Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

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foamcow
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Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:29 pm

Hi

Re-enacting and Living History has been something I have been interested in for some time but until recently I have never seriously considered getting involved with. However after taking the family to Tewkesbury last weekend and seeing how much they enjoyed it I have got it into my head that I want to give it a go and perhaps get them involved too - wife and 2 children 7 and 11.

I've looked at a few groups websites and plan on going to Berkeley and finding someone to have a chat with but since you're all seasoned "pros" I was wondering what advice you would give to a complete novice so I don't come across as a complete spod!

Period wise I probably know more about WW2 but I'm not sure that it would be right for me especially if the family were to become involved.

I think I'd enjoy War of The Roses period more - although I would certainly need to brush up on my history! It's a period that interests me and I see it as an opportunity to learn about the period but would this be a hurdle in joining a War of The Roses group?

Ideally I'd be looking for something local but I do notice that some groups are quite spread out and it obviously isn't a problem so perhaps I'm just thinking about it the wrong way. I've got a couple of groups in mind, The Woodvilles and The Cosmeston Archers but I'm really open to any suggestions so if you're recruiting and want to take on a well built novice now's your chance! :)

Thanks for your patience. Something I have noticed from the re-enactors I have met is that you all seem to be jolly nice people!



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Tomsk
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Tomsk » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:18 pm

Hi there!,
Im sure you will have a few replies from groups that are recruiting.Ideally if you can find a group that does "living history" (civillian) as well as military you can enjoy re-enactment together as a family.
One word of advice,dont start to buy re-enactment kit until you have joined a group and they have advised you on what to buy.There is nothing worse as a beginner than spending your hard earned cash only to find out that its the wrong style for your chosen period/too high a status for your characters status/or a pile of jubbly pish sold to you as you wouldnt know whats authentic or not.
Good luck with your re-enactment future,though be aware is not a hobby but a way of life :wink:

Tomsk


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foamcow
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:29 pm

"Jubbly pish" - possibly the best phrase I've heard this year so far.



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:37 pm

that Tomsk may contain more than just traces of port but he is right, find a group that you are happy with and that are happy with you, find out what is right for who you portray in the group and they will help you get the right kit first time instead of wasting your money on the 'jubbly pish'


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rowana
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby rowana » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:08 am

Go round and talk to different groups, I am sure they would be happy to talk to you and share their experiences with you. Maybe also just watch them a little in the living history camp- do they look like they are having a good time with each other? It might give you an insight into how to group are as a whole.

If you are wanting to do WOTR there are many groups about and many different ones will be at events. Generally all you will need is a basic soft kit for all the family- this won't be cheap and it will help if someone in your family can sew.

Good luck :)



the real lord duvet

Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby the real lord duvet » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:22 am

good choice on 15th c as a family reenactment. They can all dress up and play their part and most groups have similar families so the kids will make friends.

By comparison, ww2 doesn't accommodate non coms and kids as well. Its almost as if Ww2 is for either single dudes or as an escape from the family.

I do both.

Just don't get disheartened that The best 15c groups don't openly recruit newbies.



foamcow
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:34 am

Thanks for the tips.

I'm hoping I can collar a few people at Berkeley. One of the groups I want to speak to isn't there though sadly.
Was going to try and get to Kelmarsh this weekend but that's not looking likely now due to other commitments.

I hear what you're saying about the WW2 groups. Only to be expected really. Interesting that you do both WW2 and 15thC - how do you find the time?! :)

As for the expense, yeah! My plan is to start doing it myself and see if they get more interested. I think my son would like to get involved and I would really like that. Daughter and wife, although keen, would probably happily wait and see. My daughter wants to fight but since she's only 7 I had to explain that she couldn't - she wasn't impressed :)



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Miss Costello
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Miss Costello » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:46 am

Not true that WW2 groups don't accomodate families, we're at Kelmarsh this weekend and then at War and Peace.

There are lots of women in our group and some children too! It's very definately not all about the military, we're doing BEF and civilians at the fall of Dunkirk if you'd like to come and say hello!

Kate



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:06 pm

I'm juggling previously made plans to try and get to Kelmarsh this weekend. So fingers crossed. I'll be on my own though as the kids have birthday parties and the like to go to.



the real lord duvet

Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby the real lord duvet » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:19 pm

Miss Costello wrote:Not true that WW2 groups don't accomodate families, we're at Kelmarsh this weekend and then at War and Peace.

There are lots of women in our group and some children too! It's very definately not all about the military, we're doing BEF and civilians at the fall of Dunkirk if you'd like to come and say hello!

Kate


Kate

I can tell you a story about how the brit ww2 infantry group treated my wife and infant like sh** at every event for a year, ignoring them if present whilst expecting me to be part of the unit and ignore my family?
i can tell you about how they barred family members from the display if not in kit? left out side if it rained, not offered even a cup of tea?
i can point you to the threads on the ww2 forum that have people openly saying how families aren't that welcome?


i can even tell you how certain members of the group acted to my 12 year old daughter one evening at an event which led to me leaving em. But that might get legal so is best over a beer off line. Although if you do meet them at kelmarsh they've got some other excuse they claim to have chucked me out for and nothing to do with me getting politely irate about what could have been seen as a fat old ponce grooming a 12 year old girl and then the group leadership protecting him from accusations.



I'm not at kelmarsh simply because i don't want to take her to an event they are at unless she's got a full family unit to protect her. Not so much for what they might do to her as for what I wish I'd done to them though.

there must be family friendly ww2 groups - but at the end of the day there's not much excuse for the wife and kids on a display of a ww2 trench is there? I might have been unlucky in getting into a group of stupid little egotistical wankers. but the thread on ww2 forum about how there's no place for kids at reenactment suggested that others act the same unfriendly way to families certainly not suggesting that they're all ponces though.

charlotte spent a lovely weekend at tewkesbury with lots of friends without any trouble - even less screaming in the dines camp than normal i thought. even though maria couldn't do anything to help because of her hand. but charlotte had friends and i felt she was in a safeplace even though I didn't know anything other than she was on the camp somewhere.

(and i bet I'm going to get told off for this post)

(ps the same group is very accommodating of 12 - 15 year old boys who join though, they even let them take part in all the major battles using blank firers, its just girls who get special treatment?)
Last edited by the real lord duvet on Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:23 pm

If you want to talk to someone from the Woodvilles while at Berkley I shall be there, if God allows it as a guest of Ravencrest/Lord Grey's retinue (aka the northern plastic monkey woodvilles).


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foamcow
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:50 pm

If you want to talk to someone from the Woodvilles while at Berkley I shall be there, if God allows it as a guest of Ravencrest/Lord Grey's retinue (aka the northern plastic monkey woodvilles).


Brilliant. I'll look for the chap in the medieval gear... oh dear :)
I'm sure I'll find you.

Would the Woodvilles welcome a complete novice? I've been trying to think what skills I can bring other than letting people hit me with things. I can bake bread and I'm from an art background so am quite crafty as it were, I can turn my hand to most anything and I've been told I'm good at speaking to groups (I do presentations from time to time). I'm a web developer by trade but I don't think there's much call for that in the 15th Century. :)

I'm a large fella with a beard and I'll have a DSLR camera with me... actually that won't narrow it down much. I may have a Jack Russell with me if dogs are allowed on site (need to check that actually!)



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rowana
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby rowana » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:08 pm

Dogs are allowed :)

Most event sites allow dogs that are on leads :)



foamcow
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:12 pm

That's a relief. I'd hate to have to explain to him that he had to stay at home. He gives me that look with the big, soppy eyes and the underlying threat he'll crap in the kitchen while I'm out.



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Miss Costello » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:51 pm

Poor you Duvet, you should have joined SO44! We have a number of kids in the group and can usually find a way of fitting them in, in fact they're positively welcome in our Arnhem displays!

Don't want to put Foamcow off by suggesting all WW2 groups are the same, I remember horrendous rows in the 15thC group between those who had kids and those who didn't and I had a bad experience with an English Civil War group only a few years ago.

Don't tar us all with the same brush, you'll have to let me know on Facebook who it was that treated you so badly and I shall give them a wide berth!
K



the real lord duvet

Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby the real lord duvet » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:01 pm

kate

You can work it out from my facebook pictures and friends......

But i certainly picked up from other groups that they prefer people that don't bring their families along, afterall families distract us from reenacting?

I wouldn't want to tar anyone with the particular brush of my exfriends. I'd hope there's not many like him and his mates in reenacting at any period.

In my experience in the south east ww2 reenactors are less likely to have or bring families than my experience of medieval.



foamcow
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:31 pm

Regardless of what period I end up "doing" I will only bring the family along if they are involved. It won't necessarily stop me (and "the boy") from taking part.

To be honest, "the boy" would probably enjoy WW2 just as much but I know he (and "the noisy pink one") are both very keen to take up archery so it kind of fits to go the WoTR route.

Besides that I understand that each group is different and there are "good" and "bad" in everything. It won't put me off.

You're all being really helpful. It's much appreciated. :)



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Graham Cooley » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:38 pm

Where are you based? That may help with people contacting you if they have members in the area.

We do mainly English Civil War but have also done other periods over the year with a number of groups. Each group will have it's own personality and these change with time, for example a group that had lots of twenty somethings 15 years ago probably has a number of members with children now. Go and meet the members, go along to an event or two. If that particular group is not for you don't ditch the hobby, look fro another group with a slightly different personality that suits you and your family.

Don't worry about knowing anything about history, most people join because it looks like fun and they think they will have a laugh, the knowlege comes with time.

Do make an effort to do things right where possible, there is a number of groups that are more pagent than reenactment and half the fun is going out in front of the public knowing you look as close as possible to what you are trying to portray. (Like everything take pride in what you are doing)



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rowana
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby rowana » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:56 pm

Well in medieval WOTR (as an example) there is always plenty to do in the living history camp- crafts, cooking, or just sitting and chatting, then at some events there is the shopping...

When I first joined a group I was lucky as I have two very good friends already in the group- but even so I turned up to several events and talked to a few other members before joining. I can certainly say as a female that often we are so busy that there is little time for crafts- but most of us seem to have something to do if not preparing food.

I can only speak from my limited experience, but there is certainly a homely atmosphere that includes kids big and small in WOTR reenacting.

As Kelmarsh is multi period it is a fantastic opportunity for you to look at the differnt groups and eras and talk about inclusion of family.

Also, remember to talk about level of comitment, some groups may want you at a lot of events, some may be happy for you to pick and choose- hence how some people manage to be reenactors in various groups.

Have a good weekend- with the dog! Ours very much enjoys the scraps of meat from the medieval cookery!



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby foamcow » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:11 pm

Where are you based? That may help with people contacting you if they have members in the area.


That's a good point. I thought I'd mentioned that I'm in Gloucester, bt apparently I forgot that bit!

I keep seeing things about the Companions of the Black Bear who are local to me, but every link I follow to their website is dead. I'll see if I can chase them up at Berkeley (assuming they are there).



the real lord duvet

Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby the real lord duvet » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:19 pm

black bear are now the throckmortons.




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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Dave B » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:44 am

foamcow wrote:Would the Woodvilles welcome a complete novice? I've been trying to think what skills I can bring other than letting people hit me with things. I can bake bread and I'm from an art background so am quite crafty as it were, I can turn my hand to most anything and I've been told I'm good at speaking to groups (I do presentations from time to time). I'm a web developer by trade but I don't think there's much call for that in the 15th Century. :)


In my experience most WOTR groups are very welcoming of people who put thier backs into group jobs like putting up and taking down tents, fetching wood and water, assisting the cook with chopping and stiring, and helping people in and out of armour and who are convivial to chat to round a campfire with a bottle, and aren't too noisy when rolling back to camp at 2am. anything more than that is just a bonus. I'm sure that that would be true of the woodvilles too, they are a nice lot.

Say hello at Kelmarsh or Berkley. I doubt that we (St.Dysmas) would be the group for you (too far north) but you'll find someone there, lots of nice groups round your general part of the world.


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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Chris, yclept John Barber » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:50 pm

I agree with what's been said so far, so just to pick up on a point which hasn't really been answered (apart from an aside by Graham): it doesn't matter that you don't know much about the period. I suspect that's true for most newbie re-enactors, with the possible exception of WWII ones because people of a certain age all grew up on war films and now watch the documentaries.

I think most people are attracted by something because the physical activities look like fun - your young 'un wants to get involved in the archery, and shoot at people rather than targets. Cool - go ahead!

Just to take KIBS as an example (I'm not trying to recruit you - too far away since we're in Sheffield!). As part of the display in one of our own shows, a new member might be practicing archery on the range while the Captain of Archers talks to the public. As well as improving their archery, the newbie learns something about the history of archery in the period. Later, they may be in the combat arena helping out by getting the crowd going, picking up fallen fighters, handing round the water,etc. But also listening to the narrators telling the public about the weapons and armour. Same around the tents, letting the public handle the weapons while more experienced re-enactors do the talking and answer questions, chopping wood while the cooks reveal the origin of the nutmeg...

Never let a lack of knowledge deter you from the period that looks most interesting. One characteristic of re-enactors is that we like to talk about our period!


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Dave B
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Dave B » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:56 pm

Chris, yclept John Barber wrote:I
Never let a lack of knowledge deter you from the period that looks most interesting. One characteristic of re-enactors is that we like to talk about our period!


Frankly, that's an understatement. show the slitghtes interest then if you don't run away reenactors will tell you about history till your ears bleed.


Find time in every day to look at your life and say; 'Well, it could be worse'



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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby hillyhenhouse » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:18 pm

Hi

We are also in Gloucestershire and very interested in joining a medieval group as a family.
We are a family of 6 with children aged 15,12,3 and 18 months.
My son would be interested in the battle side where as myself and my husband would be interested in living history and crafts etc.
We have no specific skills of the period allthough we are both very practical and enjoy crafts.
We were both nurses but I went on to educate the children and he into marketing!
We would be very interested to hear from anyone that could point us in the right direction.
We look forward to meeting some of you soon.
Debbie



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Dave B
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Dave B » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:43 pm

I'd definitely try to go to an event or two and chat to people in person. How about Stratford Armouries, near stratford upon Avon, not next weekend, the one after - is that handy for you?

If you just wander round the living history camps you'll normaly find some people who are just lurking waiting to talk to the public, just say hello to them and ask them about joining a group, and they'll probably be able to hand you on to the right person.

Dave.


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hillyhenhouse
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby hillyhenhouse » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:20 pm

Hi Again,
Sorry i should have said that the War of the Roses seems to have an interest for all the family. There is also the local links of tewkesbury and Bosworth not too far.

Speaking of Bosworth I think that it would be a good place to try and meet up with some people and look into which groups are open to newcomers and familys.
Is there a list of those going? We would be very interested in meeing up with anyone.
We hope to be there on Sunday as we don't get back from hols untill the Saurday.

Debbie



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Calendula
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby Calendula » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:57 pm

foamcow wrote:


I'm a large fella with a beard )


You're in! :D :D



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matlot
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Re: Seeking advice on finding and joining a group

Postby matlot » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:43 pm

their the saviles a wars of the roses yorkist household who are very family orientated there are plenty of kids (2-3 of the familys have 3 generations going) with members from all over the place mostly yorkshire/cheshire but as far away as plymouth and germany most of our events are midlands way and will be at bosworth they have a large living history camp and fighting wise they have a bill line, a large archery block, hand gunners, and a cannon they also have some musicians
there web site is http://www.savilehousehold.co.uk/

and they dance as well


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