[Bards] Off on a tangent

Pat Mullins paedrics at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 12 17:17:44 PDT 2008

As someone who has entered both static A&S and Bardic competitions, I have
often wondered about the major differences in the way the two venues work. 

In a baronial A&S competition, documentation is usually required. You can enter
the competition without documentation, but with no real expectation of winning.
You enter to show your work, to get an assessment of its quality, and to get
constructive criticism on how to improve.
You get points for having documentation, and if your documentation is done right, it should gain you points in nearly every other category.
You can see and learn from the documentation of all the other entrants, and gain an appreciation and understanding of the work of others.
After the competition you come back to collect your piece and judging sheet, and often, a small pile of beads, trinkets, and baubles. In and of themselves, these items have little value. But they are tangible proof that your effort has been seen and appreciated.

In a bardic competition, documentation is "requested" or "encouraged", seldom required. 
To borrow HL Mea's example, it is worth "1-3 points". Presumably this is one point for turning something in, and one or two points if it actually contains useful information. 
The information contained, from what I have seen, is not considered when awarding points in other categories.
When a performance is done, everybody claps. If it were well done, the applause may be long and loud. If it were dreadful, everybody still claps. Out of politeness or relief that it ended. Applause is often the only recognition anybody in the competition gets, aside from the winner.
It can be very difficult to get judging sheets, or even feedback, after the competition. On at least a few occasions, I have been told by bardic judges, "I don't give back judging sheets." I have never heard this from a static arts judge. 

Imagine somebody, I'll call him "Lord Fred", travels to an event, then comes home to tell his friend about it. The conversation might sound like this:

friend: "So, how was the event?"
Fred: "It was good. I entered the A&S and bardic competitions."
friend: "How was the A&S competition?"
Fred: "Well, I didn't win."
friend: "But how did you do?"
Fred: "I got a 27 out of 50. But the judges said if I change this and this in my       documentation, I could add a few more points. And if I do that and that differently next time, I could do even better."
friend: "Who won?"
Fred: "Lady Thusandsew. She entered the most amazing item. It was a perfect reproduction of a period piece, made using only period materials and methods. I learned a lot, just from reading her documentation."
friend: "Did anybody like your entry?"
Fred: "Yeah, lots of people. Look at all the stuff I got! It makes me feel appreciated."
friend: "How was the bardic competition?"
Fred: "I didn't win that either."
friend: "How did you do?"
Fred: "I did a period piece with documentation. I think I did pretty well. My pacing and diction were good. I remembered it all. People listened. Some cried in the right places."
friend: "What did the judges think?"
Fred: "All I know is they didn't think I was best."
friend: "Who won?" 
Fred: "Lord Goodsinger. He sang really well."
friend: "What did he sing?"
Fred: "An Irish song about English oppression."
friend: "Did he have documentation?"
Fred: "I don't know."
friend: "Did anybody like your entry?"
Fred: "Everybody clapped."

Thanks for listening to my answer, even if it wasn't to the question you asked,

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