Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Robin Hood Festival

Last weekend we went to the Robin Hood Festival at Sherwood Forest. We've been in Nottingham for about a year and a half now, and this is the first time we've been to the festival. It sounded like a lot of fun, so we decided to rent a car and go along to see what it was like.

It was great fun! There were a lot of people, perhaps a bit more than the festival was really prepared for, but there was plenty to see and do, and lots to have a go at...

Me, trying some archery.

My husband has always loved the Robin Hood legend, so he was pretty excited, and made a beeline for the hats as soon as he saw someone wearing one. I think it really suits him!

There were tents all along the walk to the Major Oak, the famous tree where Robin Hood and his men were said to sleep, selling a variety of Olde Goodes, and places to try archery and shooting a crossbow. There were events at the Oak and the Visitor Centre throughout the day, including jesters, archers, storytellers, and some funny Morris Dancers who pulled a baffled boy and girl out of the crowd to join in, with virtually no instructions about the dance. In fact, audience participation was a strong theme throughout, and all the performers and acts interacted wonderfully with the crowds.

We watched the birds of prey show twice, as it was showing different birds each time. Both were very good, with an extremely charismatic presenter and some birds who were real personalities. The children participating seemed to be having a wonderful time, especially one adorable little boy who grinned and laughed throughout and pretty much stole the show.

Yes, that's a mouse's tail sticking out of its beak.

At the end of the Sunday afternoon, a final show was put on, including jousting, hand-to-hand stunt fighting, and lots more, with some pantomimey aspects too. It was amazing! Everyone involved was excellent, particularly the Sheriff, and the fights and horse riding were performed perfectly. It was fun and funny, and the perfect way to end the day.

You want to know more? Well, okay, pull up your chair for a blow by blow account of the final battles...

Little John and one of the Sheriff's men prepare to salute the audience before their fight.

But the rotten Sheriff's man takes the opportunity to gain an advantage.


Will Scarlet to the rescue!

Robin Hood catches a hoop with his lance.

But what's this? Sir Guy of Gisbourne knees Robin Hood in the stomach!

...but Robin is back on the attack...

...and turns a fall into an opportunity to kick Sir Guy into the air.

Now Will Scarlet fights one of the Sheriff's villainous knights...

...and WINS!

The Sheriff charges in on his mighty chariot!

...and glowers at the booing crowd.

Casualties of the melee:

Robin Hood takes a breather...

...before finally facing off against the Sheriff himself. I think we all know who wins this one!

A victory ride from Robin.

We're definitely going again next year, and we've learnt some tips for next time too. Such as, don't follow the procession... get down to the jousting arena early instead, and claim some space at the front. And probably bring some folding chairs too. Oh, and bring some coins (the chocolate variety) for the Medieval beggars...

Thanks to everyone involved: the performers, organisers, volunteers, and Nottinghamshire County Council for putting on a really fun event! :-) Already looking forward to next year.

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