If you are a photographer, there is no better place to photograph beautiful and interesting people than at a Renaissance Faire. This week we are featuring photos from Michael Falgoust and Whitebeard Teague taken at Sherwood Forest Faire in Texas. Sherwood is in its 5th season. “Fairely” new to Texas Faires, but fast becoming a favorite of patrons and Rennies alike. If you haven’t been yet, there is still time! It runs weekends through March 30th, 2014. Just 35 miles east of Austin, the location is prime. For more information please visit www.sherwoodforestfaire.com
Here is a photograph of photographer Whitebeard Teague taken by Michael Falgoust.
And here is a photograph of photographer Michael Falgoust taken by Whitebeard Teague!
” I have been going to Ren Fest for about 20 years. I took photos and videos for years, but just for fun. One day I saw a website Photographer on the Run, and fell in love with the photographs that Paul posted. As a young man I always loved photography, but was always too busy running a business to get serious about photography. I semiretired about 3 years ago, needed a hobby, saw photos that Paul posted and decided to give it a try. I wanted to separate myself from other photographers, and have tried to develop my own style, don’t know if I have succeeded or not, but will keep trying as long as I have a camera. The best part is getting to know all the folks and making friends everyday. I can’t wait to show the folks how great they look at the Fest.”
And now for your viewing pleasure, I present to you the people of Sherwood Forest Faire 2014!
Photographer Whitebeard Teague
Photographer Michael Falgoust getting a smooch!
A very special thank you to the men behind the lens, Whitebeard Teague and Michael Falgoust. Thank you for sharing Sherwood Forest Faire with us.
It is my great pleasure to bring you an interview with the “Wild and Thorny” duo of Iris and Rose. Seeing their show is a priority for me at Faire. I can’t get enough of these wonderful women! They are funny, beautiful and talented. Watching their bawdy act is captivating. You feel a part of it. Actually, one time I was. I shared a little verse on stage that went like this…ahem (clears her throat)…
“Me husbands named Richard but Rover doth lick, with Jif peanut butter I’ll soon forget dick.”
And now Lords and Ladies, Please welcome Iris and Rose!
1. I understand you girls are really sisters. Where were you born and raised?
Iris: Yes, we are really sisters and we grew up in the southwest corner of Colorado.
Rose: We really are sisters. I was born in Channelview, TX but our family moved to Durango, CO when I was just 9 months old. It must’ve been a hellish trip, because our older brothers had chicken pox and I may have had them too. I just know our mother says I was miserable on that trip. What a joy! We lived in Durango for a short while and then moved to a smaller town, Bayfield, CO. That was home through 4th grade for me. Then we moved again to an even smaller town, Arboles, CO. We went to school in Pagosa Springs, CO. We were so far out in the country that it took 2 busses to get us there. We rode the short bus (yes, yes we did) to the main highway and then caught the big bus to get us the rest of the way to school.
Iris and Rose
2. What year did you graduate high school?
Iris: Now, you know it’s impolite to ask a woman her age…..
Rose: Impertinent question. That’s the same as asking a girl her age. Nope, not gonna.
Math…I should have known better!
Iris and Rose
3. Did you go to college?
Iris: Yes. We both have our bachelor degrees.
Rose: Yes, I did. We both did. I attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, then moved to Texas and went back to school at Blinn Junior College. I got my Associates degree there. Then I transferred and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in English.
4. What is your first memory of attending a Renaissance Festival?
Iris: My sister, Rose, took me to the Texas Renaissance Festival when I was about 19. I was blown away, even a little overwhelmed, by the sights and smells and sounds that bombarded me walking through the gates. It really seemed like I had stepped into another world. I can’t say that I felt transported back in time because there were plenty of reminders that we were still the 20th century, but the beautiful shops and landscaping and costumes and “accents” made this fantasy land overshadow the modern world. The shows and musicians and street cast entertained my every step and the vendors and gamers beckoned to me to try their wares at every turn. The festival is so big that it was easy to get lost and even easier to get lost in the fantasy. I can’t say that I felt uncomfortable in the “real world”, but this place made me feel like I was reunited with a home I didn’t know was missing.
Rose: I was 19 and I’d never even heard of a Renaissance Festival. I’d just moved from Colorado to Bryan, TX and a new friend decided to show me some local attractions. She decided we must go to the Texas Renaissance Festival. I couldn’t believe how early we had to leave to get there for opening gate. She made sure that I dressed in something costume-ish. I owned a vaguely gypsy type outfit and that was good enough. We got through the front gates and I was brought to a standstill by the sensory overload. The noise! The smells! The sights! I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and just thought, “I’m home.”
Iris and Rose
5. When did you start singing together in public?
Iris: Well, if you disregard singing in church when we were growing up, then I suppose our start singing together would be in the German Beer Booth at the Texas Renaissance Festival.
Rose: What’s your definition of public? We sang in church growing up. It was all acapella. There was no organ or piano or guitar or even a pitch pipe. Just sing. So we grew up singing and unafraid of the sound of our voices. We sang in school for plays and choir and at the grocery store if moved by a lovely rosette of broccoli. In other words, I cannot recall ever NOT singing in public if we felt like it. I think what you really want to know though, is when we started singing dirty songs. We were both working at the Konigliche Bierstube at TRF, which is commonly known as the German Beer Booth, back in 91 (I think). We worked with several other ladies there, and in the mornings it was so SLOW we would sing to entertain ourselves. Melissa McClung had a great voice and between the 3of us, we dredged up every dirty song we knew and then actively found a few more. By the afternoons we would have lines waiting for our beer. Our beer was no different from any other pub out there, it was just that our patrons knew they would get a song or a joke or a limerick or a toast if they came to see us. Really we were professional flirts, but singing a song came in handy to fill in any “dead air.” Customers seemed to love it. We certainly did.
6. How did “Iris and Rose” the act, come to be?
Iris: Rose and I started working in the German Beer booth at TRF and in the morning, business was very, very slow so we “beer wenches” would sing bawdy songs and play silly games (like Flip-a-Wench) to keep the few customers we had, and ourselves, entertained. By the afternoon however, business was booming; lines for the beer would form, so we sang songs and told jokes, etc. to keep our thirsty patrons happy. Patrons and performers, alike, told us time and time again that we were funny, and that we should be on stage, so after a few years, Rose and I started searching for even more naughty songs and eventually we auditioned for the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Scarborough gave us our start and we’ve been performing ever since.
Rose: At TRF, 30 thousand drunk Texans told us daily that we were funny and we should have a show. After 7 years we decided to see if they were right. That’s the simple answer. The long answer is much more detailed. To give credit where it is due, we were inspired by Lizzie and Celia in the early 90s. I wasn’t even old enough to drink the alcohol that was served in the bar, but I stayed and watched them and Mark Soderberg at the Sea Devil while happily sipping on my soda on my very first trip to TRF. Then I brought my sister with me. When we took a break from walking around, shopping, and seeing the other stage acts, we would settle at the end of the day and watch the acts at the Sea Devil. It was the perfect wind down and we got flirted with like the sweet young things we were. A couple of years later we were working at the German Beer Booth. After many years doing that, I had graduated from college and was ensconced in a career in radio. The radio station got sold, and I couldn’t stand my new boss, so I quit and moved home to Colorado. I was a stay at home mom. I was losing my mind. Our mother gave me some old records from one of her old flames and 2 of the albums were of dirty songs. I was hooked. I learned them all and then one day while going slightly crazy I got on the internet and found out that Scarborough was holding auditions in a month or so. I called my sister. We decided it was now or never and learned songs, put together a show, and went to that audition. Bless them, they hired us.
Iris and Rose
7. How did you come up with the names “Iris and Rose”?
Iris: Iris & Rose are derivatives of our given names, Damaris and Roxanna. My name shortened, is “Aris” which easily becomes “Iris” and “Roxanna” is often misheard as “Roseanna” which shortened becomes “Rose.” Viola! – Iris & Rose!!!
Rose: That was the easy part. When serving beer, the festival encouraged us to come up with “stage” names to keep us in character throughout the day. I chose my full name “Roxanna” and Damaris went by a portion of her name “Aris” (which happily sounds like heiress). Roxanna became Roseanna became Rose. Damaris became Aris became Iris. Easy.
8. Where do you get your material?
Iris: We get our material from many, many sources… sometimes even our own brains!, but more often we do research on the internet (YouTube, etc.) or we find dirty song book collections like Robert Burns, and we harvest songs from our own personal collection of CDs from The Greats, like Tom Lehrer & Oscar Brand, etc,. Sometimes, after one of our friends’ or fans’ old family member dies, little recorded gems are discovered in dusty attics or tools sheds, so people will give us cassette tapes of old, naughty soundtracks from the Victrola age. Dirty songs have been around since humans first began to sing and we are proud to carry on the tradition.
Rose: Research, research, research. Some songs are public domain, some we write, and some we just pay for outright. It’s hard to find a good dirty song that is suitable for public consumption, but when we do, we just pay for the recording rights and make it all legal. Most of what we find is either too dirty or too clean so we have been doing a lot more writing. We’ve had several songs written for us, and sometimes we just parody a parody. As for the toast, jokes, and limericks; it’s the same. Research, research, research.
9. What year did you first begin performing at Renaissance Festivals?
Iris: Goodness! You just don’t stop with the age questions, do you? Just teasing! This year will mark our 17th year with the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, so 1998.
Rose: 1998 is the year Scarborough hired us as Iris and Rose.
10. What festivals have you performed at?
Iris: We’ve performed at Scarborough, Colorado Renaissance Festival, Colorado Medieval Festival, Kentucky Renaissance Fair, Bristol Renaissance Faire, Texas Renaissance Festival, and the Florida Renaissance Festival with guest appearances at Minnesota, Kansas, & Michigan.
Rose: Including guest performances: Scarborough Renaissance Festival, Texas Renaissance Festival, Colorado Renaissance Festival, Florida Renaissance Festival, Kentucky Highland Festival, Bristol Renaissance Festival, Colorado Medieval Festival, Arizona Renaissance Festival, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Michigan Renaissance Festival, and Kansas Renaissance Festival. We also visited the Sterling Festival years ago and sang for the queen, but I don’t think that counts.
Iris and Rose
11. Have you ever performed across the pond?
Iris: Yes, but only once. We performed for our troops in Varez, Bosnia.
Rose: Indeed. We went to Bosnia several years ago, and got to sing for the troops that were stationed in a little town about an hour outside of Sarajevo where they were rebuilding a school. Truthfully, I think the locals enjoyed the show as much or more than our boys. Young men are so easily shocked.
12. What is a typical rehearsal like?
Iris: What is this “rehearsal” you speak of? Just kidding! We don’t have a regimented schedule that we keep to, but when we have found or written a new song, we try to go over it time and time again until we are ready to share it with the audience but sometimes we are thrown under the proverbial bus, when a friend that we have privately shared our new tune with demands to hear it in front of a crowd and then the crowd becomes our guinea pigs while we try desperately to remember the words. Good times!
Rose: Come see us perform. We have our CDs available on site. Also, you can order them off of our website: www.iris-n-rose.com, or you can go to CD Baby and Amazon amongst others.
14. Where do you reside when you are not performing?
Iris: We return home to “Colorful Colorado”.
Rose: When actually in Colorado, I do have a real house, I just don’t see it much.
15. What do you love most about Renaissance Festivals?
Iris: For me, what I love most about Renaissance Festivals is exactly what lured me into them in the first place; it is the feeling of stepping out of time and immersing yourself into a realm that is full of creative, imaginative people who have the sole purpose of creating a world full of color and sound and taste and music and laughter and joy and friendship and new experiences. Sure, behind the scenes, there is the usual compliment of headaches, heartbreaks and drama, but on Saturday and Sunday, we put our best foot forward and let the patrons take a break from their worries.
Rose: As a patron, I loved the escapism. It was a mini vacation every time I attended. For a full day there were no cares that could penetrate the fantasy and that’s better than therapy. As an entertainer, I love being the person who helps create that magic. We have had patrons tell us how we made them smile and laugh when their lives were falling apart. They were at the end of their ropes and a friend would “force” them to come to festival and they remembered that there is still joy in the world. That’s very validating. Connecting to an audience and sharing a moment is the best high in the world.
16. Anything else you would like to share with Ren Fest Experience?
Iris: We would like to share our sincere gratitude to every person, animal, place or thing that makes renaissance festivals’ magic possible.
Rose: There all highs and lows to every career choice, and believe it or not, this is a career choice. We have a 2 day work week as far as the world is concerned. The reality is that most of us work all week long to refill stock or beautify the grounds or write new material or train and rehearse. We have obligations too. This is a full time job for almost all of us. We just get to travel around the country and have random days off if we choose to schedule them. We don’t have a 401k. There is no retirement plan, so all of our future planning falls on our own shoulders. That is very empowering but also a bit terrifying. We call it living our retirement. Wanna schedule a golf date?
17. Any parting words?
Iris: Thank you, again.
Rose: You are going to get what you give. Suspend disbelief. Commit. Be an active participant in the moment. Whether as a patron or an actor or a vendor or a gamer, it’s true. This moment in time cannot be repeated.
Iris and Rose
Thank you for sharing your life with us girls! Don’t forget to purchase Iris and Rose CDs and tip generously! We just love these “Wild and Thorny” wenches!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Many of you are fortunate enough to live in the great state of Texas!! As luck would have it, Texas is the home of many great Faires. This week we are fortunate to have an interview with Mr. Joe Hamburger of Four Winds Faire just Southwest of Tyler Texas. Four Winds Faire 2014 opening weekend is March 1st, so we thought this a fitting time to interview Mr. Hamburger. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Four Winds Faire and to top it off, if you mention this interview with RenFestExperience, you will get two dollars off admission!! P.S. They will have alcohol there this year…. So without further ado, please welcome Mr. Joe Hamburger of Four Winds Faire.
God save the Queen
1. So Joe, what is your position with Four Winds?
volunteer- promotional team
2. When did four winds start?
This is no theatrical joust!
3. Where is the faire located? Is there camping available?
Yes! Come Camp with us! Four Winds Faire is located about 2 hours east of Dallas, just a little Southwest of Tyler Texas in the Town of Troup. Directions and camping details are provided on the website. We offer a modern campground with complete electric RV hookups, separate men’s and woman’s shower houses, flush toilets, sinks, and hot showers! For details and reservations please visit our website.www.fourwindsfaire.com/
4. What does the faire cost?
It is $15.00 for adult admission and $5.00 for children. If readers mention the this interview they will get $2.00 of the admission price.
Did you see that in Question 4??? Mention this interview and get 2 bucks off…. I’m just saying…
5. What is the best part of Four Winds?
The people, the vendors, cast, the knights, the owner. We all work hard to make this a family feel faire. We are small, much smaller than many of the other faires in Texas. But what we lack in size or quantity of people, we make up for in friendly attitudes and making one on one connections with out guests. We have many people say they enjoy the intimate and friendly feel of our faire.
Four Winds Faire
6. Who created four winds, and why?
Dustin Stephens (20 years ago. Initially it was a place for the SCA members to come and enjoy. Then ampguard came, and from there it grew into a family friendly faire, with more buildings and vendors. Four Winds has had the longest running competitive full contact joust in Texas, if not the country. For 20 years the joust “show” has been unscripted. It is a full contact competition.
7. Are there any special weekend or themes?
Yes, every weekend has a theme. We have a steampunk weekend, a viking weekend, a fantasy weekend. Our three biggest weekends are the pirate invasion weekend March 22nd and 23rd, Highland Games Weekend April 5th and 6th (where people can register a team of five to compete for prize money) and finally our last weekend April 26th adn 27th where we will be hosting the Knights Weekend were we have our final tournament and grand mounted melee.
8. How many acres is the four winds faire?
The whole property is about 300 acres with approximately 20 acres where the village sits.
Four Winds Faire
9. What is you main objective with four winds faire?
The main objective of our faire is to create an evironment where people can come and enjoy what renaissance faires have to offer, specialized hand made crafts, rich and diverse entertainment, a real joust tournament, good food and fun. Four winds is a more family friendly atmosphere.
10. What is your favorite part of the faire?
As a vendor and member of the joust team I really enjoy watching the excitement and amazment in the eyes of the kids. And by kids I do mean kids of all ages. The awe when we come out on real large draft horses. Mine stands 6 feet off the ground at his back. People are taken back with the pagentry and splendor of the day. That is what I enjoy. Hearing the laughs and cheers and seeing people enjoying their time. I know for me when I go to a faire, it is the ability for a day to forget myself that I enjoy most. Whether or not I choose that day to “put on” my other persona or not, it is the ability to be transported to another time and place and really set away from your cares for a day or a weekend.
Four Winds Faire
11. How did you get involved with four winds?
I first saw Dustin joust against Charlie Andrews at Sherwood in 2012. I knew right then and there I wanted to joust. So I found out who the knights were and when I learned that Dustin owned Four Winds up in Troup I connected with him.
12. How many visitors do you expect this year?
We are expecting 8,000 to 10,000 people to come to our faire.
13. What is the typical demographic that attends your faire?
Our demographics are all over the place, we don’t have one type of person that comes to our faire. If any, it is more families than anything. Over the years because of the county being a dry county we lost some of the more devout ren faire attenders or playtrons. This season we are featuring four Texas based meaderies that will be pouring and selling by the glass and bottle in our taverns. So we are very excited for that, and look forward to having them here. Thorins will be joinng us in April. Enchanted Manor Winery, Texas Mead Works, and Rohan Meadery will be with us in March and for the whole season.
Joe and his jousting partner
Thanks a million Joe, and we hope that Four Winds Faire has a successful and amazing 2014. Don’t forget, mention this interview and get a couple of buck off the ticket price!! We hope to see you all there!!
Some people have such a passion for what they do, it is infectious. Federico Serna the Jouster is one of those people. “I’m a Renaissance man. It’s part of my Gestalt.” he proudly professes. It is an honor and a pleasure to bring you this interview with such a talented and handsome man.
1. Tell us about the first time you saw a joust.
The first time I saw a theatrical joust (other than in film) was at the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1986. The first time I saw an actual full contact competitive joust was at Scarborough Faire in 1995 done by the Free Lancers.
2. Where were you born and raised, and where do you reside now?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Now I live near Tyler.
3. What year did you graduate high school?
4. Did you go to college?
Yes. I was a music major for a really long time and transferred from HCC to Houston Baptist University. I was a performance major. My first year there was ok, but by my second year I wanted to change my degree plan from performance to Bachelor of Arts with emphasis on Music, but they got rid of that degree plan for all but the ones who were already signed up for it, and I was too late. I was only at HBU for two years, by my second year there, I had had enough and then decided I wanted to pursue other things and it was also about that time in 1998, I also got into jousting. I had already been performing at renaissance festivals as a solo musician for four years at that time.
5. How did you get involved with jousting?
In a very roundabout way. I started collecting armour pieces in 1989. The first pieces of amrour I had were a set of gauntlets an arms I bought used from an SCA fighter, In 1995 I apprenticed under Michael Leitner of Marcan Armoury at his smithy at Scarborough Renfest. He ended up building the rest of my first suit of jousting armour in 1998. Michael Leitner passed away a few years ago. He was not the best armourer, but at the time, he was the only one I knew with a shop and tools and skill that I could learn from, that could get me a suit made. I have upgraded my harness several times since then, also apprenticing under other armourers, as they made my gear. I learned how to do repairs and modifications that way, and I also made a few pieces myself. I started out performing at Renaissance Festivals as a member of the Performance Company at TRF, and then as an independent musician. In 1997 I had a gig as a musician working at Scarborough Faire. I ended up performing and working with Wyndell Faulk in the Raven’s Hall Armoury Museum that year. Many of Wyndell’s antique weapons were displayed in there, as well as the modern jousting armour that belonged to the Free Lancers. This building was where the jousters suited up before their show, and got out of their armour after, as this building was right next door to the joust arena. I met John “Shark” Perry that year, who was one of their jousters and also the armourer who made all their gear at the time. I ordered my first jousting helm from Shark that year, which I still have today. Since then I had a suit made from Marcan Armoury and 2 suits from Valentine Armoury that were made by Rob Valentine and Melvin Wright, I have since sold off in the process of upgrading. My current suit consists of pieces made by Shark and parts made by William Brunson, the armourer from Knights of Mayhem.
In 1998 I began taking riding lessons, expressly so I could audition and train to joust. Dustin Stephens approached me at Scarborough about jousting at his show, and I started training for it that year, and the first show I jousted at was at Four Winds in 99. That show was very primitive back then, and was more of a choreographed theatrical joust-completely different from the kind of jousting Knights of Four Winds does now. In 99, while I also had a contract to perform as a musician at Scarborough Faire, I auditioned for the Free Lancers, and went on the road with them as a squire for the rest of the season. I made my full contact jousting debut in their show at the Ontario Renaissance Festival in 99, then jousted in Ohio, and then Maryland. When I worked for them, I had to joust in company armour. The only pieces of armour I owned at that time that I could actually use for that type of jousting, were the helm and greaves and a shield made by Shark. I left their troupe the same year. The following year I went on to see about auditioning for one of the theatrical joust troupes, because they used less armour, and I still wanted to continue moving forward as a performer in that capacity. In 2000 I squired at Silver Leaf Renfest in Michigan for Noble Cause Productions. In 2001 I rode in the Colorado Renaissance Festival joust show for New Edge Adventure Theater, where I performed as a knight and as a marshal. The next few years I focused more on my music, again, performing at faires, and teaching guitar, so jousting went on the back burner for a few years. I still rode and practiced, but didn’t perform in that capacity again until 2007. In 2004 I auditioned for Hanlon-Lees while I was working as a musician at that faire. I had other contractual obligations to the faire at the time so I couldn’t go to work for them right away. In 2006, at TRF I had a group, Centella, which was a 3 piece band that I arranged and transcribed tunes for. After over a decade of being a solo musician at faire, this was exciting, but unfortunately the following year, The ED decided he only wanted me back as a solo act, instead of letting my band return. It was that year I approached Kent Shelton about a job working for Hanlon-Lees, because I was ready to do something different, and I always loved jousting anyway. I jousted at two shows in 2008 for Noble Cause Productions at the Castle of Muskogee, and at Castle Farms in Charlevoix Michigan, and then returned to work for Hanlon-Lees at Bristol that same year as a squire, then jousted at King Richard’s Faire in Carver, Massachusetts and TRF. In 2009 I worked for Hanlon-Lees almost the entire year on the road. I squired at the Arizona Renfest, squired and jousted at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Southern California, squired and jousted at Bristol Renfest and returned to Texas to squire and joust at the Texas Renfest- That was my third year working for H-LAT at TRF and my last. By the end of the season I didn’t feel like I was getting any further ahead working for them, and for the money I was making, being on the road wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. My music, during that time I had to be put on the back burner. It has long been a challenge to find a balance between the two skill sets. More on this later. In 2010. I performed as a solo musician at Sherwood Forest Faire. Not because I enjoy it more than jousting, but because simply, it is something I could still do. While I was doing that show I got a call from Bill Burch, who I had worked with when I worked for H-LAT. He was up in Montreal doing the Varia show and wasn’t able to take a jousting gig in Mexico that was offered to him. So he suggested I call Alfonso Doce, and that is how I got a gig that year jousting at the Festival Medieval at Santa Maria Regla in Hidalgo, Mexico that year. It was a theatrical joust show, but was the best paying gig I ever had for one week of jousting( or anything for that matter) Dustin Stephens was also hired to do that show, and was my first time working with Dustin Stephens in over a decade. In 2012 I squired for Knights of Mayhem at Sherwood, Since then I jousted in several shows working for Dustin again, at Middlefaire 2010- 2012, at the Midwest Renfest in 2011, at the Cowley County Renfest in 2011, at Four Winds in 2011-present, and also competed in tournaments Lysts on the Lake 2011-2013, and the Estes Park Tournament in 2013.
So I was kicking around for a number of years working for different troupes, until I returned to Four Winds, kind of like the “prodigal son.”
6. What year did you start performing at Renaissance Festivals?
7. What Festivals and Competitions have you participated in?
As a Musician Texas Renfest, Cavalier Dayes of Texas.,Excalibur Fantasy Faire, Scarborough Faire, Sherwood Forest Faire, and Hunt Club Farm Renfest in VA.
As a jouster, Colorado Renfest, Ontario Renfest, Ohio Renfest, Maryland Renfest, King Richard’s Faire, The Castle of Muskogee, Bristol Renfest, Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Midwest Renfest in Omaha, Nebraska, Cowley County Renaissance in Kansas, Texas Renaissance Festival, and Festival Medieval in Hidalgo, Mexico
8. Do you own the horses that you joust with?
I have always rode company horses, or horses that were otherwise offered. I still have yet to have a horse of my own, but that is a goal I am still working on.
9. Do the horses travel with you to Festivals?
Generally, the company horses go on the road from show to show. On rare occasion, like the show in Hidalgo, Mexico the horses were provided by the venue, rented from local ranches for our use, because the transportation costs of hauling horses there an back from the United States would have been prohibitively expensive. In International competitions it is also customary that some horses are loaned to competitors, particularly those coming from overseas, for the same reason.
10. What training methods do you use?
I could write a very verbose book on this, I’m actually am working on one. LOL Assuming you already own or have access to two horses that is already broke to ride, and assuming you already have all the armour and equipment necessary to start out with- enough to outfit two riders, and assuming that you already own or have access to a facility with an arena, that will let you practice there…
1. Practice riding with weapons in your right hand- an lance, a sword, a boffer, and get the horses used to the idea that you will be hitting other people and things, and getting hit by them.
2. Practice the skill at arms games.( rings, quintain, Saracen heads, spear target, jumps, etc) with triple emphasis on the quintain. With a variety of different lances made specific to whatever styles of jousting you are preparing for. Out of armour- and in armour- to get the horse used to armour, the added weight, the noise it makes, and so you can adjust to the weight and encumberence factor yourself.
3. Practice jousting with heater shields first and wooden ecranches second, and if you have the gear for it, buff and grandguard last, as each of these are different
If you are preparing for a competition, the emphasis should be on using the same exact type of equipment as you will be using in the upcoming event.
Nothing will make you a better horseman than working with horses as regularly as you can, Nothing will make you a better rider, than more saddle time, and not just on one horse you are comfortable with- but several. It necessarily follows that nothing will make you a better jouster than- jousting….
11. Tell us about Four Winds Jousting Academy?
LOL There really isn’t an “academy” per say. But as far as the Knights of Four Winds are concerned at present, next to Dustin, the owner of the troupe, I am the most experienced jouster in this organization, especially having worked for other companies, squired in different companies, jousted in different companies, and familiarized myself with so many different ways of doing things since I started, with regards to equipment specs, maintaining and reparing equipment, training methods, etc. I don’t’ think I am the greatest jouster, but I do have experience and knowledge. Most of the current troupe since last year besides myself and the owner and myself, have only been jousting a little over a year. I am helping train a lot of beginners. In the past I was more often than not, the newguy, the low man on the totem pole, and asmall fish a big pond. This is a pond where I am a big fish, for what that’s worth. And even though I have had bad experiences elsewhere in the past. I can use the skill set I developed over the past 15 years to further the sport and help usher in the next generation of competitive jousters. People remember their favorite teachers growing up. Hopefully I can be one of those. Very recently, a very well respected and well known jouster said “ Jousting isn’t a sport. It’s no different that it has been. It’s pockets of people hosting tournaments.” And yet are and have been people trying to make this a legitimate competitive professional sport for over a decade, or perhaps it’s revival. I am part of that mission. Because the more people there are competing, training, learning this sport, the more hope there will be that the GP will get an idea what it is really all about, and where it has hope of going, outside of renaissance festivals.
Speaking of Four Winds Renaissance Faire, this year is it’s 20th Anniversary.
12. Why do you think you are so passionate about jousting?
I’m a Renaissance man. It’s as part of my Gestalt, as the lute, and my music, and my other interests, and it’s an adrenaline rush.
I always wanted to do it since I was a child. It’s popularity is growing but there are still very few jousters in the world, even today. The thing is. I am not the greatest musician, but I have skills and try to improve them. I will probably never be as good as someone who is singularly focused on music all the time, but there is more to me than being a musician. Similarly, I am not the greatest jouster, either. I probably won’t ever be as good as one who does nothing but ride and joust every day, and does nothing else, but thankfully, I have other skills and talents and always seek to improve them. Clearly, there is also more to me than being a musician, or being a jouster. It was my music that opened the door to performing at renaissance festivals in the first place, and it was money earned through my music, that paid for most of my gear, from the time I got started, to the present.
13. Describe what you wear when jousting, your armor…
I have different interchangeable parts to my harness I wear specific to different styles of jousting, different training situations, and different types of fighting. Some parts require more protection and are heavier, and some parts are more articulated, lighter, or easier to fasten without help, and easier move around in. for situations where a bare minimum of protection is adequate.
I have 3 different helms.
2 sets of arms, 2, gorgets, 2 different breastplates( one with a removeable arret)
2 different sets of pauldrons, 1 set of spaulders
2 different sets of gauntlets, 2 manifers.
A buff, a gridded grandguard. A wooden ecranche, and a heater shield
A chainmail fauld, and a leather cinculum
A removeable saddle plate.
A shaped lance, and a set of two 11’1” long 1&1/4” diameter straight lances with vamplates and grappers
4 tourney bastons, 2 of which are equipped with basket hilts
Horse armour – a chanfron and a peytral.
Needless to say not of all of this equipment is used, or even can be used at once.
I have a helm specific to training and practicing, and melee, that is easy to put on and take off my head without assistance. I have a close/sallet helm that I use for jousting with ecranche an shaped lances, an I have a close helm that is to specs for heavy.
14. What do you find interesting about the history of jousting?
The whole subject fascinates me. Can’t you tell? lol
15. What is the lance typically made of and what does it weigh?
Well not all styles of jousting use the same equipment. IJL tournaments typically use shaped lances made of poplar made in 2 sections with a socket called a “ferrule” that holds an additional 3’ of balsa with a coronel tip on the end. Modern “Heavy” recently uses 1&1/4” diameter dowels made of hemlock that at some events are 10’ long, and at past events have been as long as 11’1” with a copper cap on the end and a steel vamplate and grapper attached. Older versions of “heavy” before grappers and arrest were reintroduced, still done today by some troupes, have lances that vary from 1&1/4” diameter to 1&5/8” sometimes 10’ in length total , sometimes including a balsa tip, sometimes solid the entire length with a copper cap on the end. The theatrical troupes typically use straight dowels , and sometimes with scored balsa at the tip.
More rarely seen nowadays, and very expensive, are the solid shaped lances with steel coronels, that are only used in IJL historic competitions, and with very high armour specs. These lances are shaped and solid but very expensive when they break- which requires a high budget for consumables to host a competition of that sort. The shaped lances I mentioned earlier, that are made in 2 sections that are made with the socket to hold the basla tip- those lances cost $150 a piece, So you can well imagine how much a shaped lance made out of an entirely solid piece of wood must cost- which is fully intended to break…
16. What determines a “win” ?
Not every tournament has exactly the same system of scoring, and things are a little different specific to whatever style of jousting is done at a given tournament. Generally, points are scored for the following, making contact to the intended target area (an ecranche, a grandguard, the outside quadrant of a heater shield) breaking a tip( if applicable,) breaking a lance, and unhorsing(if applicable) Points can also be deducted for head shots, striking to low, failure to drop the reins before impact(if applicable) and one can also be disqualified for striking a horse. The number of points awarded or deducted, is specified by the tournament itself.
17. You are also a musician, tell us about that.
Well I have been a musician pretty much all of my adult life, longer than I have been a jouster. I studied classical guitar and renaissance lute in college. I am more of a guitarist than a lutenist. I also have an oud, but still new at the oud. The oud is the ancestor of both instruments and has no frets, which makes it very different. That fact gives the instrument a few limitations as far as chords and harmony go, but it is interesting to me nonetheless. The funny thing is, at the point in my life when my music was making me the most money, between teaching and performing, most of it got reinvested in the gear I would later use for jousting- my armour. Nowadays, I am more of a teacher than a performer. That isn’t to say that I quit performing, I just don’t as often, and given the choice of what I would rather be doing at faire- I find jousting way more exciting, and it is nearly impossible to have a contract to do both at one given faire or show. As far as music goes, I prefer performing at a venue where I can get there, set up, plug in perform, strike and, and get my check, all on the same day. I have a solo CD that is available for purchase and download at Amazon Mp3 here: http://www.amazon.com/Sturmritter-Cavalcade-Federico-Serna/dp/B003A0O8NM/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&sr=1-1&keywords=federico+serna
I have some videos up of my playing on my youtube channel at:
You can hear some soundbytes from my last, most current band, Simuum, at www.simuum.com , a cool group of talented musicians from the Houston/ Galveston area.
18. I understand you are somewhat of a beer expert. What are your favorites?
Well, I am a home brewer. I haven’t brewed professionally, but I did apprentice for a little while under a brewmaster, Ray Mittledorf, who is now at the Faust Brewery in New Braunfels. TX. and worked at a brewpub in Houston in 2010 before it closed down. Interesting thing about Ray, We’ve known each other since high school, and I got him into brewing as a hobby,when I was brewing at home, just to save money on beer. For his birthday one year, I bought him his 5 gallon brewing it. He went pro with it later,He went to the Siebel Institute in Chicago, and then years later I became his apprentice! As far as my favorites.I like a variety, but I would have to say among my favorites are barleywine style ales, Imperial Stouts, Imperial IPAs, Belgian Triples, Quads, Doppelbock, Altbier, Dunkelweissen etc.
Essentially, strong, dark, and hoppy beers, or two of the three.
19. What do you enjoy most about being at Renaissance Festivals?
Riding into the arena right before a joust and hearing the crowd cheer, and then jousting itself, and the beer an camaraderie afterwards. That is the part I live for. And also being a musician isn’’t too bad either…
20. Any parting words?
Follow your dreams!
Thank you Federico for a fantastic interview. Stick and Feather of Ren Fest Experience look forward to sharing a mug of something dark and creamy with you someday!