Event Report: Siege of Talonval

Siege of Talonval Event Report

by Ld. Angus Folk Singer

There are good events… and there are events which produce good stories. This year’s Siege of Talonval was a little of both.

One cannot guess how much the early date, new location, and weather forecast impacted turnout but enough people attended to make Siege an enjoyable event.

It’s always risky to schedule activities Friday night. It is a 2-hour drive from Grand Rapids, or from Detroit/Windsor, so groups who wait until after work may not arrive until dusk or later. Even with light rain, our Carnival went well and attendees played long and hard to earn enough tokens to redeem them for prizes. Many people especially wanted Danaware pottery.

The two bardic revels didn’t fare as well. Friday night’s revel coincided with almost 2 inches of rain, much of which fell in the revel’s first hour. One park road turned into a river. Most tents fared well, but a few campers found themselves in the middle of small ponds. As a precaution, I had stored Saturday’s garb in my car… but my tent performed admirably. Saturday’s revel was similarly jinxed, with brief spans of heavy rain driving revelers far and wide. Most of the musicians migrated to a pavilion with a fire place. Even then, my drum was too damp to function. The other revelers either went to bed, or congregated near Eginolf’s and Tacie’s tent and talked. Those who gathered at the two focal points enjoyed themselves. While other parts of the Known World have had worse floods, the Siege of Talonval Flood deserves to be commemorated in song and/or story.

Daytime weather Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was pleasant enough. We had sprinkles here and there, but they wrung out some of the mugginess and discouraged insects more than participants. While some folk may not have been as fortunate, I never needed bug repellent.

The A&S artisans’ rows went well. As event A&S steward, I was there until court. People came and went, but we averaged about a dozen individuals at the pavilion at any given moment. Some came to have a dry, shaded area to work their craft. Others came to demonstrate their crafts to others. Still others came to observe and maybe have hands-on experience. My 17-year-old granddaughter fully enjoyed trying wire weaving and drop spinning. At the other end of the pavilion, Scottish accent was taught, concerts were given, basic elements of Bodhrán drumming were demonstrated (with hands-on opportunity), and Allie Genia demonstrated basics of playing the trombone (which in medieval times was called a sacbut).

Fighters, spectators, marshals, and others appreciated having all martial arts in one area, with a viewing area that could overlook everything. Unfortunately, the ground was soft at the royal pavilion, and Her Majesty’s throne, as well as those of Their Highnesses, sank into the muck. We found something to place between the thrones and the ground … which seemed to solve the problem.

Many thanks to Siri Toivosdotter (Jo-Ann Sheffer) and The Roaring Wastrels for providing courtly music. Their processional and background music greatly added to the regal air. Her Majesty graciously allowed me to bring an item of populace business to court, which was addressed in a most noble and appropriate manor. To my surprise, however, when my business was completed, she bade me stay. For many years, I had coveted the Award of Arms. To my surprise, I was given, instead, a Purple Fret!!! Even as I write this, two days later, I am still overwhelmed!!! It’s also a bit frightening. By calling out the bits and pieces of service I have provided in the past, the expectation has been set that this will now be the norm. The bar has been raised.

Our market had reasonably good weather and steady traffic. The merchants had the potential for good business. I hope their results pleased them.

Feast was amazing. Troll Bruce requested permission to sing for Her Majesty, although he was a bit hard to hear. Afterwards, I assisted him in returning to Troll, where he has loyally served Talonval since the earliest Baronial invasions. The feast steward and her staff served us a meal truly fit to be called “feast”.

We had the inevitable bumps. Some carnival games were left home. Some Shire members who had agreed to responsibilities didn’t attend at all. One Shire member served loyally and well, even though a toe had broken the day before. There are stories and songs lurking in these trials … some day…

Many thanks to all who contributed to making this event a success, especially Allie Genia (our event steward) and Paul Lewis, the co-steward who scrambled to find a site for our event and then spent most of the event scrambling on one task or another. I will not attempt to thank others by name, because I will surely miss individuals, but appreciation must be extended, not only to our wonderful Shire of Talonval folk, but to our neighbors in Northwods, Cynnabar, and Roaring Waste who contributed to this event. Appreciation must also be extended to Marble Springs Campground. They fully embraced the event.