Swords, steeds, sunshine, and smiles: the triumphant return of the Abbey Medieval Festival



Story and Photos by Sheree Hoddinett

Knights and maidens mixed with everyday folk at the return of the highly anticipated Abbey Medieval Festival. After two years of Covid interruptions, the grounds of Abbeystowe came alive once again with the rich aromas of medieval (and modern) cooking, the cheers of excitement at the jousting, the clanging of swords in battle and an assortment of outfits befitting of the festival arena.

Abbey Museum and Abbey Medieval Festival director, Edith Cuffe, was glad to see the festival come to fruition and forge ahead.

“It was very exciting to see the festival come together after two years,” she said. “We had enormous support from the community who were excited to see the festival return, even selling out our tickets prior to the weekend opening.”

As always, the jousting drew the big crowd numbers, with pre-sold tickets long gone before the weekend even began. It seems it was worth it, with lucky attendees treated to a very special win.

“The highlight event, the ‘Moreton Bay Joust Championship’, with its pageantry and excitement, was extremely popular,” Edith said. “We were very thrilled to have our first female joust champion, Lady Eliza Jane.”

But it wasn’t all just happening in the main jousting arena. Medieval reenactors and street performers were back sharing their knowledge and demonstrating their skills in arts, crafts, music, dance and much more. Despite a two-year hiatus, festival attendance was high, with 12,000 tickets sold each day. But, as with any major event, there were a few hiccups encountered across the weekend.

“There were a few teething problems that had to be managed and the impact of the weather, the rain the week before, brought its own challenges,” Edith said. “Some of our biggest challenges included managing offsite parking for the first time and transporting patrons to the festival after losing access to a nearby property where we previously had parked cars.

“This unfortunately led to queues, which were also experienced at food outlets on the festival site as well. They were sadly impacted by numbers due to the effects of Covid on the hospitality/events industry. We also sadly saw the loss of volunteers over the weekend from the influx of Covid and flu.”

If you missed out on this year’s festival, don’t despair, it won’t be long before planning is underway for next year’s event with organisers starting the process in August.          

                

“For now, we are reviewing all the feedback from this year’s attendees so we can improve on some of the challenges experienced,” Edith said. 

Keep up to date with all the latest information at abbeymedievalfestival.com

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