A list of recommended items to bring to Cardiff Castle Garrison weekend shows. For more information about what to expect at weekend shows please see this post.
– Fourteenth century kit (clothes). If you do not yet have the required kit, please ensure you contact our Living History Officer to arrange this, either on Facebook or by emailing email@example.com. Note that it may be possible to borrow clothing if you ask sufficiently in advance.
– Weather-suitable clothing: We are often camping on grass at shows, which can get muddy, temperatures can get a little cold at night, and there can be rain. Please bring suitable clothing for this such as a warm coat or jumper, a waterproof jacket, and trainers or walking boots to ensure you do not get caught out by the weather.
– Bedding: If you are staying overnight at a show, either in a group tent or your own modern tent, then please bring your own bedding with you. A recommended minimum is a three-season sleeping bag and a roll mat as the ground can get very chilly at night. Extra pillows and blankets are also useful, especially in spring and autumn.
– Toiletries: Show locations do not usually have showers but sinks are usually available with hot running water. Wet wipes are useful for washing and please ensure you bring a general wash bag with items including a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, etc. Women will also need to consider bringing sanitary supplies as there are not always sanitary dispensers in the toilets on-site.
– Suncream: please bring suncream to Garrison shows! It is surprising how strong the sun can be when you’re out in it all day (even if it doesn’t feel that warm). If appropriate for your impression, you may also wear a straw hat.
– Food: at almost all multi-day shows the group provides a hot meal and snacks of bread, cheese, and fruit to nibble throughout the day. However, it is a good idea to bring your own food to supplement this as the group do not provide breakfast or supper. Many members bring snack foods like crisps and chocolates and sports drinks. Please note that if your food is inauthentic to the fourteenth century then you will be asked to eat it out of sight, e.g. in one of the tents. Authentic food that can be easily brought to shows includes fruit (apples, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants were commonplace, and more luxury items include dried fruits, pomegranates and oranges), pies and pasties, quiches, and pre-cooked meats such as salami and ham.
We always love to see new members at shows. If you have any questions at all feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on Facebook.
Everyone is welcome at shows, as long as they are a paid-up member of the Garrison (necessary for insurance purposes), and have the minimum 14th Century kit (clothes) required. If you don’t have this yet, don’t worry. You can contact our Secretary to arrange membership, which can even be done just before or at the show if necessary. You can also contact our Living History Officer to find if it will be possible to borrow kit. To message either, please email email@example.com.
Show Features and Facilities Show features and facilities vary from show to show, from small tabletop displays in modern locations to full living history encampments in historic locations with authentic tents, cookery, textile craft, arms and armour displays, and archery and combat ranges. Please see the appropriate Garrison Facebook events page for details of what each show will contain.
Types of Show Garrison shows fall into two categories: single-day shows and multiple-day shows.
Single-day shows take place over one day with no overnight camping. They are usually set up on the morning of the show before it starts and taken down that evening after it finishes.
Multiple-day shows take place over several days, usually weekends, with camping options for members overnight. Set up takes place the night before the show’s first day, and take down on the evening of the show’s last day.
Camping Options Camping is usually either in authentic group tents or in members’ personal plastic (modern) tents. At most of our multiple-day shows we provide authentic group tents for members to sleep in. These are usually divided into girls’ and boys’ tents and members provide their own bedding. If you would like a place in one of these tents or would like to check if they will be at an event, click through to the event page on our Facebook group and comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, if space is permitting, members are welcome to pitch their own tents at shows. However, please note that unless the venue has a separate ‘plastic’ camping area, all modern tents must be completely packed away while shows are open to the public, usually from around 9a.m. til 5p.m. Members are then welcome to re-pitch their plastic tent each evening.
Set-up The Garrison owns many large pieces of kit necessary for shows including tents, fireboxes, tables, benches, etc. which must be transported from our storage facility to the show location and then be set up there prior to the show’s opening. At many shows, we rely on members to volunteer to transport this kit and at all shows we rely on members to set up the camp. Therefore, we ask all members attending an event to help with set-up arrangements (typically on the evening before the first day of a multiple-day event) if this is possible.
Set-up logistics vary from show to show. Instructions will be included on the event page for the specific show on the Garrison’s Facebook group closer to the event date, so check on Facebook for this information.
Generally, some volunteer members pick up kit from storage with their vehicles and take it to the show’s location the night before a multiple-day show or on the morning of a single-day show, and other members meet them there to help set everything up.
Volunteers at set-up help to pitch our authentic tents, set out our fire and cooking equipment and set out our furniture including benches and tables. Additionally, on the morning of each event members set up our living history displays. Experienced member(s) will be on-site every day and can will instruct any new members on how to help. There will also be committee members on-hand to help you out as well.
Show Activities The Garrison generally provide a living history camp which contains several authentic tents and several living history displays such as textile crafts, weapons and armour or archery. Our members run these displays throughout the day, showcasing reproduction items and authentic skills to the public and answering their questions.
Please don’t worry if you don’t yet know enough to give a display as we’ll teach you everything you need to know during shows. New members are welcome to assist with any displays that interest them or, for their first show, just sit and listen to the experienced members and pick up information.
Food At almost all multiple-day events, the Garrison provide an authentic hot meal each day for participating members, which is cooked as part of our cooking display. Vegetarian and other special dietary options can be catered for if given sufficient notice – please email email@example.com and the committee will pass your requirements on to the cook(s).
At multiple-day events, we also provide authentic snacks during the day including bread, cheese and various fruits.
Plenty of water is always available during our shows.
Members are also welcome to bring their own food and/or drink during shows. However, if your food is inauthentic then please eat it out of sight, for example in one of the tents! Note also that alcohol may not be drunk whilst the show is open to the public or in the morning before the public arrive.
Combat A few of our shows include re-enactment battles and/or fighting displays given to members of the public. Details of these may be found on the Facebook event page for the specific show.
To take part in combat or battles, Garrison members need to have passed the basic combat test given by the Training & Displays Officer and have the minimum amount of kit required to take part. For more information, please see our Introduction to Combat and Basic Combat Test posts.
Archery Some of the Garrison’s events will have the option to do archery displays, have-a-go archery with the public or shooting in battles.
To be able to do this you must have passed your basic archery test and for archery displays and battles have your own archery equipment which has been passed by the Training & Displays Officer. Some shows will have the opportunity to do archery training after hours, which will be put on at the discretion of the Training & Displays Officer.
Take-down At the end of a show, all Garrison camp equipment needs to be taken down and transported back into storage. As with set-up, there are only volunteer Garrison members available to do this, so we ask all members who attended the show to help with this after shows if it is possible.
Professional Attitude The Garrison is hired by event organisers to run a 14th Century re-enactment display at public shows. Members therefore need to act in a professional manner at all times, abide by Garrison rules and not commit any actions during these events which may bring the group into disrepute. Please have a quick read though the Garrison Code of Conduct before you attend your first event. It is available in the members-only section of this website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shows can seem daunting at first; but please don’t worry, our committee members will be on hand to help you as much as we can. If you have any problems, experienced members will be available and you can speak to them, or any committee members, about any issues you may have. Garrison loves new members and we’d be really happy to see you at shows!