001_spear

I’m one of those folks who gets ideas. Unfortunately I am not a crafty, handy or sporty person so unless there is an outlay of money, it just won’t happen.

For years we had lived with pop-ups and although I couldn’t fault the price, the ease of setup or the packing, I hated, hated, hated how it looked.

At one job, we had just finished setting up the tent and as I was putting car away, winds from the Gulf Coast picked up our last popup, smashed it against a building several times and functionally rubbed its pneumatic  backside in our collective faces.

It did, of course, rain that weekend and one member had a bit of hypothermia (solved) But from that moment there was a certain determination to have it NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

So I chatted with a tent-maker from Mobile, Al and he almost always had a tent of his design at these events and had made tents for the Gulf Wars participants. Plus, his were rated for hurricane winds. Sure we could have bought yet another popup but my mind was made up.  I took some savings, picked some colors, did a payment schedule and planned to pick it up at the next southern festival.

When it arrived it was great.  We put it up with four of us and it looked amazing. And then he and his wife left with the containers it had come in.  Now I did have a moment of  “Hey, you’d think for this price…” But hated the totes, and we needed something collapsible.

One quick trip to Wally-world and Savers later, two golf bags and a canvas carry-all plus the bungeed center pole and we had a tent that was 1) professional-looking 2) could withstand high winds 3) was a great place to store our stuff.

360 view of the tent from the inside (before loading with stuff)
http://360.io/nRjZnG

In fact, at that first faire, we saw two EZ-ups give their lives and try to eat some fire performers. They were like two scary, sharp-edged tumbleweeds of death. All that people could do was clear the way and wait for them to land. Unsurprisingly, the same building that was the end of ours was the final resting place of these.

So now to sing the praises of the tent

It CAN be put up with two people but it’s ugly and time consuming. With four it’s pretty fast and with six it’s a pretty easy, especially if at least two are veterans at it.

People come by JUST to look at it. Some people poo-poo it’s “authenticity” but I point out it’s nearly identical to the ones that the BBC and Royal Armouries use for themselves. (But carefully avoid that perhaps ours is a bit more showy with flaming sword scallops) In fact, we received one job on the basis of the tent. (QUOTE: You have to bring your sword to our event! Oh and you do a show too?) And some people are content to just come and take a peek at it-and it’s a good opportunity to chat.

It’s a green room when many events don’t provide one.  I do feel a little guilty when our troupe members have a place to hide away out of the weather or just patrons. But then I remember the evil Gulf Coast wind and I make my peace.  Since we have a lot of valuable props (swords especially) it’s good to have a place to tuck them out of sight.  We do our best to never leave it unattended and some members have slept in it overnight.

tent_interior

It’s just a nice place to be.  I have a lot of pictures of the inside of the tent-usually I do panoramas so the viewer can “be in” the tent with us. We carry three suitable chairs and a fuzzy throw, as well as a number of tapestries. I’d have lanterns and rugs but my partner and husband growls a bit at all the “stuff” and sometimes we sacrifice if we need to carpool with more people.

Sometimes we help make the magic. I feel with the tent, that a lot of folks have a visual cue that “Hey, I’m going to festival!” I’m thrilled when faires use us in their publicity material and we had someone run up and say
“That’s the tent from the website!”
I’d really rather it was from our awesome shows, but I’ll take it. I suspect that one faire uses us as a “Hey this is the demarcation that this is it where the faire begins and the parking ends!” And we are MUCH bigger than a traffic cone.

But I love our tent, and on a rainy, windy day it’s a big canvas hug that tells us we’re worth that much excess,  that much finery.

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