So you’ve decided to attend your first SCA event? Excellent! We’re delighted to have you. But you’re not sure what to do, or what you’ll need to bring? Don’t worry; there’ll always be plenty of people willing to help you out.
The very first thing you’ll need to do is book your place for the event. This is usually in the form of an email to the Reservations Steward or by completing an online booking form, but the information you’ll need to provide will be the same in both cases.
Name: Both real name and SCA name if you’ve chosen one.
Are you a member? This won’t affect your booking, but the Autocrat will need to know how many SCA members attended when they’re completing their event report.
Booking: Do you want a bed or crash space? Will you be coming for the whole weekend, or just popping along for a day?
Dietary requirements: This is probably the most important information you can provide. Letting us know if you have any allergies or intolerances means the menu can be modified to accommodate you, and everyone gets to enjoy the feast.
Travel details: If you let the Reservations Steward know how you’ll be arriving, they may be able to arrange pick-ups from local bus or train stations.
Questions: If you have them, please ask!
Next is the garb, or the costume you’ll be wearing. The garb is an important part of immersion at events; modern clothing does tend to stick out. But unless you have a very extensive wardrobe, it’s likely that you’ll need to borrow something to wear. If you’re not sure who to ask, again, drop a line to the Autocrat (the person running the event, sometimes called the Event Steward) or Reservations Steward, and they may be able to ask on your behalf, or point you in the right direction. You may also be able to ask on your local Shire’s email list or Facebook group.
Many new people worry that their garb at their first few events won’t be good enough, but really, it’s the effort that’s the important thing. When people see you taking part, whether in clothing begged, borrowed or, preferably not stolen, it’ll be the effort that shows and you’ll have the time to relax and think about the persona you want to develop.
The last thing you’ll need comes under the heading of Feast Gear. This is a general assortment of cutlery and dishware that you’ll use when dining over the course of the weekend. This is something you’ll probably need to borrow, and again, the Reservations Steward or your local group may be able to help you out. Some people choose to use very specific items that match to the era of their persona, while others use a collection of wooden or ceramic items. And some just use whatever looks pretty and will pass for medieval.
If you borrow your feast gear, you will be responsible for it for the weekend, using and cleaning it, and making sure it goes back to the rightful owner at the end of the event.
These are all things you can prepare or arrange to borrow before the event. At the event, there are just a few more considerations.
Money: SCA events are generally all inclusive; once you pay your event fee, you shouldn’t need to put your hand into your pocket again. However, there may be traders at the event, or you may wish to nip out to the shops and get a snack for yourself over the weekend, so it’s no harm to have a little extra cash on you.
Alcohol: Alcohol isn’t provided as part of the feast, but generally you’ll be able to bring along your own to drink or share. Whether or not you can consume alcohol at the event will be listed in the event details as follows:
- Strictly dry site – no alcohol is permitted
- Discreetly wet – alcohol is permitted, but don’t leave bottles/cans lying around, and dispose of all empties carefully.
- Wet – alcohol is permitted.
If you’re not sure which of these applies to the event you’ll be attending, the Reservations Steward will be able to advise you.
I’m here! Now what do I do?
Enjoy yourself! Take part in the tournaments or watch and cheer on the competitors. Being at an event is about doing whatever it is that you enjoy, whether that be A&S or fencing or archery or anything at all.
If you really find yourself at a loose end, perhaps take yourself up to the kitchens to see if you can help out. The kitchen atmosphere is generally a friendly one, and can be a nice, safe place to get to know people.
The whole point of the SCA is to have fun. Whether it is your first or just your next event, getting there and being there should be easy, and people will always be willing to help you out, so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help or guidance.
Lady Cassandra della Corona,
Seneschal, Dun in Mara.