9 July, 2024

Partying like it's 1399!

Jousters, sword fighters, crowns and gowns transported Moreton Bay back 1,000 years, as all lords and ladies of the region, state, country and world flocked to the Abbey Medieval Festival 2024.

Partying like it's 1399! - feature photo

The largest festival of its kind in the southern global hemisphere welcomed 30,000 guests over the three-day event last weekend (July 5 to 7), providing plenty of fun for all ages.

The atmosphere was indescribably breath-taking as the tents, décor and entertainers did amazing work, but also due to most guests dressing up in medieval costumes, some hand-made, some fantasy inspired and some period authentic.

The on again, off again rain only contributed to the authentic European feel.

Going on its 33rd year, the festival has grown from opening only one day and having at first around 300 attendees, to its current massive size, becoming one of the best-known in the world. Festival founder Edith Cuffe said she thinks the key to the festival’s success was focusing on authenticity.

“We wanted to make it so that when people came in there was this experience that was almost realistic,” she said.

“That set a high target of creating something that’s unique and that is not layered with fantasy and Hollywoodish experience.

“We’ve helped encourage people to explore history and get their own creativity happening by making costumes.”

Ms Cuffe said the medieval period is so fascinating to people due to the easement it is to re-enact, with the festival aiming to support the study of history.

“It’s an immersive experience we are trying to create here that brings people a little understanding of 1,000 years of history, which changed the world in a way,” she said.

“It’s lovely that history is being created and people are inspired; we want people to be inspired.”

Visit Moreton Bay General Manager, Luke Edwards, said one of the best things about the festival, is that it is “a home-grown event” that has gone global.

“What this means to Caboolture, and the actual region, is it puts us on the map for something that is quite unique and the economic contribution to the city is estimated to be around $2 million,” he said.

“It’s become not only something the residents love, but the entire city loves.”

The festival featured medieval camps from various countries, including Nordic (vikings), Turkish, German, British and even Asian.

Amongst the many things to see at the festival were jousting tournaments, Turkish oil wrestling, Morris dance classes, archery and costume competitions, sword fighting lessons and performances, and endless stalls showcasing unique local, medieval inspired products.


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