Robin Hood Festival has another hit year.
Last Sunday proved the climax of the Robin Hood Festival at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve in Edwinstowe. This year, the Festival had moved dates to the second week in August to ensure the availability of some of the main acts, and had reduced from being a full week to a 5 day event.
For such a mainstay high profile event, the organisers we’re understandably keeping a close eye on whether these changes would alter visitor numbers. They needn’t have worried though as once again, people flocked to quite possibly the biggest festival of Robin Hood in the world.
If you’ve never been before this is probably a good time to explain what to expect. The whole of Sherwood Forest comes alive with performances from comedians and musicians with medieval stalls and crafts dotted around the site too.
When we arrived at the main visitor centre this year, we were treated to traditional Morris Dancing as people gathered round to see and over the years I’ve also been treated to comedy performances, fire eating, storytelling and much, much more.
The Grand Finale yesterday was a Falconry display and a jousting tournament between Robin Hood and his Merry Men and the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men. In between bouts of horse riding there were staged fights by the stunt team in a general competition and of course, Robin Hood and his Merry Men win the day.
The best bits for me though have to be the wide variety of acts that perform near the visitor centre and around the Major Oak as people gather round to hear stories and be entertained. This brings a closeness between the performer and the audience that is truly magical and probably reflects how medieval entertaining was originally conducted too.
As far as cultural festivals go, the Robin Hood Festival has to be one of the best and shows off one of England’s finest legends and its medieval legacy extremely well.
A huge amount of credit goes to the Sherwood Forest rangers that not only help organise the event but also manage the tens of thousands of visitors that come from all over the world to see this delightful spectacle in a forest that is also a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
For another year the festival is over and for me a cultural climax of the British summer has passed. Until next year, long live Robin Hood.