Sometimes one day just isn’t enough for all things we want to do at an event – and when that happens, we often book a campsite so people can stay overnight.
What happens at a camping event?
It depends on the event! Some events are very focused on a particular activity, and some have a very diverse schedule. It’s common for there to be a mixture of combat and non-combat activities. There may be a feast in the schedule, or one or more tournaments, or even a war. There may be archery competitions, or balls (dancing events), or arts & crafts classes. A few things, though, are very common.
Not everyone arrives in costume, and many people have very modern camping equipment. However, once the event officially begins (usually marked by an ‘opening court’), everyone is expected to keep visibly modern items outside the camping area to a minimum. At the end of the event, (after ‘closing court’), the modern clothes will come out again for pack-up.
In the evenings, people will often gather together around campfires to chat and socialise. Sometimes these will turn into ‘bardic circles’ – people taking turns to perform or choose songs to sing together. Don’t worry if you’re feeling nervous or unsure; you’re welcome to just sit and listen. And if you feel like joining in, you can do that too!
What do I wear?
Camping events are generally ‘garbed’ most of the time, meaning that everyone will be in costume. While some people will be wearing very elaborate outfits, any attempt at pre-17th century clothing is acceptable. For more information, see What to Wear, or contact our equipment loans officer at firstname.lastname@example.org, who has clothing available for you to borrow.
I’ve never camped before; what do I need?
Camping set-ups can range from very simple to very elaborate. An excellent resource to help you put together a packing list is this guide. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, feel free to send your questions to our Newcomers Officer at email@example.com, or start up a conversation in our Facebook group.
What if I don’t want to camp?
That’s absolutely fine! There’s usually some alternative options available. Many campsites have some cabins or dorms, and you can ask the event organiser if any are available. Priority usually goes first to people with medical needs (such as CPAP machines), then to interstate travellers and families with young children. Where cabins aren’t available, you may be able to find off-site accommodation nearby. And if the site’s close enough to where you live, you’re also welcome to day-trip, and there’s usually tickets available specifically for people who take that option.
Is there food?
It depends. Some camping events are fully catered. Some have the option for people to pay a reduced ticket price and bring their own food. At very large camping events, the majority of people may be self-catering, usually in smaller groups called ‘campsites’. It’s normal to pay a fee to be part of a campsite’s food fund, and contribute some of your time at the event to meal preparation or clean-up. Regardless of catering options, remember to bring your own dishes and cutlery, as these are not provided at SCA events.
I have special dietary requirements – will there be food for me?
Yes! Cooks in the SCA try their best to accommodate dietary requirements, but make sure you give them plenty of notice. If the event is catered, send the information in with your booking. If you’re eating with a food fund, let the organisers know as early as possible.
Will there be alcohol?
In most cases, yes. It will almost never be provided by the organisers, but if the site allows it, attendees are welcome to bring their own, and many do – even drinks they’ve brewed themselves! If you are offered some, you are welcome to accept or refuse, unless they didn’t realise you are under 18, in which case you must refuse in accordance with the law. We ask that, if you choose to drink at an SCA event, you do so in moderation, and act courteously to other people there.
Can kids come?
Yes! Children are welcome at all our events, and plenty of our members bring their own families. However, if you haven’t camped with children before, especially young ones, we recommend you talk to some parents with more experience to help you plan. You can start up a conversation in our Facebook group, or email our Hospitaller (Newcomer’s Officer) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is the site accessible?
Some sites are more accessible than others. We’ll do our best to make it possible for you to enjoy the event, but we recommend you contact the event organiser early so we can give you the best support we can.
When’s the next camping event?
Keep an eye out for our Upcoming Events