[Bards] Re:Bardic and Performing Arts

John Hirling jhirling at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 10:51:22 PDT 2006

Resent the original email to Robin, privately

On 4/12/06, Jay Rudin <rudin at ev1.net> wrote:
> I'm not sure I'm following this thread.  If I understand it, the initial
> complaints were:
>    1. Too much emphasis on competition, and
>    2. There were no bards in the Gulf War competition.
> Am I missing something here?  It can't be both, can it?
> There were performances every night at Gulf War, all over the site, with
> some excellent venues, including the extremely warm welcome always given
> to
> bards by House Falconrose, the free beer parties offered by the Trimarian
> camp, and the most incredible English pub, with scheduled times for top
> performers announced in advance.
> It was open bardcraft at its best, with no competitions -- just
> enthusiastic
> audiences listening to wandering bards.  I had a great time performing,
> and
> heard some great performers.
> It's true that Ansteorra has less of this than it used to.  What's the
> solution?  Host a bardic circle.
> Yes, you, the bard who wants it to happen.  Years ago , we had the crutch
> of
> the College of Bards holding events for us, plus a few people who focused
> on
> it.  You could always count on a circle organized with decorations,
> refreshments and largesse, sponsored by Maggie or Willow.  Now we have to
> do
> it ourselves.  But the answer to "I want more X" is to do the work to make
> X
> happen.
> While many events have competitions, almost all camping events have
> non-competitive performances.  As somebody pointed out,  the best
> performances often happen at the site of the competition after it's
> over.  I
> will point out that this venue was in fact provided by the competition.
> But if you want bardic circles, then build a fire or other venue, bring
> out
> something to drink, and start performing.  I suspect there have been
> events
> with several bards wandering around looking for a place to perform, and
> many
> people wishing there were performances to hear, and nobody building the
> fire.
> Yes, there is no longer a separate bardic category for Gulf War -- just as
> there have never been separate categories for embroidery, calligraphy,
> brewing, woodwork, or left-handed barbed-wire weaving.  And by the way,
> since each side had two kingdoms this year, each kingdom only provided
> five
> arts entries instead of the usual ten.  Since there are more than five
> kinds
> of artists, some types didn't get represented this year.  Very few
> performers came to the Kingdom A&S to try for it -- only two, as I
> remember,
> and Rhiannon Redwulf was one of the chosen alternates.
> The Laurels try to judge each art fairly, on its own merits.  A great
> bardic
> piece will get a higher overall score than a merely very good broach,
> regardless of initial ooh-factor..  I judged the performances at A&S this
> year, and the average scores compared well with the static arts.  But do
> you
> expect a bardic piece to be chosen as one of the top five works in the
> kingdom, when no former Premier Bard entered?  There were no pieces by
> Finnican, Pendaran, Antonia, Tiggy, Robin, etc.  The "understandable
> reasons" that embroiderers and weavers were chosen instead of bards is
> that
> the best embroiderers and weavers were there with their best works.  I've
> certainly heard, and judged, bardic pieces that could have been in the top
> five.  If one of Ansteorra's best performances had been heard, I'd have
> given it a high enough score to go to Gulf War.  But I did see some of our
> best metalwork, embroidery, woodcuts, etc.
> (One of our best bards did enter, but she didn't do her best -- I've heard
> her do the same song much better.)
> Next year we are back to ten artists.  It will be easier for a bard or two
> to be chosen -- but the way for bards to be chosen is to show up and do
> their best work.
> I guess the overall point I'm trying to make is that things aren't that
> bad,
> and we can make them better.  We can do more good with a thread about the
> circle we're holding at next week's event than one complaining about the
> lack of non-performance venues.
> Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
> By the way, the Steppes Eisteddfod is coming up -- at Steppes Warlord, on
> Memorial Day weekend..  This competition is usually a great venue.  Late
> Sunday night, we get fifty or sixty people listening, and twenty or more
> performers.
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