A NEW GENERATION of FAIRE
As a card carrying “old timer” it is all too easy to wax nostalgic and find agreement amongst other old timers that the Faires today just aren’t as good as they used to be. To do so is to be blind to a resurgence of the very same energies that created the first Renaissance Faire some 50 years ago. With the Internet making it all that much easier to find kindred spirits from all over the world, groups both large and small are gathering to create their own Faires, and in a variety of different ways. The big Renaissance Faires still exist and are doing well, thank you very much, but smaller, convention sized events are springing up everywhere. Like mini ComicCons these smaller events are stuffing convention centers with Faerie, Steampunk, and Science Fiction enthusiasts.
These are opportunities to meet like minded people, purchase crafts specific to your interest, listen to music created for your demographic and meet the authors and artists that keep your chosen fan community healthy and engaged. While the early Faires had their share of spill over from the Hippie era, today’s events are for all ages and tend to be a sober experience. Faires aren’t going away, they are evolving, and have grown into something different. Still, one thing they all have in common is that very same sense of community, a safe place where you can dress up and live out a fantasy just outside of your work-a-day life.
Ever-Changing Expectations of Your Audience
These new Faires challenge all us designers and promoters to keep on our toes as our audience’s expectations shift more often then before. Today visitors to a themed event come prepared to Play in very specific ways. They know what they want from their experience, and although some merely come to show off, others come to get involved and be “hands on”. Most consistently is that they want to take some of that experience home with them. They are coming to shop and accessorize their persona's, and bring tangible artifacts back to their homes, and they want to meet their idles. Our challenge as the designers of these events, and the crafts people populating them, is to be sensitive to the needs and desires of our audience, meeting those changing expectations with each event.