I hadn’t forgotten Sabine. So – here is one more totally-SCA Q&A:
“As someone who has sat on the Thrones thru 2 Gulf Wars – What do you think about Opening Ceremonies? Wouldn’t it be great if we put more effort into them? Enough effort that people would want to show up? And to start down the path to improvement do you think we should remove the horses that hinder us so much from the equation? (we can always give them their own parade…)”
First (I mentioned that vanity, right?) THREE. (insert grin and wink here – where are emoticons when you need them?) Okay. Deep Breath.
I agree with you. The horses REALLY hinder what we can do in terms of pageantry and audience participation. And I think the attendance over the years shows that.
What I personally would like to see? A mass muster. Each Kingdom massing in full Kingdom colors at their muster point and marching their armies with banners, singers, drummers, you name it, down to the Fort. Each would start at a different point and end up on the main drag. This would need to be coordinated to avoid a cluster-well-you-know at Five Points, but a few people on radios should be able to manage that. The next Kingdom could get the “go” as a preceding Kingdom hit the crossroads. And largesse, there must be largesse. Nothing says “I love you” like a good pelting with trinkets.
This would have to be accompanied by some sort of equestrian review later in the week – like perhaps move Great Court up and have the Royals arrive at GC on horseback. More on that later. But back to the Processional.
What’s it going to take? And now here, you can see why this has not changed…
First, the Autocrat is going to have to announce the change in venue to all the participating Kingdoms, far, far in advance. Planning for the next GW starts as soon as the gates close on the old one. As a Crown, and knowing my fellow Crowns, Rule #1, above all other things, is never, NEVER blindside your Royalty. I have been a volunteer, a shift head, a Staff Head, and a Crown at Gulf Wars, and I know that people on staff tend to underestimate the sheer amount of things a Crown has to do to Prepare for the War. If you are conscientious about it, it is a herculean task. Gift baskets, Teas, Socials, Scheduling, Fundraising, Army planning, War conventions – not to mention the clothes, oh-my-god-the-clothes, and at least two Courts that are expected to be the largest and grandest of the year. And that’s in a non-Treaty year. It’s a LOT to do. In fact, so much Gleann Abhann has appointed a 5-member advisory committee to provide the Royalty with checklists and status reports to keep them on track as host Crown.
You will also have to convince the Royalty to ditch the horses. I will be frank – Royalty love horses. This is one of the few opportunities they get to have for a Pageant like that. Me, I am “eh”, mainly because I stiff and uncomfortable in a center position. But largely, the Royalty LOVE to be seen riding regally on a barded horse – even if they can’t ride a lick and the horse is being led. They will have to be bribed with another opportunity to do it.
And, you need a willing Autocrat. One of Gulf War’s greatest strengths IS the level of continuity in Staff. Most Staff Heads serve at least one war as a Deputy prior to stepping in. Most have a much longer history of involvement. On one hand, it means that the nuts and bolts of the war run smoother every year. On the other, it means that we can have a tendency toward entrenchment. And this is not discouraged by the Royals because they comfortably know what is expected of them every year.
So in short, it is going to take a clear vision – well planned and pitched to the Royalty in terms even they can understand – and a cooperative Autocrat. Yes, I can see more effort being put in, but we need somebody who can fire them up – and Crowns that can fire up their populace. It takes a cast of hundreds to pull it off.