This is Chester Roman Festival: 3/4/5 June

Be there or be square! I’m doing a talk on Friday night in the Grosvenor Museum with Ruth Downie, of the excellent Ruso mysteries. It kicks off at 7 p.m, and if you’re in the area, we’d love to see you. The festival proper starts on the Saturday, and runs until Sunday afternoon. It opens at 10.30 a.m. in the city’s Grosvenor Park, and features reenactors from all over the UK, traders selling replica Roman kit, and various authors hawking their books! 😉 Each day, there’s a show in the amphitheatre, with gladiators and lots of gore. Again, if you’re around, please pop by. The weather is set to be good, and if last year’s event was anything to go by, the place will be jammed!

From the event leaflet:

10.30hrs Roman living history camp, exhibitions, dance and music performances open at Grosvenor Park

12.00hrs Fantastic spectacle of massed Roman military in full armour marching through the city starting at St John’s Church

13.00hrs Celts and Romans. Dramatic displays of weapons, armour and ancient military might at the amphitheatre and Grosvenor park

15.30hrs Let the games begin. Gladiators, beast fights, music, dance and death. At the amphitheatre

17.00hrs Dedications to the Gods. At Grosvenor park

Event closes 6pm Sat, 5pm Sunday

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  1. John Salter
    Posted 3 June 2011 at 11:58 | Permalink

    Ben, my accommodations booked for Saturday night because I’ll be at work until 5pm, so travelling up tomorrow, early. Looks like a good weekend and it’s going to be warm to hot, smashing!

  2. benkane
    Posted 3 June 2011 at 12:13 | Permalink

    @John: see you there!

  3. annis
    Posted 3 June 2011 at 21:26 | Permalink

    Sounds like lots of fun! Unfortunately it might be just a bit too far away for me to make it 🙂

  4. John Salter
    Posted 6 June 2011 at 09:09 | Permalink

    Ben, great to meet you and Ruth Downie on Saturday at Chester and finally ‘talk for real.’ We were intending to come back on Sunday but the weather put paid to that so we went to Wroxeter instead where, fortunately it was sunny and very interesting! Fantastic sword by the way, hopefully those kiddies didn’t wound each other! 😉

    There were some very interesting people, stalls and demonstrations at Chester from fresco painters to soothsayers and of course a few hundred Legionaries and Celts who did their level best to fight each other. A lot of effort and work went into the weekend and it was appreciated and made the journey worthwhile even in scorching temperatures.

    Some of the re-enactors even came from Central Europe and were clearly very keen to attend and demonstrate their skills. The detail of weapons and armour was fantastic, some of those people must have spent thousands kitting themselves out.

    Roll on Kelmarsh!

  5. benkane
    Posted 6 June 2011 at 12:07 | Permalink

    @John: It was great to meet you and Hannah as well, and to have a chat. Shame that we couldn’t chat for longer, but hopefully at Kelmarsh. Yes, the festival was great, wasn’t it? I loved it. Apparently, there were over 160 reenactors there. Paul, the organiser, is aiming for a full cohort next year. Now that would be a sight to see!

    See you in a few weeks!

  6. John Salter
    Posted 6 June 2011 at 12:36 | Permalink

    Yes it was really interesting, I’m glad I made the effort. There are some videos on utube already! We were going to pop by on Sunday but we were up early after visiting Beeston and Peckforton Castles in Cheshire and having dinner on the Saturday night at the Peckforton Poacher (highly recommended by the way). Have a look at the Castles on the web, Roman finds have been discovered at both locations, they have fascinating histories and would have been ideal locations to support the garrison at Deva. Peckforton is now a hotel and very Camelot like but not tacky, it’s like going back a few hundred years.

    We were up at 7ish on Sunday and when we saw the rain, decided to head south to Wroxeter and have a look at the Villa and excavations as we’d have had another few hours to wait until everyone turned up. It had been my intention to come and have another chat as you were getting swamped on Saturday. Kelmarsh is looking better and better and will be great I’m sure.

    I think they’ll have to find a bigger park next year for Chester. I don’t know if you had chance to talk to some of the people in the stalls like the fresco artists etc? They showed how the paint was originally discovered and from which rock/mineral it was sought two thousand years ago. People in the Med still use the same methods. That was just one stall of many who were all equally as interesting.

  7. benkane
    Posted 6 June 2011 at 12:50 | Permalink

    @John: will have to look at those castles. Glad to you got to see Wroxeter in the same weekend – a busy one! I haven’t been thee for about 5 years or so, since I lived in the area. Must go again.

    I did talk to some of the stall holders, yes, and found out loads of snippets that I can weave into my books. Bought some gerat glasswork and Phoenician charms too.

    Re Chester next year – on the q.t. – it may well be at the racecourse, where there’ll be loads more room! Saw the video on Youtube – tweeted about it already!

  8. John Salter
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 11:30 | Permalink

    Ben, I just saw your video for the new book on Amazon, looks great!

    Oddly enough I drove passed the racecourse on the way to Beeston Castle on Saturday night and thought that it would be a good venue for a larger festival. Next year should attract even more people I’m sure, it’s a great venue especially for those with an interest in Roman Britain. It’s also an excellent place for vendors whatever they speciality.

    There wasn’t enough room at the Amphitheatre to get a good view of the demonstrations unless you got there early and baked in the sun so the racecourse would be a logical choice and it’s within walking distance of the historical elements of the City.

    Did Parmenion turn up?

  9. benkane
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 11:32 | Permalink

    @John: Nope. Maybe I was mistaken in thinking that he was coming. Not sure. Parmenion?

  10. benkane
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 11:46 | Permalink

    Some of you might be interested in this video, which gives a pretty good picture of the weekend.

  11. John Salter
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Here’s the website for that gallery in the village I told you about:

    It’s not all aviation!

  12. benkane
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 12:31 | Permalink

    @John: wow, some amazing pictures there – thanks for the link!

  13. Posted 7 June 2011 at 13:37 | Permalink

    No chester was one i couldnt make…Kelmarsh…i have made the wife cut the family holiday short by 1 day so i can go to that…will be there all day sat 16th.

    Hope so see you all there…whilst i dont drink i shall hoist a glass of some soft muck with you and discuss books etc… and generaly abuse the world.

  14. benkane
    Posted 7 June 2011 at 14:05 | Permalink

    @Parmenion: look forward to meeting you at last!

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