Canale Event Steward Handbook (updated 1/2019)
So you wanna autocrat?
The Canale Event Steward Handbook
This document is a collaborative effort of several individuals and our hope is the number will grow as folks share their experiences.
- If you are a local officer and would like to adapt this document to fit your branch’s needs, please contact email@example.com so she can share an editable version.
- If you are an officer or experienced event steward and you have procedural suggestions or policy updates, please leave a comment in the body document or email the above address.
- If you would like to write an addendum covering your local branch or activity, send us a link, we would love to include it in our handbook.
The intent is to have a living, adaptable document to help train the next generation of Event Stewards in the way that the original Cynaguan Autocrat Handbook helped guide many of us down our path of autocratting our first events. Please feel free to use and share this document to further that goal.
The foundation of this document comes from the Cynaguan Autocrat Handbook of 2007 Compiled by Baroness Katla Lokisdottir, OP, OL, using the original Autocrat Handbook by Mistress Tashi Falconsclaw and Comtesse Aricia Jehane Deveraux (with additional information taken from the West Kingdom Autocrat Checklist).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREPARING TO SERVE AS STEWARD OF AN EVENT
- Event Types
- West Kingdom
- Local Branches
- Setting a Date
- Local Branches
- Principality/Kingdom Events
- Finding a Site
- Things to Keep in Mind When Looking For a Site
- Convincing Sites to Let Us Rent Their Facilities
- Once the Right Site Is Found
- Special Information on Insurance Policies
- Promotion and Communication Begins with You
- Promotional Images
- Social Media
- Electronic Payment/Pre-Registration
- Bullying and Harassment Policy Compliance
TIMELINE OF STEWARD ACTIVITIES
- What to do Before the Event
- 12-18 Months Prior to the Event
- 10-14 Months Prior to the Event
- 90 Days Prior to the Event
- 60 Days Prior to the Event
- 30 Days Prior to the Event
- One Week Prior to the Event
- What to do around the Event
- The Day Before the Event
- Lists of Supplies To Bring
- The Day of the Event
- Throughout the Event
- What to do after the Event
- The End of the Event
- Within a Day or Two of the Event’s End
- One Week After the Event
OTHER TYPES OF EVENTS
- Smaller Branch Events
- Specialty Non-Event Events
OFFICERS’ AND SUPPORT GUILD’S/GROUP’S ROLES AT EVENT
- Promoting Two Way Communication
- Chronicler/Communications Office
- Arts & Sciences
- Chatelaine/Gold Key
- Page School/Youth Activities
- Merchant Liaison
- Order Clerks
- Other Officers/Non-Officers
Appendix A: Getting to know the SCA, Inc (Handout for prospective site owners/managers)
Appendix B: Examples of Page Copy
Appendix C: Event Steward Checklist
Appendix D: Sample Budget Form
Appendix E: Attendance Data from the WKWC
Appendix F: Event Copy Exercise
Appendix G: Communication and the Autocrat: Essay by Master Edward
Editions (Event Steward Handbook Website):
- Cynaguan Autocrats Handbook (2007)
- Canale Event Steward Handbook
- Darkwood Event Steward Handbook
- Eskalya Event Steward Handbook
- Tarnmists Event Steward Handbook
- Westermark Event Steward Handbook
- Cynagua Event Steward Handbook (2019)
PREPARING TO SERVE AS STEWARD FOR AN EVENT
Being an Event Steward or autocrating can be an extremely rewarding experience. Attention to detail and delegation will make the task most enjoyable. The job is 70% Communication, 20% planning, and 10% brute force - if you are weak in one area, delegate to someone with that strength.
The following handbook will help you track the necessary steps. Some information is specific to Principality and Kingdom events, but most applies to all events, even small branch ones.
Caveat: Volunteers staff the SCA and the West Kingdom. Those volunteers, including our decision and policy makers, change roles regularly - sometimes faster than this document can be updated. Event Stewards serve as deputies of the sponsoring branch’s Seneschal. When doubt or conflict arises, ask the sponsoring branch seneschal for current procedures.
Regular communication between all responsible parties makes this process go more smoothly. When in doubt, ASK.
Events are highly variable in type, size, and activities. Some events, such as Crowns and Coronations are expected portions of the calendar that participants look forward to year after year. Others such as Gaston Phebus or Smithfield are novelties offering a single experience. Still others like Town Faire and Perfectly Period Feast are unique but repeat on a regular or irregular basis. Finally, some events like Equestrian activities at May Coronet are sub events within larger events, while others like Meet and Beats may not be official events at all.
There are 12 standard events each year. Attendance varies from year to year. Range/Mean given from 2003-2018 data shared by the West Kingdom Welcoming Committee. Average attendance plus or minus 100 people is a good rule of thumb for the larger Kingdom Events with average plus or minus 30 serving for the smaller events. If budgets are tight, run your averages based only on the most recent 3 year’s attendance or throw out the high and low numbers and decide your average from the remainder.
- 3 Crowns
- March (350-1300, avg 701)
- June (263-1200, avg 583)
- October (223-897, avg 501)
- 3 coronations/year
- 2 Outdoor/Camping.
- May(322-682, avg 525, Golden 1118)
- August (159-460, avg 252))
- 1 Indoor
- January (289-696, avg 526)
- West/ An Tir War
- Planning shared with An Tir
- July (700-1200 people approx)
- A & S tournament
- Fall (86-310, avg 184)
- Typically one day
- Spring/Summer (71-173, avg 102)
- War College
- Outdoors/Sometimes Camping/Sometimes one day
- February (59-145, avg 108)
- Sometimes in conjunction with Wargy on the second day
- Kingdom Championships (Equestrian/Archery Event)
- Outdoors/Sometimes Camping/Sometimes one day
- Fall (34-95 avg 63)
- May include rapier or other activities
- Equestrian Event
- Equestrium or a different name
- Outdoors/Sometimes Camping/Sometimes One Day
- Spring (attendance varies with activity
- May include a theme or other activities
- There are additional Specialty events held in some years
- West Coast Culinary Symposium (currently every 3rd year)
- Perfectly Period Feast (irregular schedule)
- Town Faire (irregular schedule)
- Others events to be developed
- 2 Coronets
- May (169-551, avg 313)
- October (123-459, avg 259)
- 2 Investitures
- Typically indoor/one day/ with feasts currently
- January (120-252, avg 190)
- July (133-362, avg 199)
- 1 War
- Maybe camping or one day
- Spring (120-376, avg 248)
- Archery Championship
- Outdoor/one day
- (Attendance not in database)
- 2 Coronets
- Spring (128-303, avg 227)
- Fall (146-208, avg 176)
- 2 Investitures
- Spring (109-187, avg 150)
- Fall (143-184, avg 168)
- 1 War (153-292, avg 200)
- Maybe camping or one day
- Mists Bardic (43-100, avg 64)
- 2 combined Coronet/Investitures
- Site Characteristics vary with weather and location.
Local events vary widely from recurring events that are the same every year through specialty events that only happen once. While local branches should have regular activities on an on-going basis, they are NOT required to hold a formal event each year.
SETTING A DATE
The West Kingdom calendar policy can and does change whenever the seneschal and/or calendar offices change staff. The above link or the information below are starting places, but never be afraid to contact the Seneschal for clarification regarding current or upcoming policies. Branch Seneschals: pay attention to request policies - favorite dates go quickly. A prompt response helps insure your preferred date.
LOCAL BRANCH EVENT DATES
First, you need a date for your event. Ideally you select one a year or more in advance, but sometimes dates can be found only a few months out. 2 months is the minimum lead time allowed. The website and The Page contain copies of the Kingdom Calendar.
The calendar deputy administers geographic conflicts. Policy varies - a good rule of thumb is local branch events cannot conflict with Kingdom events or Principality events in the same Principality. However they are permitted to conflict with other branches and out of Principality events. For example, Canale cannot conflict with Western or Cynaguan events, but can conflict with Mists or Oerthan Principality events or any non-Cynaguan branch event.
Even when permitted, beware of picking a date that conflicts with a neighboring branch or with an event with a similar theme if you expect to appeal to the same attendees. Sometimes it is better to shift a week or two so that two strong events occur rather than two weak, competing events.
Once you have selected a preferred date and some back ups, the branch seneschal fills out the Calendar request form. This form is only for EVENTS. If you would like to put a recurring MEETING or PRACTICE on the calendar, please contact the Web Minister. This form allows branches to secure dates in advance without having all the details and event promotional copy content.
Dates are set by the WK calendar deputy usually in winter/spring of the year before (think January-March of 2018 for the 2019 calendar). Principality/Kingdom law determines these dates. The Seneschal/Calendar Deputy fills in the rest.
If your group wants to host a Principality/Kingdom event, contact the Principality/Kingdom Seneschal. He or she will let you know if the event is available. They may request an event bid. An event bid can be formal including a budget and activities or can be as simple as having an event steward and proposed site. When in doubt, ask the Seneschal to specify what they would like to recieve.
If you want to host a specialty event that does not reoccur on an annual basis such as a Perfectly Period Feast or a West Coast Culinary Symposium, contact the appropriate branch seneschal early, ideally 12 to 18 months in advance, and verify what procedures you need to follow.
FINDING A SITE
Searching for sites 18 months in advance of your event and making final decisions a year in advance is optimal. Sites are increasingly challenging to find. We compete with recurring annual events held by other organizations and with significant dates such as weddings and anniversaries. These groups and activities reserve early. The more lead time you allow, the more sites you will have to choose from.
Master Francisco maintains a database of sites that have been used in the past. Some are still available for our use now. Experienced autocrats sometimes have personal relationships with a given site owner and can serve as a resource helping you to get access to locations.
If you would like or need to move beyond our standard sites, there are many possibilities in your local area. Depending on your budget and the type of event, consider:
- College/ University grounds
- Fair/Festival Grounds
- Community Centers
- State Parks
- Community/Private Parks
- Scout Camps
- Private Halls
- Private Property/ Ranches, etc
Most Local events should be held within/near the lands of the hosting branch. Principality events can be held anywhere in the Principality and Kingdom events can be held anywhere within the Kingdom.
Affordability is important. Many factors will impact what you can afford in terms of site fees. If your event is at the Kingdom or Principality level, the appropriate Seneschal or Exchequer can tell you the maximum cost allowed for the site rental and number of people to plan for. If you are holding a local branch level, consult with the Seneschal and Exchequer to see what the branch can afford. Often affordability at this level is a balance of current branch resources, expected event profits, future event funding needs, and dedicated fundraising, if any.
If you need to develop and present your own budget consider likely minimum/ maximum attendance for the event and the total cost of all supplies needed (decorations, privies, equipment, food, etc) as well as site expenses.
This sample budget form can help you plan your income and expense. A conservative plan is to spend no more than the income from 70% of your expected attendance. Ie: if you are expecting 100 people at $10/person, that gives you $700 to spend on expenses while leaving you a buffer against loss or a chance to make a modest profit.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN LOOKING FOR A SITE
Whether booking an established site or starting from scratch, consider these factors during site selection. Be aware that there is no perfect site. Sometimes you pick the site that has the best mix of benefits for your intended event and adjust the plan to mitigate the downsides. Remember to include any relevant information/limitation in all your event copy.
- Attendance numbers fluctuate, 2013-2018 Kingdom and Cynaguan numbers included at this link. Check with the branch seneschal or exchequer for more recent attendance trends.
- Kingdom weekend events need room for 100-250 tents/ pavilions around a flat field, 250 feet or larger, if possible, in diameter.
- Principality weekend events need room for 50-150 tents/ pavilions, around a flat field of 250 feet or larger, if possible, in diameter.
- Twelfth Night needs a hall space for about 500-700 people. This may be split across areas such as dining areas, court area, guilds and merchant areas as not everyone will be doing each activity at the same time.
- Local events involve more guesswork. Ask your Exchequer for numbers from NMS/NMR records from similar events. Consider the location, weather and possible attendees from other areas.
- Are there other non-SCA events being held in the same or immediate area that may impact the SCA event
- Sharing the site with non-SCA people?
- Large events happening in the area that will affect parking, etc?
- Will you have enough?
- Will you have to shuttle?
- Where will parking be located?
- Is there an extra charge? Does the SCA Pay? Do attendees pay?
- Is there room for equipment trailer parking? Are there pull through spots?
- There are parking calculators available online to convert projected attendance into parking space needs..
- Are there flush privies on site? If none or if not enough, include renting porta privies in the budget.
- General Rule of Thumb: 25 persons to a privy without pumping. Daily (or greater) pumping allows you to increase that ratio. Length of event, alcohol consumption and ratio of men to women all impact that figure. To determine your specific needs, many rental companies have calculators on their websites.
- Must figure in handicapped privies – for every 4-5 regular privies, order one handicapped privy to maintain ADA compliance.
- Also plan for one hand washing station per bank of privies.
- Dumpsters/Trash Disposal
- Are there dumpsters available? Will one need to be rented?
- Can the Populace haul out their garbage? The event providing bags is cheaper than dumpster rental and disposal. Can be an option for short events.
- Is there a trash trailer available? Paying dump costs is general cheaper than dumpster rental.
- Is the water potable?
- If not, check rental companies for the cost of the “water buffalos” (water trucks) and budget accordingly.
- Alternately, tell the populace to bring their own water.
- Can we drive on the grass for set up/tear down?
- Is there a limit to the length of tent stakes that can be driven down into the ground? Some sites require a maximum of 18” or shorter to avoid damaging the irrigation systems.
- Are there RV facilities on site?
- What is the cost?
- How are they reserved?
- Who pays and how is the money collected?
- Can we park SCA adapted camping trailers (tourney wagons, long houses on wheels, caravans, etc) at the list field edge?
- Are equestrian activities allowed? See the Equestrian section for specific concerns
- Is archery allowed? See the Archery Section for specific concerns
- Are pets allowed? What are the rules regarding them?
- Is the gate available 24 hours a day? What will the closing time of the gate be?
- May we arrange for a Hastings Lock if necessary?
- A Hastings Lock is a lock with the numerical code pertaining to the year of the Battle of Hastings. Most SCA people know about this code
- Inquire about opening/set-up and closing times.
- Opening at Noon on Friday is typical for a camping event
- It should be no later than 2 pm.
- Closing times earlier than 4 pm on Sunday force cancellation or rescheduling activities like Peerage Meetings, Dance Competitions, Officers Meetings, etc.
- Single day schedules include event time plus set up/clean up within park/hall open hours.
- Is the site secure?
- Will non-SCA people have access?
- Is the site shared?
- Is there perimeter fencing?
- Are there closeable gates?
- Who controls the keys to restrooms, halls, and supply cabinets?
- Will there be janitorial staff on- call or on site?
- Who should be called in case of site emergency (i.e.: sprinklers going on, issues with the restrooms, damage to facilities, etc)?
- Are there 24-hour medical facilities near by, or within 30 minutes?
- Is there at least some sort of emergency medical assistance relatively nearby (hospital, urgent care, etc)?
- Are there hotels or motels nearby?
- Are there possible site hazards, i.e.: pond/ lake/ river, snakes, large animals, poison oak or ivy, etc?
- Are there places on the site that are off-limits (cemetery, livestock areas, buildings, etc)?
- If hosting a feast, are there suitable kitchen facilities and dishwashing areas?
- For indoor events: Is there enough seating/floor space to hold all activities?
- Can some rooms be used for different activities during different portions of the day?
- Did you include space for socializing and walking in your calculations?
- Outdoor/Tourneys Specific Considerations
- Tourney centric camping events need relatively flat ground for a lists field, 12-foot ambulance/emergency lanes, and perimeter pavilion camping. If this space is limited, include that information in the Page copy.
- Wars, Town Faires, and some other event types use a spread out layout, not constrained to a list field. Suitable flat ground for camping pavilions/tents is still needed.
- If people must bring water for personal consumption/use, tell them so.
- Avoid dividing the campground. Many attendees prefer to stay near the lists field/center of activity. Some will camp a bit removed but still near amenities.
- Shade in summer helps, especially away from the list field. A balance of trees/green grass with open space is both ideal and extremely difficult to find.
- If you encounter problems setting up the lists field or site, ask the Kingdom Consulting Tourneymaster for suggestions. Duke Frederick is currently holding that position.
- Indoor Investitures/Coronations
- Provide room to gather at tables for eating, resting, conversations, etc. When possible, choose oblong tables; they take up less floor space while seating the same numbers.
- Provide dressing rooms/space for royalty. (a.k.a. “Royal Ready Room”).
- Large events often require separate committees (A & S, merchants, etc). The more delegation, the easier for everyone to perform their jobs. Some tasks are naturally headed by the officers, other are not.
- Be sure to use the expertise of prior Event Stewards. Use your Principality/ Kingdom Seneschals and officers. If they don’t know, they will know someone who does.
- Try to arrange for a raised dais or area for the main event. This feature lets the populace see the Royalty and improves court engagement.
- For a one day event, check the availability of the hotels and motels in that area or town.
- Ask about block rates, let the populace know of the options including any booking codes if there is a special price.
- If the event is held at a hotel, attendees booking room nights can lower the cost of site for the SCA.
- Attendees will reserve rooms 4 to 6 months in advance of Twelfth Night, so having the information as soon as possible is helpful.
CONVINCING SITES TO LET US RENT THEIR FACILITIES
We are a unique organization with unique needs. Convincing site owners or managers to meet our needs sometimes takes a unique approach. You need to channel your internal chatelaine while containing your inner geek. Using a mix of printed materials and web resources helps them understand us and our needs. Pictures are worth 1000 words. Nonetheless, remember you are looking to establish a business relationship, not necessarily to recruit a new member. Maintain that balance in your communications. Remember to translate SCA Jargon like Autocrat, Seneschal, and Marshal into modern equivalents like Event Steward, Regional Vice President or Local Club President, and Safety Officer. Appendix A contains introductory language.
Highlight our reputation for leaving sites cleaner that we found them. Give examples of sites we have successfully used previously. References are available. References from a sister organization help when dealing with government agencies such as State Parks.
Let the site owners know that we are a non-profit, private organization. The event will not be publicized or open to the public. We are not a renaissance faire. We do not sell alcohol and our members will comply with site specific alcohol requirements. Our Registration Fees simply cover event expenses.
Site Scouting Resources
- Appendix A: Information on the SCA, Inc
- The SCA Chatelaine’s office Newcomer’s Portal.
- Photos from similar events.
- Remember activities like Equestrian or Archery.
- While fighting is our unique activity, highlight non-combat images such as Arts and Sciences.
- Those activities show breadth and promote our core value of exploring more than just the violence of the past.
- A current year proof of insurance.
- This certificate is general, but it proves our insurance and non-profit statuses.
- The branch seneschal can get you a copy.
- The West Kingdom fire regulations.
- Our regulations are restrictive, but if site is more restrictive, we will enforce those standards.
- We have an established office that monitors and enforces fire standards.
ONCE THE RIGHT SITE IS FOUND
Obtain the name, address and phone number of your official contact and start a file on the event.
Contracts must be signed by the Branch Seneschal or designated representative. As autocrat, you can not commit the SCA in writing. If a deposit has to be put down to hold a site, notify the exchequer to handle this aspect. Confirm all costs with site when you have the contract sent. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING! This policy will save headaches later on there is a problem with the site reservation, etc.
Insurance requirements: Find out what is specifically needed on the insurance. Does the site owners/ company/ agency/ require their name on the document? Contact the appropriate Exchequer and convey the information.
Assess whether you will need additional equipment rentals such as porta privies or dumpsters. Ask the site for local recommendations or research companies using the phone book/ Internet. Determine how many pumpings are included for the weekend and when they are scheduled. Once a day is the norm. Include handicapped port-a-lets and hand washing stations. Note the delivery times, as well as the addresses and phone numbers for the companies.
Establish the total site cost, including deposit information, insurance, equipment rental, set up supplies and other steward expenses. Contact the appropriate Exchequer and Seneschal. Discuss the budget and let the financial determine the Non-Member Registration amount. Members receive a $5 discount from the Non-Member Registration. Donations and Feast fees do not receive a member discount. You may not suggest a donation amount. If you have questions about any of these factors, contact your Exchequer. Remember to clarify your budget for supplies/handouts/site tokens.
If developing a new site, make contact with local officials or neighbors, share photos and channel your inner chatelaine. Share your contact information, Remember to use terms such as “vice presidents” or “regional supervisors” or “safety officers” to explain officer roles to the local officials. Assure them of our safety procedures, explain the role of constables, and confirm that we will contact authorities immediately in case of emergency.
The SCA is covered by a $1,000,000 combined single limit of liability (US/ Canadian) policy. We carry additional Equestrian insurance coverage, available at an additional cost. There is no charge for ordering a "Certificate of Liability Insurance" (Evidence of Insurance) from Corporate. You can email the corporate office firstname.lastname@example.org to request it.
This policy covers the SCA Inc, its agents, and any named insured. It takes effect if there is a specific claim against the SCA. This policy is not medical insurance for participants. Coverage is only extended to sites, site owners, and site agents if the site is added as a named insured. The specific language used when ordering a named insured certificate is important. When a site asked for one always clarify what language they would like used.
If the site requires addition to our certificate as named insured, there is a $50 charge. There are additional charges for specialty policies such as Equestrian, Golf Cart Coverage, or Host Liquor if required. Current insurance ordering policies and instructions can be found here.
Insurance must be ordered a minimum of 30 days in advance to avoid a $175 late fee. Any mistakes in the ordering form will delay the process, so order insurance 60-90 days in advance.
Insurance is generally ordered by the Exchequer or Seneschal, Check with them first regarding branch specific procedures. Whomever submits the request must have a membership valid from ordering to event time.
The SCA is multi-generational in media consumption. Effective promotion demands providing event information across multiple platforms. It also demands keep all platforms updated as the event planning evolves. Some participants read the Page (hard copy or PDF which is an official document); others, the kingdom calendar (official document). The active majority look to Facebook (events now go through our Media Team) or other digital, rapidly updating reminders.
Post your event information early and on many platforms. Active, early, and on-going promotion translates to good event attendance. It is communication with your customers. Submission to the calendar and The Page are covered at the links. This section focuses on Live and Online promotion.
- Keep court announcements under 2 min.
- The idea of the event
- Brief tease of planned activities
- Note: Use someone with a voice that carries so all the Populace can hear. If you are not that person, use your team.
- People want to feel invited and welcomed with announcements. Keep them focused on the idea and spirit of the event.
- DO NOT shame people into attending. DO NOT talk about any struggles. Doing either shines a negative light on your team. Address problems privately.
- Keep information consistent across all platforms. When you update, update everywhere to minimize confusion.
- Rule of thumb: Partial information very early is good. Complete information still early is crucial.
- 6 months out: Have an event name and an idea of what you want. Establish a Social Media Event Page, make some teaser announcements in Court or to Friends.
- No less than three months out: Post/send/Announce ALL the information on ALL platforms. Telling attendees what you have planned allows people to make their own plans and to tell you if they are coming to the event.
- Populating a social media event early helps drive attendance.
- Populace Directed Communication
- Sound bites are great attention getters but do not tell the entire picture. More detailed communication has its place and time.
- People do not know what you have planned unless you tell them. You are living the event. The details are familiar to you. Populace directed communication needs to address the uninformed. Try having someone not on your staff review your information with a fresh eye. Newcomers are ideal.
- There is a subset of the populace that wants detailed descriptions of activities. Unless there is a specific reason to keep something secret, provide as much detail in advance as you can.
- Some folks have anxiety about the unknown. Others want reassurance that driving a long distance, not going to a competing activity, or using vacation time is going to be worthwhile. Regardless of the reason, more positive details yield more attendees.
- Avoid jargon unless you provide an explanation. Jargon can confuse newcomers. Jargon also may have multiple meanings and confuse long term participants. Speaking/writing forsoothly can cause the same issues. Whimsy is great, but sometimes plain English is the most useful.
- Master Edward has written a great essay on how to communicate with the populace to enhance your personal experience as autocrat.
- “Communication and the Autocrat, or, How to Set Up An Event So You Can Put Your Feet Up and Sip a Cold Drink”
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Use images to your advantage.
- You may pick a signature image and use it again and again. This technique makes that image part of your event brand. People see the image and associate it with your event. Interested attendee’s pay extra attention when they see that image.
- You may elect to change images on a regular basis. This technique captures the attention and keeps your event fresh in potential attendee’s minds.
- Sourcing images - make sure you follow any applicable copyright laws.
- For photos - ask permission from the photographer if you are in doubt..
- Joel the Brewer has given blanket permission for his images to be used in SCA promotion and has all his signed permissions on file. Albums of his photos are available here for use.
- Ghislaine has given blanket non-profit use for her SCA images for promotional purposes. Remember to include appropriate attribution. Albums of her photos are available here for use.
- Other SCA photographers allow use on a case by case basis or as stated on their websites
- For period art, the art itself is beyond copyright. In the US, mere mechanical reproduction of an image of the art is not enough to secure a copyright. Sites that follow the wikimedia policy - reproductions of public domain images remain free to use despite laws in other countries that may grant copyright - are your friend for sourcing art.
- Pre-1601 art can be a great way of promoting your event while advancing the SCA’s educational mission.
- Manuscript Miniatures follows the above policy and allows you to search by date or country. There is also a list of tagged images if you are looking for a specific subject.
To encourage attendance, advertise your event to the populace like a modern festival. Running an A&S event? Promote your teachers. Running a Crown or Coronet? Promote the pageantry of the list, the comradery of camping, the medieval atmosphere, the epic levels of fun, etc.
- Actively promote your event on social media with eye catching announcements at 3 months, 6 weeks, 3 weeks, 1 week. This timeline will give exposure without drowning people’s feed. Cross post on relevant platforms and in relevant groups.
- Note: Remember that in Facebook when someone posts a comment on your post it increases views and bumps the thread up. Get people talking and use the algorithm for your benefit.
- Asking simple questions will encourage responses and drive comments..
- Encourage friends to comment.
- Use striking images for attention.
- Keep typing pithy.
- Create introductory pages despite not knowing all the event information yet. Provide some information like event name, dates, and steward contact information. There is power in TBD (to be determined). Take the early exposure while you are building the event and update with details as decisions are made.
- Promote and highlight big events and people. Treat it as a rock show and get people excited.
The West Kingdom is utilizing Paypal to accept Electronic Payments. Predominantly this system is for handling pre-registration although it can be used to process credit cards on-site under certain circumstances. The most up-to-date WK policies are available here.
If you would like to use electronic payment for your event, sign up information and links to forms are available here under the SELLING! Heading. Note that requests need to be submitted 90 days or more in advance.
If using pre-registration of any form, remember to let the populace know where and when tickets are available. Remember to have menus, schedules, etc up to date on your website and in social media.
No one likes to give money for unknown items - pre-registration for events without details is exactly that.
BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY COMPLIANCE
The following statement must be posted at gate at every SCA event in a font large enough for people to see it as they enter our events. This language must likewise be quoted in ALL site handouts when one is made available.
THE SCA PROHIBITS HARASSMENT AND BULLYING OF ALL INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS. Participants engaging in this behavior are subject to appropriate sanctions. If you are subjected to harassment, bullying or retaliation, or if you become aware of anyone being harassed or bullied, contact a seneschal, President of the SCA, or your Kingdom’s Board Ombudsman.
GENERAL EVENT TIMELINE
It is almost never too early to start planning and promoting your event - this timeline is designed as an overview. Some activities can be handled on a compressed time frame, but remember the seven P’s - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. If you find yourself in charge less than a year in advance, remember to address the tasks suggested under the earlier headers.
Regular communication between all responsible parties makes this process go more smoothly. Communication needs will increase as the event gets closer. When in doubt, ASK.
If you have delegated a task on this list, use the prompt to check in with the person in charge of that area to make sure it is handled.
12-18 Months Prior to Event
- Obtain approval from the sponsoring Branch Seneschal to run the event
- Reserve your date on the Kingdom Calendar
- Scout sites
- Establish preliminary promotions
- Reserve your site - Seneschal’s must sign any contracts.
- Visit the site during the time of year you will be hosting the event to identify any seasonal concerns.
- Firm up your budget - touch base with the branch exchequer
- Plan fundraising if needed
- Update promotional information
90 Days Prior to Event
- Social Media Promotion - 3 Months!
- Confirm who is ordering insurance.
- Submit your Electronic Payment request if you have not already done so.
- Flesh out the details in your promotional event copy
- Start putting together your detailed event copy for The Page/internet sites. Submit to email@example.com as soon as you can. You can submit additional information as it becomes available.
- General Information: What, where, when, site fee, autocrat name (S.C.A. and mundane name), address/ phone/ e-mail. If there is a separate merchant liaison or equestrian autocrat, include their name and email/ phone.
- Competitions and Activities: Contact the Arts and Science Officers and the Copper or Wooden Spoon Minister for competition details, as well as any other Guilds who may want to hold competitions or activities during the event. Contact the Page School Minister, Minister of the Bow, Rapier Marshal and Equestrian Marshal for any possible activities.
- Amenities: Include any especially nice things about the site that you want folks to know about, such as: showers, lots of shade, swimming, etc.
- Site Restrictions: Include all site restrictions such as locked gates, no dogs, wet or dry site, newly planted trees, fire restrictions, additional sign-in information required by certain sites (primarily government such as county or state), parking limitations, etc.
- Site Hazards: Lake/ river, snakes, insects, animals, high fire danger, etc.
- Event Registration: Make sure you have set this fee (based on previous event’s income, budget costs, projected attendance, site and privy costs, etc) with the Seneschal and Exchequer first. DO NOT set your own price without talking to them first! Members receive a $5 discount from the full price fee
- Directions: Make them simple and clear. Include mileage distances whenever possible, it helps. Check your preferred mapping programs for approximate distances and for accuracy.
- Make copies of ALL correspondence regarding the event and keep in your event file.
- Review your event budget. Keep all receipts and records of what you purchase so that you may be reimbursed (you will NOT be reimbursed if you lose your receipts!). You need to figure in copying gate handouts, any signs, surveyors tape for laying out roads and lists field, stakes, toilet paper, privy candles, etc.
- Consider walking the site with the appropriate Seneschal, if possible. Make tentative plans for the placement of the lists field and fire lanes. Use Google Earth to help with planning and measurements.
60 Days Prior to Event
- Send your Page copy to the Communications Office. Details on how and what to include are available here.
- Important Note on “Page” Copy: Check “The Page” calendar area for the cut-off dates. The Chronicler strictly adheres to these dates. No exceptions! All “Page” copy is due the FIRST of the month PRIOR to the issue date, i.e.: August 1 for the September “Page”. Keep this in mind and plan to accordingly to get your “Page” copy sent in!!!
- Make list field and road plans. Don’t forget to plan out fire lanes and where appropriate pavilions/camps will be located.
- Royal Pavilion/ camp for Kingdom or Principality, Chirurgeon, Marshal, Heralds, Lists, Constable, etc.
- Contact these offices to see if space is needed for their office.
- Not all offices list field frontage. Detailed instructions are included in the Officers section of this document.
44 Days Prior to Event
- Social Media Promotion - 6 weeks!
30 Days Prior to Event
- Call your site contacts and touch bases with all of them. Make sure everything is going okay. Have any necessary site improvements been made (mowing, etc)? Is the site in good shape?
- Re-walk the site. Any new changes? If there are, note them. Talk to the caretakers or property management folks – anything new? Make notes.
- Call or write all officers. Introduce yourself and ask for any special needs they might have. See the Regnum section of The Page or the Kingdom Website for a current listing of Kingdom Officers. Principality and local branches have equivalent information in Regnum or on their internet presence.
- Royalty. Ask Them if They have special plans, requirements, etc.
- Marshal (Heavy, Rapier, Archery, Youth Combat, and Equestrian)
- Arts and Sciences
- Any and all other officers who may need input.
- Contact the Principality or Kingdom Seneschal, if your event requires it, to check in and keep them up to date.
- Start setting up your volunteer crews/ runners.
- Who will be your privy/toilet paper crews?
- Who will light the privy candles for you?
- Who will be in charge of keeping an eye on other affairs for you and act as your errand runners?
- Who will keep an eye on parking (if not the constables)?
- Organize this way ahead of time to make sure you have the team(s) you need.
- Social Media is a great tool for promotion. It is a terrible means to recruit skilled volunteers. Put out general calls to find new-to-you volunteers, but also plan on making some personal requests to fully staff your event.
- Choose a primary assistant/ deputy.
- This person should be as knowledgeable about the site and as accessible as you, if possible.
- This person will be your stand-in in case of illness or emergency, or if you need to leave site for some reason (though you should ALWAYS send someone on errands for you, rather than leave site).
- Let the Seneschal and any other pertinent officers know who this person is.
- Also, be SURE to let the site owners know who this person is and that they have been duly “deputized” by you to handle site matters, if necessary.
- Organize your after-event clean-up crew. It is very important to have a reliable crew who will help you when the event is over. The more, the better (and the sooner you can all go home and rest).
- Arrange any deposits and payments for port-a-lets, dumpsters, water trucks, etc. Make sure that if deposits or payments were required that the company has received them.
- Update your internet sites with the most recent information
21 Days Prior
- Social Media Promotion - Three Weeks!
7 Days Prior to the Event
- Social Media Promotion - 1 week!
- Walk the site with the manager/owner contact, if possible.
- At the least, check in with them and confirm arrival times, who will be there to let you in, whether you are supposed to pick up keys ahead of time, etc.
- Make directional signs. Some groups have re-useable ones. Check to make sure any arrows are pointing in the correct direction.
- Drive the route and figure out placement sites for signs.
- Double check on privies/ dumpsters, pumping, arrival and set up times, etc.
- Go over final site plan, where everything will go on the lists field and within the site, etc.
- Merchants, Fire lanes
- Mark any new additions to the site such as the addition of sprinklers, trees, etc.
- Plan room for a 12-foot ambulance clearance road around the lists field, behind pavilions/ tents.
- Contact the appropriate Seneschal regarding any changes
- Contact the Constable to see who will be CiC for the event (see Constable information below)
- Make sure they have contacted the appropriate Exchequer (whether local branch, Principality or Kingdom) to get the seed money for gate.
- Remember that it is the Constable’s job to handle this if the branch has one.
- If the branch does not, coordinate with the Seneschal/Exchequer to see how gate will be handled.
- Confirm what time your gate crew will arrive on site to open gate.
- Contact your set-up crew to confirm that everyone is still available to meet you early that morning to set-up site.
- If you lose some crew members, consider finding new ones.
- You need plenty of folks there to help set-up roads, the lists field, etc.
- Update your internet sites with the most recent information add pictures of the area if you have not already to help with promotion.
WHAT TO DO AROUND THE EVENT
Many things will run themselves. Be available and be flexible. The officers will run their own jobs; you don’t need to handle them (heralds, constables, lists, marshals, etc). The day before and the first few hours will likely be hectic as people ask you about set-up areas, etc. Be ready to cover a lot of ground, be available to electronic communication and have a “deputy” who can run across site for you (as there will invariably be someone who wants you “here” while someone else wants you “there”). Keep a list (mental or written) of the people who help you and ideally the people who help them.
The Day Before the Event:
- Pick up any keys when you meet with the on-site contact. Find out where restroom supplies are.
- Meet with privy and dumpster delivery people, should this apply to your event (or make sure you know what time they are arriving on site the day of the event). When they deliver the privys/dumpster confirm pickup time and double check that all fees have been paid.
- Consider if you need a site handout or posted fliers/a dry erase board with information such as a site map and any last minute information about the site or event (i.e. the southernmost part of the site is now a swamp, the lists will begin at 10:30 a.m., etc.).
- The handout should have information on local grocery stores, gas stations, and medical facilities.
- Print or arrange for these resources.
- Update Social Media with the information as well.
- If necessary, have some sort of site token or parking pass. Tokens are NOT an absolute necessity for most events.
- Make sure privies are going to be well stocked with toilet paper and lighting devices (glow sticks, candles in baby food jars, etc).
- See list of things to bring, and make it up the week before.
- All these things should be brought with you to site (depending on the nature of the event).
- The hosting branch should pay for the materials such as toilet paper, garbage bags, surveyors tape and stakes and possibly duct tape and sign materials, but confirm this with the exchequer and seneschal.
- Keep all receipts to give to your exchequer!
- Make SURE you have a crew set up and ready to go to help you set up site, help do errands & monitor privies throughout the event, and be there for tear down when it’s time to leave. You should not do this all by yourself!
- Update your internet sites with the most recent information. This is your last day to promote!
List of Things to Bring to Event
- Duct tape. Do not leave home without it; it will invariably come in handy.
- Never use on painted surfaces. Use painters tape instead
- A tape measure or wheel to help measure out distances.
- Surveyors tape (bright orange, pink, etc) to mark off roads, lists field and other areas.
- Wooden stakes for the surveyors tape.
- A good heavy hammer or two.
- Card stock paper and a heavy black marker to make signs if necessary (to delineate camping space on the lists field, to make directional signs, to mark off places, etc).
- Also tape, string, pins/nails and stakes so you can mount the signs.
- Garbage bags for clean up.
- Tea-candles in jars or glow-sticks for the privies.
- Toilet paper and paper towels to add to privy stock.
- One Wise Autocrat once said: “If one runs out of toilet paper, the event is over. Royals, officers, entertainers: all have substitutes. TP is the only necessity”
- Your cell phone -- be available and be able to call out!
- A combination lock with 4 tumblers if you need to do the Hastings Lock (1066).
- Things that are very helpful to have for the event:
- A shovel/ rake, to help if you need to clear the ground.
- Extra flashlights.
- Extra first aid kit (what if you need one while waiting for Chirurgeon to get on site?).
- An extra fire-extinguisher.
- Plenty of water for yourself during set-up and tear-down.
- Sunblock and a hat.
- Graph paper.
The Day of the Event
- Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and get out to the site.
- Remember your supplies.
- REMEMBER TO BRING THE LIST OF ALL THE FOOTAGE AND AREAS YOU NEED TO SAVE! It is very difficult to try and remember all the footage you need to map out without it.
- On the way to the site, make sure to put out the S.C.A. directions signs (or assign someone else to do it). These are crucial, especially if the site is remote, the directions are a little odd, GPS coverage is spotty or for the folks who will be arriving in the dark.
- Be the first one on site with your primary helpers. DO NOT BE LATE. Meet your on-site contact, if necessary, and go over any instructions. Arrive several hours before your event is to start, so you have plenty of set-up time. Make sure you talk to site owners/ managers/ rangers about emergency contact – how do we reach them if the gate is locked and we can’t get out? Is someone on call 24 hours for gates or maintenance? Who do we ask for?
- If it is an outdoor event: Mark the lists field and roads with stakes and surveyors tape. Mark out spaces for reserved pavilions, camps, etc (including your own!). Get your own tent set up early, if possible, so you don’t have to worry about it later. If you can, have your own camp close to or on the lists field (consider a corner, so you don’t take up the valuable real estate that others will be waiting in line at gate to get to). You need to be easily accessible, easily found. If you aren’t going to be on the lists field, pick a spot that has some discernible feature (next to the stone privies, next to the horse arena, etc) that people can recognize and describe.
- If it is an indoor event: Set up the dais/ stage arrangement, chairs for Court, tables for A & S or displays, gate table, feast hall tables and chairs, Page School areas, bardic or dance areas, etc. Mark these places with signs (so folks don’t unwittingly set up in these places).
- Delineate and mark Royal and handicap parking closer to camping (depending on the site conditions). You should also save a space for yourself as Autocrat, as you may need to leave to drive around site, do errands, etc.
- Walk the site with the Constable-in-Charge (CIC) and pass on any pertinent information (site hazards, parking areas, etc).
- Post signs or warning signs as needed around the site (not washing dishes in restroom sinks, not using water from faucets, not entering off-limits areas, etc).
- Make your Autocrat’s Point (or camp) known to all constables and officers; leave a note/ map at the gate (consider putting this in the handout, if possible and you know the location ahead of time).
- Open site at the correct time; people will eagerly be waiting in line, and have gotten there early specifically to grab the space they want to camp in.
- Stay available on or near the lists field, as this area will often generate the most questions about camping spaces, reserved spaces, etc.
Throughout the Event
- Make sure your household/ friends/ campmates understand your needs during the event and know that you will be busy with other things. Remind someone to feed you and help take care of any chores for you.
- You may want to be on a food plan so you know meals will be prepared. If you have a large staffyou may want to arrange for a cook to have food ready for the entire staff.
- Be sure to let Heralds know in plenty of time any announcements you need made. Don’t run up to them WHILE they are making the announcements to tell them you have something to add (unless it’s an emergency).
- Be sure to get on Court business if you have any important announcements, but don’t waste Court time if you don’t need to.
- If you would like your staff to be thanked in court by name, you can provide a list of names to the Royalty or Heralds to read. You do not need to make the announcement yourself.
- Let your crew in charge of stocking and lighting the privy know where you’ll be keeping the extra toilet paper and candles/light sticks so they know where it is if people come ask.
- It is a good thing to make an announcement in final Court, before the event ends, to remind folks to clean up, where the dumpster is and to see you if they need any extra garbage bags (always include these in your event budget).
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE EVENT
Event wrap up begins in the last hours of the event. Although you have earned a break at this point, there are still a few duties to finish and a few items to check off your list. Pushing through despite being tired will be the icing on your event. It will also make your next event go more smoothly when you create happy site owners and happy volunteers. The extra work now is worth it in the long run for you and for the organization.
The End of the Event
- Have your clean-up crew go to work. Having children help with the trash pickups during the last part of the afternoon can be productive (consider planning a special incentive for the most trash gathered).
- Make sure the privies are left clean
- Get the trash into the dumpsters and other trash containers.
- Take the lost found items to the Constable-in-Charge.
- Take down any signage.
- Do a last “walk-through” to make sure the site is clean before you go home.
- Turn in any keys or other items to the site staff/ owners.
Within a Day or Two of the Event’s End
- Send out Thank you’s.
- Thank your staff and their staff in person where you can throughout the event.
- Send private thank you notes in handwritten or electronic formats as appropriate.
- Post to Social Media sites thanking folks by name, not by job description. Volunteers often have a difficult time building renown. Public thank yous by volunteer leaders are one means to let Royalty and the Peers know who is doing what work. Think of it as credits at the end of a film. If you can not remember who performed a specific task, say that and ask for help with the name. Generally someone will share that information. Remember each fighter in a tourney has their name announced 2-3 times/round. It’s up to those in leadership roles to make sure the herald (and all the other volunteers) have a chance to be recognized by name.
- Lost and Found
- Folks may contact you looking for lost items. You can refer them to the Constables.
- If your event does not have a constable, you may have custody of the Lost and Found. Take pictures and post to Social Media sites to reunite items with owners.
- Field follow up communication
- Maintain your accessibility to electronic communication. Folks will likely have a few questions immediately following the event but the volume should be less than the days immediately before the event.
- Take a minute to enjoy the pretty pictures that filter across social media.
One Week After the Event:
- Write letters of recommendation as appropriate for your staff. There is a handy form on the Kingdom Herald’s website.
- Contact the Constable to ensure that the money and waivers have been turned in.
- Contact your Exchequer to see if they require any further information from you.
- Send any receipts and bills to the Exchequer for payment and reimbursements, if you didn’t do so at the event. No receipt, no reimbursement.
- Contact the site owner for the return of the deposit and to verify that final payments, if any, were made. Were any damages done when we at the site? If so, contact the appropriate Seneschal and Exchequer for repayment of the damages.
- Make a file for future references on the site and pass it on to the Site Coordinator or Seneschal or update the database.
- Contact names, titles, address, phone number(s).
- Site information such as capacity, water, etc.
- Recommendations for future use.
OTHER TYPES OF EVENTS
While these event types have special needs, there is almost always an officer or expert who can help guide you. When faced with doubt, communicate early and often.
Sometimes these activities are stand alone. Other times they are a portion of a larger event. From an Event Steward perspective, the same principles apply in either case.
Class Centered Events
We are an educational organization. Some events are all about instruction. These events may have a separate site autocrat and class coordinator or one individual may hold both roles.
Social Media is a great tool for promotion. It is a terrible means of recruiting skilled volunteers. You should ask teachers personally to offer classes. Most people do not come forward to teach, they need to be sought out. Use mass calls for volunteers to identify individuals you do not know, but supplement with one on one requests. Have preferred subjects in mind, but be prepared to accept an offered class your teacher is excited about.
Learning events only draw students when you have a class schedule up early and promote your instructors and their classes in advance. Set, Announce and Publish your class schedule 90 days out. Teachers will drop out. Be prepared to fill in with some additional classes/topics/teachers.
While some teachers feel comfortable writing and posting teasers for their classes, asking others to self promote makes them feel like they are publicly bragging. Prepare and release class promotion on websites and social media on behalf of the event to avoid that pitfall. Highlight activities with both broad and unique appeal. Use pictures of teachers’ works. Link to their websites or youtube channels. Include handouts or videos of former classes.
Wars have some specific site needs that differ from typical events. Speak to your appropriate branch Marshals for the site selection/ requirements. Include archery or equestrian officers if these activities are planned. As the date gets closer, consult with the reigning Royalty. The main war planning should be up to Them and the Marshals. Your job is to secure an appropriate site (with their input on war specifics), Promote in the Page and Online, contact the various officers to see what they require, and other steps listed above.
Typical Site needs
- The site needs to be LARGE.
- Principality/Kingdom wars need about 4-10 acres of relatively open space.
- Diversity is good, too – trees, slopes, almost anything except scrub brush.
- Different locales with varied terrain all allowing for combat are ideal.
- Small wars can be done on 2-3 acres, such as a large local park.
- Does the site allow missile weapons such as ballista, catapults or archery?
- Camping spaces
- One-day wars need space for shade, water bearers and royal pavilions.
- Camping also need flat ground for pavillion numbers appropriate to expected attendance.
- Use the same criteria you would for a tournament, but include lots of extra space for the war scenarios.
- If you are unsure of site space requirements, consult with the Marshals.
- The SCA does not specifically provide water bearing as an officer or guild position, but this service may be offered by groups or households in the area. If you contact them well in advance they may be able to help at your event.
- Notify all the usual officers as you would a tournament at the Principality or Kingdom level.
- Parking can be a problem at some wars (especially one-day), make sure you have enough. Bear in mind that fighters have to carry their gear to the warfield, and try to ensure parking is as close as possible. Sometimes having a loading/unloading zone helps.
- Consult with the Marshal regarding portable terrain such as hay bales, towers, or walls.
- Hay Bales - how many and where do they want the bales dropped off?
- Remember hay bales are anywhere from 80-100 pounds each, depending on the balers.
- You will need to call local feed stores or feed suppliers to get prices/ delivery.
- Would the Marshal and Royalty rather have the wooden “castles” that the Kingdom has?
- The Kingdom owns a set of wall, bridge pieces, and other terrain items suitable for use at war events and war practices.
- Most importantly, this equipment has a trailer too, so, if you can tow it, you can borrow it.
- Please email the Royal Teamster or the Earl Marshal to request the use of this great resource.
- Order privies/ dumpsters as usual. If there are any questions on how many to order, inquire with the Exchequer to see how many were used at the last war.
Archery has special considerations. Inquire with a current Archery Marshal to check on regulations and requirements. This office may be called something like Minister of the Bow or Royal Archer.
- Always check with a site to see if they will allow archery. DO NOT assume. If the site is unsure, the archers can help explain what we do and how combat archery in particular works.
- Notify the Archery Marshal in Charge of the site requirements and find out their needs (hay bale deliveries, etc).
- For target archery, the range must generally be at least 20 yards deep, with the ideal being 50 yards. They need clearance of 15 to 45 degrees (depending on activity) off the range ends for safety.
- Do not have parking, equestrian or any other activities close by the archery field. Designate the area as “No Parking” and “Off Limits”, if necessary.
- It is best to plan to shoot against rising ground, such as a hill, with an area in back that is smooth or with ground cover short enough and easy enough to spot the arrows. If that is not available, the archery program has portable backstops that can be deployed. If you do plan to shoot against a hill, check the back of the hill to make sure there aren’t any humans, livestock or property behind it that may be hit.
Equestrian activities are very specialized and highly regulated within the SCA. First, check with the site owner/manager to see if horses are allowed. If the SCA is having horses on site, you will need to request the special equestrian insurance rider from the corporate office, along with the regular insurance waiver. You will also need special signage, additional waivers, and an Equestrian Marshal in Charge.
It is less work than it sounds. The EqMIC or an EQ Autocrat will help you keep up with most of the requirements. When in doubt, communicate.
Please note, several species of large livestock are now covered by the Equestrian insurance requirements. The Kingdom Equestrian officer will be able to provide greater detail.
If you have a site that might work for horses and you have secured the site early enough for additional planning, try contacting the Equestrians. They are often willing to plan activities at suitable venues. 3-6 months advance notice of site availability helps with Equestrian planning.
If an activity, any activity, involves a horse, oversight for safety and regulation defaults to the Equestrian Marshal in Charge. If you have your heart set on having horses at an event, always consult with the Equestrian Officer or Equestrian Marshal in Charge (EqMIC) before you go visit/select sites. There is an overview list of site needs on the Kingdom Equestrian Officer’s website. If possible, consider having the Equestrian Officer come to the site and check it over for the use and any possible hazards.
- Will there be enough parking to include horse trailers/ vans? Designate an area specifically for this, if needed.
- Find out the stall fee for weekend events and what the extra fees are for arena space (if applicable). Will equestrians be paying site directly, will the constable be collecting funds to hand to site or will the SCA being pay site for these features?
- Will SCA members be required to bring their own portable stalls or corralling?
- What is the mucking out requirements (i.e., where to dump)? Do owners need to bring own bedding?
- Is there sufficient room to hold equestrian activities on the event site if there isn’t a separate arena/ livestock area?
- If you or the Royalty would like to have a mounted Royal procession, please contact the Equestrians early. There is some pre-planning to be done that can make these run more smoothly including having suitable horses on site and giving the Royalty time to be comfortable on top of a horse, even when led.
Feasts present unique challenges, whether they are held outside or at an indoor hall. Feasts have two stewards - the Event Steward and the Head Cook. Both should have specific duties. It is NOT recommended that you be both Event Steward and Head Cook; there is too much work to do and too many locations to cover.
Usually both stewards work together, sometimes with a common theme for the event. The Head Cook may tailor the menu around that theme. Recipes should be sampled before final decisions happen. Historical recipes and ingredients are often used to emulate the food in period. As this handbook is mainly for event stewards, we will maintain focus on that job.
When planning a feast, there are some basic considerations
- Establish your maximum attendance number to determine site size.
- Look towards records from prior, similar events for attendance, site costs, food costs, etc.
- Consider feast seating space, off-board seating space (if permitted), room to move around tables, an area for entertainers, and a high table for any attending royalty.
- Full kitchens are superb, but not always crucial. Some head cooks are comfortable cooking off site and merely warming at the event. Others can use outdoor equipment for some dishes. The balance of needs will be up to their discretion and abilities.
- A refrigerator, freezer or walk in cooler are obviously helpful, as are tables and counters for prep and serving. When in doubt, consult with the head cook about needs.
- It is good to test cook dishes before scaling them up to feast volumes. This procedure allows for fine-tuning recipes and determining food volume, supply and staff needs.
- Some sites having cooking and serving equipment. Some branches own the same. Some head cooks provide all their own.
- Determine cost per person. Round the estimate up for your group’s approval. Include ingredients, decorations, cleaning supplies, disposable servingware. Remember to include any and all comped meals in your budget such as Royalty and servers.
- It is generally a good rule to restrict at-the-door sales.
- Tickets should be purchased prior to the event.
- Set a cut off date for ticket sales before shopping for food.
- Some events hold tickets at the door, but try and pre-sell as often as possible.
- It helps the feast stay on budget and prevents disasters in case folks decide not to keep the reservation they have made.
- Always release the menu, at least a preliminary version before you open pre-registration.
- If you sell out quickly, NEVER increase feast ticket numbers without obtaining approval from your head cook first.
- Make a final menu and list of ingredients available to people who inquire because of food allergies or medical reasons, such as diabetes. You should also consider a few dishes for vegetarians.
- On a smaller scale, all these suggestions and ideas can also apply to potlucks or a combination potluck/ feast. Consider having your group buy the meat, poultry or fish and have attendees bring potluck dishes by name assignment or another means
- Be sure you have plenty of helpers lined up. Cooking assistants, servers, cleaning crew are all needed to make your feast run smoothly. You should consider either letting serving crew eat for free, or at least half-price. Factor server food into your budget.
- An area set aside for the populace to wash or rinse dishes is nice. If not possible, you can provide plastic bags (waste basket liners are cheap and work well for people to take their dishes home.
- Concerning entertainment
- Allow time in between the entertainment for periods of conversation. While entertainment is an excellent thing, people like to converse and visit with their neighbors as well. “Hostage Dinner Theatre” is not appreciated by those attending the feast and should be kept to small, tasteful amounts.
- It is nice to have an area away from the entertainment for those who would prefer to spend the evening chatting.
- The Event Steward
- Reserves the hall
- Arranges for gate
- Sells tickets
- Arranges entertainment
- All matters pertaining to preparing, cooking and serving food should be the province of the Head Cook.
- Check with the Head Cook in advance to confirm who is covering server staffing and equipment procurement.
Smaller (Branch Level) Tournaments, Feasts, Revels, Etc.
- The general timeline still applies. Local Branches may not have all the officer positions named. Delegating to someone to cover these tasks becomes the responsibility of the event steward.
- You should formally invite the Royalty to your event. Feast tickets and registration fees are often covered by the branch for them. If you choose to do those, make sure you adjust your budget accordingly. Be aware that the West Kingdom has a large amount of Royalty that may potentially attend. Very small events, may not have a budget that can include comping Royalty. If that is the case, explain that in advance.
- Your budget and gathering purpose will drive site selection.
- For a single day tournament or event, consider using a local park area. Often space is available first come first served. Always check on this policy with site. You have the option of not charging a registration if you are not spending money on reserving a site.
- Some local events opt to accept donations in lieu of registration. On average, donations garner $4-5/person, so it may be an option for events with even some minimal costs. Donation only event are exempt from NMR reimbursement to Society. Remember you can not suggest a donation amount.
- With a feast or indoor revel, be sure you have enough room for people to sit and room between the tables to move about. How about enough room for dancing? It is also nice to have an area where you can have entertainment, such as dancers, singers or a play.
- Even if you are not having a formal feast or potluck, there should be tables set aside specifically for people to eat their own food.
Demonstrations or Demos are one of the best ways to acquaint the non-SCA world with what we do. They are also important to our educational standing and can also be fundraisers for local events.
- When scheduling demos, check with the local Chatelaine to confirm. The Chatelaine should keep a record of demos and keep them spaced reasonably.
- Get approval from the Seneschal and other participants before confirming the date. Discuss several possible dates.
- School demos should be set, if possible on Thursday or Friday afternoons. Evening events are preferable as they are easier to staff.
- Find out how much time you will have to do the demo and what they want to see (fighting, dancing, music, heraldry, etc). Consider the audience, as each demo is different.
- If the demo is only part of other activities, try to find out when the SCA is scheduled.
- Bring tables, etc., if necessary for displays. Make sure live steel is acceptable to display.
- If you are indoors and fighting, let the host know that they are in full armor and can ruin the floors. Fighters need to have at least a ten-foot overhead clearance, and should also have marshals/ spotters around the designated area.
- You must have at least 25 square feet clear for fighting. Make sure if it’s outside there are no potholes and is fairly level.
- Remember to be well prepared to speak, answer questions and be engaging.
- Donations to your local group are acceptable if the group requesting the demo offers it; we do not ask for money ourselves. Consult with your Exchequer to see what donations were given at previous demos, and accept the offer accordingly.
Specialty Non-Event Events
Sometimes gatherings occupy the grey area between event, practice, demo and workshop due to logistics needs and target audience. Regional fighter practices, large equestrian workshops and specialty arts events all fall into this category. From a planning perspective, you can use all the information in this handbook to help you plan one of these events.
Making it a calendared event allows the Royalty to hold court and give awards and gives the event a specific place on the Kingdom Calendar. Sometimes this option is best, other times the flexibility that comes from not adding it to the official calendar, but publishing via others means works better. You can explore both options and opt for the one that best suits your needs.
ROLES OF OFFICERS AND GUILDS AT EVENTS
Officers and guilds run activities and sometimes augment your event staff. They do not however work for you. The best Event Stewards and Officers work together to create a well rounded event for the populace to enjoy.
Promoting Two Way Communication
Although more complex, in many ways running Kingdom and Principality events is less work than local ones. The officers at the Kingdom/Principality level tend to be experienced and they run this activity at similar events 3-6 times/year. These officers are a tremendous resource. They may need to be asked for event specific information because they run on autopilot and because they deal with different event stewards 5-15 times a year, which means often more than one at a time.
While mass emails/PMs are tempting as they seem to reduce your workload, they often generate more annoyance than response, which means extra follow up communication by you. Individual contact whether on FB Messenger or through one on one emails yields more responses. For Kingdom/Principality, the contact information is in the Regnum portion of the Page and also available on appropriate websites.
While it would be great if all officers communicated well through any means, you may find that phone, email or IM works better with different individuals. Curse in your head if their preferred method is not your preferred method. Then use the method that allows you to have a conversation back and forth as needed.
Type up templates and canned responses. Save them as docs or notes or in your email. Paste them into the individual messages you are sending out. Personalize to the office needs or officer name when you can. This process takes a few more minutes but yields much better results and is worth it over all.
For local events, attend local business meetings and use electronic communication to supplement. At the local level, sometimes you lack some of the offices you have access to at Kingdom/Principality. As event steward (in conjunction with your Seneschal) you may need to identify individuals to run specific activities.
Sometimes Kingdom and Principality officers can help get you in contact with someone who has the qualifications you need. If you can not identify a volunteer locally, you may want to reach out to them.
Often it is your role to extend information gathered from the officers to the attendees. Keep social media pages updated, publish in The Page/Vox, post announcements, publish a site hand out, post flyers and privy posts, have a dry erase announcement board at Gate or Herald or Autocrat point - each method reaches a different generation of reader.
At Large Tournaments, space around the list field is limited. For indoor events, hall space may be limited. In order to have space for event attendees, it is important that event stewards, officers, and Royalty practice restraint in reserving space. Always check with the officers a few weeks before your event to see what their needs in terms of the pavillion they will be using for that event. Royal, lists and heralds (and sometimes the Publick House) need space on the list field. The other officers do not. Be Firm.
Some offices need special areas set aside at indoor events, some do not. Also, urge moderation when officers are saving space behind their office pavilions for their own personal camps OR require the officer to be onsite at opening to claim space behind their pavillion.
This office does not need any space at your event, but they are crucial for getting your words out to your potential attendees. The chronicler publishes the Page, while the communications office encompasses the Page, the website/web-calendar, and the WK Facebook/social media office.
- Remember you do not have to wait to submit copy. The earlier the better! When people know what’s happening early enough in advance, they can plan to be at your event.
- Remember that you can and should provide more extensive details on webpages and in social media. The Page has space/time limitations. Those venues do not.
- Remember in social media to update the about section of event pages with information as it develops. Details merely announced in the feed get lost over time.
- Remember to announce all the activities and site amenities (showers, covered areas, scenery, close parking, etc.) and any site limitations (pets policy, fire restrictions, water availability, distant parking, driving accessibility to camp, etc).
- Remember that you can use satellite pictures to create site diagrams and maps and share these on the event webpage and via social media sites.
- Not sure what sorts of things people need to know in advance? Try this exercise to help understand the mindset.
Remember to send all event copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address makes sure that all the people that need the information receive it. Even if you have changes to the event after The Page deadline, send them in. The web team and Facebook event team can then update in the appropriate places. Please use a subject line that pertains to what is being submitted.
Checklist for submission of Event Copy for the Page (copy this into the body of your email and fill in the information):
Email to email@example.com
Event copy includes:
Event Steward (only one) - Legal and SCA names
Event Steward phone number and email
Date - day, month, year
Time - open and close
Registration Amount - use new wording “Adult Event Registration: $(price of adult with no membership), Adult Member Discount Event Registration: $(price of adult with membership), Children (specify ages): $ , Family Cap: $ “
Name sponsoring branch
Location of site - building/park name, address, town
Directions to site
Event Copy - make it fun, make it interesting but keep it at 300 words or less please! Please, do not attach a document. Copy and paste into the body of the email. In fact, just copy this checklist and fill in the blanks! There is no limit on web copy. If you have something more to include for web copy, please make a note; copy will be edited for The Page and the full copy will be posted to the web.
Approval by Seneschal (include Seneschal’s email if not sent by Seneschal) or Event Steward that is listed on the Kingdom Calendar.
Event copy that does not contain all of the above WILL NOT be published in The Page.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your event date MUST be approved by the Kingdom Calendar Deputy BEFORE you submit event copy! Events where Crowns, Coronet or Landed Barons/Baronesses give awards or transact other business of lasting effect to the SCA must appear in The Page. Any event sponsored by an official SCA branch and advertised to the members of that branch, in The Page or branch newsletter, is covered by SCA insurance.
The constable will need a space to run gate. They will provide a pavillion or pop-up for outdoor events, but may need a table for indoor ones. It is best to identify a choke point for traffic entering the site to make gate easy for attendees to find.
The Constable should receive certain information approximately 60 days prior to the event
- Site map (if possible) showing the location of important site information such as lists field, privies, gate set-up, any potential danger areas (water, rivers, lakes)
- Once this Map is prepared, it is good to release it to the populace via Social Media.
- Any relevant contractual points with site owners or managers pertaining to Constables, such as any of the following examples:
- Hours gate must be manned
- Fires – remember Kingdom Fire standards
- Equestrian (waivers, parking trailers, barns, etc)
- Dangers such as plants, water, animals, insects, etc.
- Near surface irrigation systems
- Are we sharing the site? If so, is there a contact name or other information?
- The location and directions to and the phone numbers of the nearest 24 hour emergency room, local ambulance service, fire station and police or highway patrol departments.
- The Constable will have a “CiC” – Constable in Charge – for the event (if they are not doing it themselves). Ask who this will be and get their contact information. It will usually be a senior constable, but sometimes not, if it’s a smaller branch event. Check the week before the event to make sure they have contacted the appropriate Exchequer to get the seed money for gate, and what time they will be there to open gate.
- Confirm whether the Constable in charge has a table for gate, as well as all the sign-in sheets.
- Let the constable know if you are using any form of electronic payment or pre-registration. Pass along the list of names when you receive them.
Ultimately someone with a financial warrant must be responsible for handling the money at your event. At the Kingdom/Principality/Baronial/Provincial level, this is likely to be an approved/ warranted Constable. With the smaller local groups, this may be your Exchequer or Seneschal. Regardless of the title, you need to coordinate with them and make sure someone will be available for gate. It is their job to run this, but it is your job to make sure that they know someone needs to man the gate, especially with smaller events that may not have a senior constable available.
The Heralds must have a place on the lists field, if a camping event or a clearly delineated table area, if an indoor event. As the voice of the Crown, their jobs are important ones and they need space to work. All heraldic duties are solely their responsibility. Your only duties as regards the Heralds is to save them space, to let them know when you have announcements, and to thank them for the hard work they are putting in.
The Lists must be on the lists field for large tournaments. Check with the Lists minister to see if they require anything for other events. There are sometimes champion tournaments or other fighting activities.
The Marshal does not need reserved space on the edge of the list field. The Marshal works in the center of the list field, not out of a pavillion. They will handle all marshallate concerns.
Include them when you email all officers. They will let you know who is the Rapier Marshal in Charge (RMIC) for the event, what activities they will hold, and whether they need a space set aside for their own lists field or if they will be sharing the main field. Confirm this with the appropriate Royalty and add the information to your electronic promotion and site handout/information board.
Contact them to see what they have planned for archery activities, IF your site allows it. You must confirm with the site that they will allow archery, some sites do not. Add the Archery location to your map and add the activities information to your electronic promotion and site handout/information board.
If there are equestrian activities being held at your event, the Equestrian Minister will generally handle this, or assign an “Equestrian Autocrat” to assist you, as well as having an Equestrian Marshal in Charge (EQMiC). This person will coordinate stabling and unloading of horses, as well as the games and activities. However, you yourself will still negotiate all the areas and costs when you obtain the site. The Equestrian Minister/ Autocrat will handle the horses once they get there. You should include information about costs, reservation deadlines, and activities in your electronic promotion and site handout/information board.
This program is relatively new as of this writing. If there are Youth Combat activities to be held at an event, you MUST have an Authorized Youth Marshal (minimum) and the Combatant’s Parent or Legal Guardian. All combat happens on the List Field and your Youth Combat Marshal does not need list frontage reserved. Contact the Youth Combat Marshallate for the most up to date information and needs.
Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences should be placed near but not on the lists field. On the corner of a road leading to the field or close to some other identifiable and readily available spot both can work well. This office will be holding competitions and having displays, as well as occasional classes, which need to be accessible to the populace. Guild officers will sometimes use this space as well. Remember to include information about the Arts activities in your electronic promotion and any site handouts.
Chatelaine/ Gold Key
While these do not need to be on the lists field proper (See exception below), it is very important that they be somewhere visible either on the way in from the gate or close to the lists field, where people can find them. The Chatelaine and Gold Key both play vital parts in our events, as they welcome newcomers and get them properly equipped. Again, on the corner of one of the lists field roads or another visible spot is important.
Some Chatelaine’s host a Publick House at events with seating available to all. This function DOES require list field space. If you are not sure, you can clarify with the Seneschal. For other groups wanting guaranteed land to host a party, try to hook them up with a pavillion that already has guaranteed land. Lists/Heralds/Royal/the Publick House are often not occupied in the evenings.
Page School/Youth Activities
This office is different than Youth Combat. In many ways it’s needs from an autocrat are more similar to Arts and Sciences. They may need readily identified space, but not space on the list field. They can benefit from having their activities included in your electronic and onsite promotion.
The Kingdom has a Chirurgeon Guild for those interested in First Aid. Members of the guild may identify themselves if they are present and can be a resource in the event of injury.
Various Arts related Guilds may run competitions such as Dance, Cooking, and Brewing. Please remember to include these activities in any schedule you develop or promotional material you put out.
Merchants at SCA events are required to have a California Resale License/Permit to sell in this state. If they don’t, they can not be allowed to sell. If it is a Principality/Kingdom event, the merchant liaison will take care of the merchant area. Contact the Kingdom Merchant Coordinator as soon as you have your site confirmed, and ask (never assume!) for their assistance in coordinating merchants. Some sites will require certain fees from us to allow merchants, some will not and there is a standard merchanting fee coordinated through the Merchant Liaison. More information and links are available on the Merchant’s Facebook group. Kingdom Merchant guidelines are available on the Kingdom Website.
If it is a local event, you can set the fee as you see fit, but merchants still must have a license. Make sure the merchants are close enough to the populace for them to enjoy the event as well as be accessible. Try to give them an area which has easy access for loading and unloading. They have more than the average SCA participant does. Merchants should always be allowed in to site early to set up.
Peerage (Grant) Order Clerks
At Crowns, most Coronations, and Oerthan Coronets the Crown tends to schedule meetings with the Peers. At Equestrian events, the Crown will sometimes meet with the Gold Scarves. The Clerks and the Crown will arrange these meetings. It is good to include the times in your schedule if you hear about them as others will schedule around these meetings. You probably will not need to contact the Clerks but their information can be found on their web page.
Offices are constantly changing and evolving. If you are approached by an office not listed here, do your best to accommodate them. Odds are they do not need prime space, but you can add them to your electronic promotion and site handouts/information boards.
You may also be approached by individuals planning activities. You do not need to provide them with reserved space, but you can certainly include their information in your electronic promotion/site handouts.
Appendix A: Getting to know the SCA, Inc (Handout for prospective site owners/managers)
Appendix B: Examples of Page Copy
Appendix C: Event Steward Checklist
Appendix D: Sample Budget Form
Appendix E: Attendance Data from the WKWC
Appendix F: Event Copy Exercise
Appendix G: Communication and the Autocrat; Essay by Master Edward