Old Town Medieval Festival

Very untypical of a Bank Holiday, Monday turned out to be a glorious sunny day which coincided with the final day of City Festival 2017 here in Leicester. Although there were several venues with a variety of events to experience, I decided to stick to the history trail with Medieval dancing in the 600 year old Elizabethan Guild Hall and the Old Town Festival in Jubilee Square.

Lighting was an issue in both locations, too little in the Guild Hall and too contrasty in the square. Shooting in RAW however and upping the ISO to 1600 allowed me to capture most of the action of the dancers with minimal blur. In the square using ISO 100 or 200  was more than adequate even inside the array of tents housing various artisan crafts. Two in particular I found especially fascinating, the production of replica artifacts from the viking and medieval period, using both carved and cuttlefish bone moulds and molten metal, and early colour calligraphy where you first had to manufacture your colours from ground up minerals or vegetation. Much of the early calligraphy was produced onto stretched layers of dried goatskin, being both smooth and long lasting.

No outdoor event of that period would have been complete without the antics of a juggler and musician, here in the form of Kester the Jester and Leicester’s own Minstrel Jester, Sylvester. For the clash of metal the Escafeld Mediaeval Society presented a display of 13th Century tournament fighting, using both swords and battle axes. Photographing the tournament battle was a challenge due to the contrasty lighting and the sun always being in the wrong place! Also Jubilee Square being surrounded by modern buildings made avoiding then in the images a constant battle of my own.


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