What’s a weekend with Newcastle’s like?
All of the events we go to have their own unique features, we could be at one of the ‘Major Musters’ of the society, where over 800 of us are taking part or we could be at a small regimental event, where 20 or so of us are representing the regiment at an event such as a Village Fete, Armed Forces Day or local charity event. Our events are wide ranging but every single one of them provides fun, excitement and treasured memories for everyone.
When you join a regiment, you’re essentially joining an extended family. These people become your best friends, the ones you go to in both the good and bad times both about re-enactment and other life stuff. As we are a regiment of all ages, all areas of the family are catered for.
So, what’s a fairly run of the mill weekend with us like? Here goes:
Friday PM: This is when the majority of the regiment arrive at the site and start pitching their tents and caravans. The vast majority of our regiment will be in 21st century tents, trailer tents and caravans, camping festival-style in the area known as ‘Plastic Camp’ (not to be confused with ‘Living History Camp’, we’ll get to that later). Some people will take the day or afternoon off work to arrive during the afternoon, others will come after work and arrive in the evening, the choice is yours. People will cook dinner and start to have a few drinks with friends. There are often food traders and almost always a Beer Tent on site. Apart from that and some portaloos, the facilities are basic but all the main things are covered. We’ll often spend the evenings sat around our camp socialising and catching up with everyone.
Saturday AM: This is when we all start getting into our 17th Century kit and the action starts. At about 10-10:30 AM we’ll do ‘Drill’. This is essentially training. We know, we know, it’s a hobby, but we do need to make sure that all our members are safe. We’re re-enacting battles which aren’t known for being the safest of environments but we want to make sure that we all know what we’re doing and the basics of safety on the field.
Once drill is done you’ll have some time to relax in camp, grab yourself some lunch, have a wander round ‘Traders Row’ where all those who sell costumes and equipment are located and potentially explore the authentic ‘Living History’ Camp or house/castle/gardens of where we are that weekend.
Saturday PM: It’s battle time! Usually between 1 and 2pm we will ‘Form Up’ meaning the whole regiment will get into formation ready to march to the battlefield. You need to have all your kit on and look fairly presentable as we’re about to go in front of the public. No sunglasses or flip flops please!
The battle can last up to 1 and a half hours at the biggest events but it’s so much fun! We’ll get on to what you could be doing shortly but you’re going to come off the field with a smile on your face!
After the battle it’s time to relax again, people will start thinking about getting some dinner (either cooking it or going to the food vans) and we’ll start to gather round for an evening of socialising. At the events where there is a beer tent, there is usually a band or disco on in the evening and we’ll all hang out until the early hours. This usually ends up with singing as a regiment either around a campfire (sometimes there’s marshmallows!) or all of us squished into one of the caravan’s awnings! No matter how early or late you retire to your tent, you’ll have had a great evening laughing, singing, chatting or dancing with new friends.
Sunday AM: We’ll be up again in the morning, more often than not for drill, it’s important to ensure you’ve not forgotten anything from the day before and see how many people are here for day 2, (some people may have only attended for one day). Sometimes though we don’t have regimental drill and instead have some form of parade, drill as a whole army or memorial service to attend.
Sunday PM: Back on the battlefield for round 2! Sometimes we’ll even fight the same people as the day before and try to ensure we either keep hold of our metaphorical winnings or try to claim them back! Another good fight will round off a great weekend.
Once battle is done, it’s unfortunately time to pack up camp and head home again (ready for a well-deserved shower and proper bed!). Make sure you leave at least half an hour for saying goodbye to all your new friends. It won’t be long before you see them again though, throughout April to October there’s at least one event a month you can come along to.