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Europe’s biggest Medieval Festival is back

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Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 09:00

The re-enactors at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival The re-enactors at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Every summer, the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival is guaranteed to be one of the most popular events in the town.

First set up in 1984, the festival re-enacts the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, a crucial battle in the Wars of the Roses and significant part of local history.

Liz Aston, one of the team behind the organising of the festival, explains what the event comprises of.

She said: “The festival is built around the Battle of Tewkesbury, re-enacted by in excess of 2000 men and women from across Europe. Many more re-enactors can be seen in the vast living history encampments demonstrating life in 1471 for peasants up to royalty.

“There is a medieval and craft market, street food, entertainment and music in the beer tent, storytelling, walking entertainers, falconry displays, re-enactment of the trial and execution of Lancastrians followed by a service of compline in the Abbey on the Saturday evening, and a large and vibrant parade through the town on Sunday morning.

“We also have a Schools Day on the Friday before the festival where children come and take part in various activities and explore the living history camps.”

The festival is one of the biggest free medieval events in Europe, attracting thousands of both re-enactors and visitors from the UK and abroad.

And Liz believes the effect the festival has on Tewkesbury every year is huge.

“Without the festival many people, myself included, would never have discovered all that the town has to offer,” said Liz, who comes from Wolverhampton.

“There is an amazing sense of community throughout the weekend as different groups of people are brought together through a love of history. It is great for local business, and the perfect way to ensure local history is kept alive.

“To use myself as an example, my husband and I went from never having been to Tewkesbury to getting married at the Abbey and becoming involved in the organisation of the festival. We even visit throughout the year!”

The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival takes place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July.

For Liz, it’s one of the highlights of the year.

She added: “The festival is a chance to come together to celebrate an important part of local history. More so, it is an opportunity for people from across Europe to come together to remember the past and inspire the next generation.

“I love that everybody is welcome and the friends I have subsequently made, and I love the enthusiasm. Most of all I love the feeling of being part of something very special.”

For more information on the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, visit www.tewkesburymedievalfestival.org

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