[Ansteorra] TRF Costs and other related topics (longish)

Gerald Norris jerryn at houston.rr.com
Thu Dec 5 06:13:29 PST 2002

This is a long reply to many peoples, but I'm not planning on spending too
many more grey cells on this as I have a feast to prep for in the next week,
so bear with me (or skip the message).

Joel Schumacher wrote:
Either TRF is very costly to run or TRF is a greedy organization.
In either case, "needing" or "wanting" so much money, it is impractical
to have a large space like the SCA booth that draws no income.

If you'd ever watched the "back-end" of TRF you know that it IS costly to
run.  The groundskeeping, the paid performers, on top of the regular
maintenance, security, medical personell, etc.  It adds up.

Are they being greedy?  No more than any other corporation trying to make a
profit.  Those people who don't like the fees and such are more than able to
not show up at the faire.

The SCA compound at TRF has been, at least for the past few years, a gift
from TRF in remembrance of our help in getting the whole thing started in
the first place.  When you try to include the amount of rent they could take
in for the space we take up, the potential cost of the 1100 passes they gave
us every year and the free use of electricity, we're talking about a
"donation" to the SCA that exceeds $25K per season.  If you add in the lost
revenue from the space (be conservative and say that we could have, through
various shops and such, brought in another $15K per season) the amount goes

Joel also wrote:
For educational purposes?  For drawing in crowds or keeping them
there?  From what I've seen, the SCA doesn't do a fair job at that.

Perhaps the SCA didn't do a fair job at the time you went, but I think that
in the last three years we were much better attuned to these points.  I know
for a fact that this last season we had some of the largest crowds we had
seen in the compound, and people were talking to them and interacting with
them.  But I can understand how you base your opinion from your own
experience (as we all do).  All I can say is that we got better at it.

Then Baron Bors wrote:
I would almost agree with you.  Each year my wife and family try to make the
TRF and each year lately, I walk away from the event with the feeling that
some where some how some thing went terribly wrong with the concept .

And I would almost thank you for almost agreeing with me ;-)

It's your second statement, I think, that brings the big difference that
(along with the money) has caused this termination.

Many w/in the SCA believe in "The Dream", and many who helped with the TRF
when it started (you know who you are, and yes, it DOES date you ;-)) hoped
that they would be able to guide TRF to follow alongside that dream.

What has happened is that TRF has gone the way of all theme parks;
maximizing profit and using the best skills of the best people it can find.
Yes, it's a money issue as well.  Are they "ruining" a good thing?  Not by
what I'm able to see of people who attend the faire.  Most of the patrons
going to TRF are not there for historical accuracy and they're not there to
learn about how chainmail was fashioned or why.  They have the History
Channel, the Discovery Channel, and other "closer" referrants than TRF.
They're there to have a good time, pretend they're in a fantasy setting, and
buy some stuff.  I'm willing to bet that part of the reason that fairies are
at TRF is because they received a lot of feedback from patrons asking them
why they weren't there.  That last is just my opinion.

And Bors finished with:
On that note- is there any way to recuperate the loss of  the cost of the
compound itself?

I'm not sure.  I believe Mistress Kaitlin is going to touch on that matter
with TRF in the very near future.  I know that we have a good bit of
equipment in the compound that needs to come out, but I think that Ldy
Annalies is coordinating that.

On the other hand, Mistress Hillary Greenslade wrote:
But, I do agree that the SCA participation has dropped much over the last
few years, and that greatly affects our total look and feel to the patrons.

Which is true, but somehow we still managed a pretty good showing most
weekends.  At least, with good weather (and when it's bad weather, who wants
to spend a day in the mud and the rain with sullen patrons wondering why the
spent their money to come a mudpit? ;)).

Then Baron Niklas Vasilevich wrote:
It has been a progression over the past few years that the regulations for
appearance of the SCA folks and particpants have been getting tougher ( and
before anyone says anything, yes they expect the same of SCA as they do
their PAID actors) and the loss of the mound area and cutting back of the
expected performances has been a signal that the SCA was being phased out.

1) Is expecting the SCA volunteers to follow the same rules as the paid
actors a bad thing?  Do we want people drinking alchoholic beverages while
doing a demo or before/during a fight?  I would rather have to follow the
rules of the performers than to be concidered a "special" case because we
CAN'T follow the rules.  Or is it the fact that we weren't getting paid to
do the same thing that wrankled?  In any case, the "tougher" rules are rules
that we tend to adhere to when doing ANY demo.

2) While the mound area was taken from us, there are some points to be made
about this; (a) As Mistress Hillary pointed out, we received fewer and fewer
fighters every year.  If the mound had still existed we would have looked
ridiculous trying to field it with a couple of fighters of either style for
a 30 minute demo. (b) The cut-back of expected performances actually allowed
us to use the interior compound area as it had been meant once upon a time,
with fighting demonstrations scheduled (and to Ld Beowan's credit, he
scheduled these demos to take advantage of the crowd that was dispersing
from the Dove Meadow show across the way) and attended by a larger number of
people (thanks to our Hawkers, who were busy drumming up "business") that
were drawn in by the fighting, but had a chance to see all the other demos
that were going on. (c) Many people had stopped believing that the SCA
should be at TRF.  For many it was burnout (having done approx. six years of
duty, it's easy to get to...), others thought it was taking away from their
SCA activities.  In the end, I tend to believe that, if you say a thing will
fail often enough, eventually it will.  Not because of anything negative
being directed by those predicting failure, but due to the tendancy towards
entropy that all things travel.

And Baron Niklas finished with:
I too saw this coming several years ago with the changes of policies,
styles, themes and such of the TRF and figured the SCA's efforts could be
better tasked in other areas. Now we need to find demos to adults and
persons that have control of what they can do for a hobby. These kinds of
things include demos at colleges, fairs, festivals, and other places that
we would get proper exposure.

It's business folks..... just straight and pure business....follow the

My point (if there is any) was that we had just such a demo, but we wanted
to be the main attraction without putting a whole lot of effort into this.
For those who are about to leap upon the statement and start talking about
hours spent working years ago, please understand that I'm talking about the
application of effort that has been extended for the past five years, but if
you take into account the "belief" that the TRF demo was a "Coastal" thing
(though everyone was invited to the party) and that only the coastal region
benefitted by it (though we had sign-up information from all over (and I
mean ALL over)), combine that with the decreasing number of people who
supported the demo, and the failure was, indeed, inevitable.

In the end, the business of TRF is to make money.  We helped them get
started, and for a while they helped us provide a demo to people who were in
the right surroundings, with the right mood already provided by the
buildings and the TRF personell, to be interested in what we do and to want
to take another step and join in with us.  We had a demo, to adults and
children, where people were able to make decisions about their hobbies.

TRF management and the SCA have parted ways.  It's over, but I'm proud to
say that I had a part in the demo while it was active.  I think, after this
is all said and done, that I like HL Annes' idea, of requesting a smaller
booth where we could hand out information.  But then, I still like the idea
of an SCA presence at TRF.

For those who have read to the end (you happy few), I thank you for your

In service to the dream with a song in my heart, I am
HL Gerald of Leesville
Title bard of Loch Soillier
A bard of Stargate
Kingdom Ansteorra

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list