding from SDRC’s Community Grants funding and the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), a partnership between the Queensland Government and Southern Downs Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.
For more information about CelticFest and CelticFringe, please visit the CelticFest website at www.celticfestqld.com.au and www.celticfestqld.com.au/cletic-community-fri-sun, and follow CelticFest on Facebook and Instagram.