Written by Adrian Walter Tuesday, 22 December 2009 09:07
At the Texas Renaissance Festival Tartanic has enjoyed a seven year history. With the beginnings of the Rogues, who created a monster audience for Great Highland Bagpipes and drums, to the 34,900 people in attendance on Saturday, November 14th, 2009, Tartanic has become a formidable force.
Tickets cost $20 at the gate, and believe me the food and drink prices are no different than a movie theatre… but you have a 60 acre screen full of show. Now, this can be overwhelming for some.
One would think, in a 35 year history of fantasy, fun, bosoms, beer and beefcakes there would be more trouble and newspapers would have a new story every week about the drunk redneck that. . . .well, whatever. Point is, it’s a pretty respectable place.
So what place does that put the average ticket-buyer in? For just a measly entrance fee, you are regaled with another world—a retro-neo-renaissance of knights and armour, feasts of food, maidens and villains, royals and peasants, on top of 400 independent shops and 22 stages of endless entertainment. All this is the ticket-buyers playground, and while dark corners of pubs may offer something off-the-menu, a stage act is another story. Especially if one is sitting in the audience.
On October 24, 2009 an audience member in the center section, 4th row, 5’5” brunette with shoulder length wavy hair, mid-thirties, and medium build caught my doublet (jacket) as I threw it into the audience for our “Clothing Optional” Show.
The woman in question stole it. My doublet was not a gift. What, in a $20 ticket price permits one to commit larceny? In seven years, my clothing has been returned or playfully ransomed (for a kiss, perhaps?). Never has it been met with a mindset that must think:
--“Ah, a one-of-a-kind handmade costume piece! I am sure this is part of the show! I caught the foul ball! He must spend a lot of money having these made so he can throw away 16 of them at the Texas Renaissance Festival.”
This is not baseball, honey. It is environmental theatre with bad-ass music. I am so glad we sell a good time, and I want everyone to have one (within reason).
In Arizona, April of 2006, a woman in the front row was hell bent on lifting my kilt while I, standing on a doumbek and further elevated 3’ off the ground by the stage, gathered my kilt about me to prevent it. She changed tactics, grabbed on, and let her knees go out from underneath her, resulting in a 4” tear in a 1965 Vintage Ancient Hunting Stuart Kilt.
While Tartanic presents a rock-star anachronism at a renaissance festival, the above is still behavior that would call out the bouncers.
I can admit a personal “I got what was coming,” with the incident this past October. I did break the fourth wall and threw my clothing out into the audience. Strippers do not get their garters back—brides either, for that matter.
All the hours spent on the making of that doublet are not the thing to me. Nor is it that my wife made it for me. Nor is it even that it was a remake of a custom design from 1994. It just does not seem right to me that one would walk away, not meet the band, not tip at the show, not even buy a CD, but take the spoils and run.