All about the Events

This page describes code of conduct and provides tips for any revel-goer. For actual list of events held by the Far Isles please click here.

The society holds a variety of events throughout the year ranging from large formal revels to small informal gatherings of craftsmen. Details of forthcoming events can be found in the Society's monthly newsletter, Three A or in the events section.

The person organising an event is known as the 'AUTOCRAT'. If you need to know anything about an event this is the person to contact. Their address can be found on the booking form or in the newsletter.


Booking for Events

For formal events fill in the booking form, make out a cheque or whatever for the revel fee and post it to the autocrat. If you want a receipt enclose a stamped addressed envelope (this is only to keep the autocrats from going bust). For informal events like workshops simply ring the organisers up and tell them you're coming.

Important Notes

  1. If you have any special dietary requirements (vegetarian, allergic to alcohol etc.) tell the autocrat when you book.
  2. Read the form - it will tell you what you need for the event.
  3. Always book spare costume or sleeping space (if they are available) in advance.
  4. If you need anything special (somewhere to change your baby etc.) let the autocrat know in advance (but don't expect miracles - we try our hardest but...).

Have you noticed that if you book early it's (usually) cheaper?


Revels

These are the society's most frequent social events. They can be held for a variety of reasons, to celebrate a festival, to mark a betrothal or for no other reason than the chance to gather and feast. Most revels start in the early afternoon. As soon as you arrive let the Autocrat know you're there and get into garb. While people are still arriving and getting organised everyone tends to congregate in the hall socialising; this is a good time to hunt out the people you want to meet or just say hello to people in general. The afternoon may then continue with a dance practice, workshops, a tourney or a court. Sometimes a combination of all these events will occur; don't worry about it just join in and enjoy yourself!

Sooner or later the feast will be held - this is your chance to become fat! Our feasts consist of medieval food served a medieval manner. This means they come in a series of little meals called 'removes' - so don't expect a soup course then a fish course expect a soup and fish remove followed by a meat and savoury remove followed by... The best way to handle these is to try a little of everything and leave room for the next remove. If you don't like something (or you are allergic to it) don't take it; if you adore something have a big portion!! Eat, drink and fall over (hey, how did that slip in?).

You can generally sit anywhere you like except the high table (the one stuck all by itself at the top of the hall); this is reserved for the nobility. You should bring your own knife, spoon, bowl and platter. You can bring things like candles and napkins as well if you like ... also needed will be something to drink and something to drink it out of (goblet, bowl or whatever). Period drinks like herbal infusions, fruit juice, wine, mead, beer, ale and cider are fine but please note that spirits are not accepted at our gatherings. (It also goes without saying that you should keep such hideous modern items as cans, cartons and plastic bottles off the table!)

During the feast people may get up and offer various period entertainments in the form of songs, stories, feats of juggling or plays; please give them good attention. If you fancy your own skills don't be afraid get up and entertain the masses (though at formal events you should check with the autocrat first).

After the feast it is much appreciated if you lend a hand clearing the boards. The festivities can then continue with games, dancing or more socialising until it is time to clear the hall and return to the mundane world. Again feel free to join in and if you don't know the moves or the dance steps (you were asleep during the workshop, weren't you?) don't worry because there will be plenty of people glad to show you what to do.

Serving

It is possible to reduce the cost of a revel by volunteering to serve. This is a good way to get involved with things, allows you the chance to get to the food and any leftovers first and gives you free membership of the Guild of Servitors and Scullions. It also makes for happy autocrats!

Post Revels

Quite often people will offer floor space for those who do not feel like going straight home after a revel. You must book this in advance and bring a sleeping bag or cloak for the night. The next day will then be spent recovering, chatting, wandering off to the pub or local museum etc... in fact it can be almost as much fun as the revel.


Courts

Courts are ceremonial occasions where the nobility of the realm receive petitions, issue sundry charters and proclamations, dispense judgement and grant audience to their people. They are also the place where rewards are given to those who have served the noble or the society well. Courts are serious but not necessarily solemn events and you should give polite attention whilst they are going on. If some of the proceedings seem incomprehensible at first do not fret; courts give good medieval atmosphere, the opportunity for character play and all the ceremony helps give significance to the customs of the society. Just try not to snore at the back.

The Monarch of the Far Isles holds court at three revels known as the Great Revels. These are Foundation and Independence Revel (held in the month of October), Twelfth Night Revel (on the nearest practical date to January 6th) and Spring Revel (to be held between March 1 and May 31 - traditionally it has been a May Revel). Lesser nobles and Sheriffs can also hold a court when they have business to do on behalf of the lands under their jurisdiction - For example, in the Duchy of CamCairndryth the Duchess holds her court at their Midwinter Revel with the High Sheriff holding court at their Spring Revel (which is given a different name each year depending on when it is held).

Being Presented at Court

People can have the honour of being presented to the noble holding court - e.g. a member may present a relative newcomer to court or a parent may present their child when they consider it old enough. People may also bring business before the court or be summoned to it. Such a person, upon being called, should disarm themselves, walk to within a few feet of the throne and bow or curtsey before the noble. They must then wait to be addressed and thereafter reply politely once dismissed they should walk backwards a few steps before turning and resuming their place amongst the masses. If you have business at court or wish to be presented contact a Herald IN ADVANCE.


Other events

Tournaments

The Tourney is our recreation of medieval combat; it is an interesting and strenuous sport, not a rehearsed display. To take part in the actual fighting you must undertake training at arms until you know what you are doing. If you simply want to join in and help then you can give a hand running the lists (working out who is meant to be hitting whom), helping people get into armour, being someone's squire if you are young enough, or learn to be a herald or a marshal. Of course you are always welcome to just come along and watch, cheer, give favours to someone you think is cute and applaud the victor.

Workshops

Workshops are meetings of people interested in the arts and sciences. They can range from a quick talk to an afternoon learning how to dance or even an entire weekend discussing a particular craft. Unless they are held as part of a revel workshops are generally not held in garb. To find out what is planned for a workshop and what you need to bring, contact the person running it or the autocrat of the revel it is part of.

Weekend Events

Every now and then we hold a really large event that lasts for an entire weekend at which we do most of the things above and a few other looney things besides. For these events you are going to need at least one change of garb and probably something warm to wear in the evening. (Cloaks are a great way of keeping warm especially if there is room for more than one person under them...) Sleeping arrangements can vary from youth hostel beds to the stone floor of a castle keep, so read the booking form carefully to see what you will need. Don't forget to bring a song or a tale for the late night bardicing...

Displays

We generally do our re-enacting for our own pleasure rather than as an entertainment for masses. However, once in a while, it is nice to let the rest of the world know we exist, recruit some new members, demonstrate our crafts, raise a bit of money or just fight before a larger audience (besides which some nice people like English Heritage will let us hold revels in their castles if we entertain their visitors during the day). People are always welcome at such events to join in with the demonstrations, sell things or chat to the audience.


Organising an Event

Volunteers are always needed to run events (otherwise we wouldn't have any!) so perhaps you'd like to try your hand at autocrating? An easy way to find out what is involved is to help an experienced organiser; so contact your local group and find what's being planned. Of course you are welcome to jump in at the deep end and try your own event ideas out; here is how to set about doing it:

  1. Pre-Planning - At least 6 months before the event.
    Find another couple of co-autocrats to help you and carefully split up the responsibilities - overall autocrating, cooking etc. Remember you can always ask others to help with things like running your tourney or holding a dance practice. Plan your event; decide what you want to do - eat, dance, tourney etc. A REVEL IS MORE THAN JUST A MEAL!
  2. Planning - 3-4 months before event.
    Formalise your plans. Work out a timetable for the event and provisional costing. Calculate the revel fee as [({what you plan to spend per head on food} plus {price of hall plus any other expenses}) divided by (the MINIMUM number of expected attendees)]. Note that as Autocrat you will be organising not revelling so you won't be expected to pay the fee for the event. Now discuss your final plans with the council and arrange finances with them. (The group for whom the event is being run will fund it, keep any profits and cover any loses. As autocrat you will simply be expected to account for moneys received and spent). Once you have done this you can book the hall and send out the booking forms. Collect moneys as they come in and forward them to the council (DO NOT ACCEPT BOOKINGS WITHOUT MONEY). Keep track of how many are coming and generally get organised! Arrange for some people to serve while you are at it!
  3. Preparation- week before event
    Buy and start cooking food - cook as much as possible in advance. Remind everyone who offered to help of what they promised to do and gather all the bits you will need together ready for transportation.
  4. The Event - yer there - panic ye not !
    Get to hall as early as possible, arrange tables, hang banners, organise the kitchen and generally get ready. Welcome people as the arrive (and check they have paid!) Finally run the event as planned; hope it works! Have FUN - yes this is allowed - then tidy up and return the hall keys.
  5. The Aftermath - some time after the event!
    Collapse in a heap and let people tell you how wonderfully it all went; accept awards as hero of the day...! Write up the accounts of the event as soon as possible and send them to the council. Now vow never to run another event - well not till the next one at least...


Further Information

To see what Far Isles events are coming see the Calendarium page.

For further information on running events see the Guild of Autocrats.