top of page

First Event Guide

Viadrina recommends that as a newcomer, you should attend a practice or a local meeting or activity prior to attending your first event. You can find our local activities in our Calendar and Events page. That said the hobby comes alive when you attend your first event. The events are where the magic happens. The following article will introduve you to the various types of events and what you may expect while you are there. Additionally any personal items you may want to bring with you.

Getting Ready

Before you attend any event never mind your first, it is best to take some time to research and gather basic information on the upcoming event. Most event pages will describe what the event will be pertaining to but most come in a few basic shapes you will begin to recognize. Almost all events contain a mixture of Tournaments, wars, arts and science/classes and studies, and revels such as games or other festivities.

Beyond what is going to happen these event pages also contain other crucial information like the location and directions to the site, a schedule so you know the timing of the various activities, who might be in attendance, and importantly cost.

Almost every event has a "Gate Fee". These admission fees help us pay for the sites and help us continue to provide entertainment for everyone. The cover renting the site, supplies, insurance, and more. The event page will also mention any on site lodging, prepared meals, or any additional or separate fees.
Many events offer pre-registration allowing to you to pre-pay or secure overnight space ahead of time.

Event pages will also mention any unique event or site rules such as alcohol or smoking regulations, campfire bans, pets, and more. Obey all posted rules or you may be asked to leave the event.

What to bring?

One of the most important items you will need to bring is a costume. Having adequate clothing is a must for most events and individuals who have not made at least the basest attempts at a costume may be asked to leave. As a new member it is not expected for you to come in an expensive work of art, an attempt is all that is asked. You can find many costumes at local thrift stores or similar equivalents. You can get by with some sneakiness. Cutting the cuffs and collar off a t-shirt can make a very basic "tunic" and sweatpants or yoga pants can often get you past gate. Another easy way is to contact the event coordinator or your local chapter to procure some loaner gear. Most citizens have a couple extra pieces lying around they do not mind lending out. Viadrina personally has a large loaner closet. Reach out to us at for more information.

Outdoor Gear
As most events are done outdoors you will want to bring something to sit on such as a blanket or portable chair. Don't worry if your chair is modern, many members do not even have period camp furniture. If you want to make the attempt some fabric can make an impromptu cover to make your chair look a little less modern. If you plan on bringing a sunshade or canopy that is allowed to be set up near your camp. You may also be permitted to set it up in more general areas or near the combat field so long as the canopy does no show any obtrusive logos or other decorations that might distract from the period feel of the event. Bug spray and sun screen are also useful to bring. You may be spending some time in the sun and outside and they add a little more comfort.

Feast Gear
If you plan to partake in any provided meals offered at an event it is a good idea to bring a set of dinning ware. a plat, bowl, cup, and utensils almost always suffice. Don't worry if your first set is not period but you can find period appropriate dinnerware at almost any department store. Just look for wood or ceramic pieces that give a more "handmade" feel. Solid colors are your best friend. As per normal you can also contact your local chapter or event coordinator and paper alternatives or loaner gear may be available.

If you are not planning on partaking in the offered meal options you will need to leave site or bring something with you. Many sites are located quite far off the beaten path and may be a hassle to find an off-site option. Packing a meal is always a safe option. Depending on the events length please bring enough food and water to stay hydrated and well fed throughout the event.

Art and Science materials
At some events you may have the opportunity to work on an arts or science project or to display your own works. Ensure you have checked the event page and bring any supplies you may need from home if you wish ti participate.

Overnight Supplies
Some events are called "camping events". These events often span entire weekends or longer. If the site has on-site lodging such as cabins or dorms you may need to bring your own bed linens and pillows. If you plan on camping ensure you bring your own tent or pavilion. If you do not have a passable period tent you may be asked to camp further from the main event area to help maintain appearances. These special rule sets are often listed on the event page. A sleeping bag, air mattress, or other sleeping gear is a must. Bring whatever toiletries you do not wish to go without, shampoo, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, toilet paper, and more.

Medical Supplies
If you have any medical needs that will have to be addressed at site ensure you bring sufficient supplies. In the case of medication bring slightly more then you will need to last the event. Keep your medical supplies separated and well labelled preferably in water-tight containers. If you have anything that requires refrigeration such as insulin, or electricity such as a CPAP machine, please contact the event coordinator for options. In any case have a list of medical conditions, medications, and any other important information available. Particularly if you plan on participating in any combat activities. Safety is our highest concern and your diligence may benefit you in the case of a medical emergency.

What to Expect

While in attendance of any society event, the goal is to recreate a period of history. That period is filled with courtesy and chivalry. From the moment you enter gate please maintain the number one rule of be excellent to one another. If you do not know someone's name please refer to them as "milord" or "milady". If you come across any royalty pay reverence with a simple bow or curtsy. Following others example is a good trick to use. Be sure to silence your phone. If you must use your device attempt to step away from others where you won't be heard.

If you use any tobacco products, you must go to a designated smoking area or away from all public traffic areas of the event before use. Please refer to the event page for any on-site rules or regulations.

Your first stop is "gate". This is a registration point and where you pay your admission fees. Even if you have already paid please ensure you sign into the event including a non-member waiver if you are not a currently standing member. you will receive a site token at gate to show you have paid your dues and as a memento from the event to keep. At any Viadrina event you can ask at the gate for access to our loaner closet or gear.

After this point you are now free to explore the event as you see fit. A good starting point is to always set up your camp at this point. check the site rules to ensure you are setting up in the correct place.

If you are participating in any tournaments or competitions ensure you register for them as soon as registration opens. Make sure your armor has passed any inspections prior to any combat activities.

If you intent to stay a spectator there are a few tips to help maximize enjoyment. During any combat activities please show your support with cheering and applauding the fighters. Be courteous to the defeated, boos and jeers are never welcome. When any herald or marshal is addressing the crowd pay attention and stay silent to not miss any important information. Importantly if you ever hear anyone yell "HOLD!". Ensure you stop where you are and join the chorus adding your voice to the call. A hold indicates a potential safety issure that needs to be addressed.

You are free to attend any classes being held at the event or watch any of the days activities. Most classes are held free of charge but some may have a small fee. Usually to cover cost of materials. This will be indicated on the event page or a brochure offered at gate.

During the event the entire populace gathers for two activities. If any nobility is present they most host a "court". Any proclamations, announces to changed laws, awards given, recognizing tournament winners, and more will usually be announced at court. All are welcome to come, sit, and listen but an expectation of silence is there. During specific announcements applauds or cheers may be accepted such as announcing a tournament winner or the giving of an award. Defer and listen to others to know when to join in. If you are called forward during court do it with reverence and respect. Acknowledge all nobles presence and defer to others for a lead to follow. 

The second being Feast. during this time all gather to dine on medieval foods. At some events a prepared feast by event staff is provided, others may be potluck style or an expectation to bring your own meal. Check the rules before lighting any candles.
If the seated nobles are present they will sit at a special table known as the high table. If you pass this table it is polite to show reverence to those in a seated position. During the feast high ranked members will often toast any seated royals present. Following the feast the kitchen staff may ask for help cleaning the hall. It is polite to offer assistance but you are never required to do so.
After the feast the evening activities take place but most commonly this is a social time. Many individuals return to their groups camps and share stories, chat, and revel. Some camps are private endeavors while others are open for any to join and share. If you don't know, ask around and be polite.

Before you leave the event make sure you have gathered ALL your belongings, cleaned any space you have used, return any borrowed equipment, and remove any trash with you as you leave. Failure to follow this rule may revoke the privilege to be invited back.
Often times during this cleanup period there is a lot of work to be done and volunteers are always welcome but once again never required.

The most important rule of all is have fun. An event can be a fantastic experience that you may never forget. Be polite, ask questions, and try new things.

Check out our Calendar and Events page to find out any upcoming Viadrina events.

Hail Viadrina

bottom of page