Community Amidst a Business

Sherwood is a business.  It is a desire of ours that the business is successful and prosperous.  We have invested a fair amount of money and time and analysis to make this happen.  But why a renaissance festival?  Why not a fast food chain or a service industry business?

Both George and I have been drawn to the middle ages and the renaissance era most of our lives.  It’s partly because we are both romantics…and have a bit of chivalric blood running in our veins.  It’s also because of the mixture of work and play.  Who could dream of a better job than one where one’s work was considered their entertainment?

When I was just out of college, I became engrossed in Texas Renaissance Festival and went all the time.  I worked SCA just so I could stay there over night.  When I married, we started a retail business so we could spend more time at the faire…and there I learned something very powerful about faire business.  I realized the purity of free enterprise in an eye-opening experience.  No pretense.  One could have fun while selling and making a living.  One could mix the best of two worlds.  Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy life.  Celebrate this journey with others.  Understand that some from the hippie culture found their space in the artisan and entertainment world of Faire.  Live a bit under the radar.

I remember clearly sitting down at the Copper Rose one Saturday night after a long day on the sales floor of my booth.  There were rennies playing “Magic” or some similar fantasy card game.  I asked them if they enjoyed WoW or Everquest… and they looked puzzled at me… and asked, “does it look like our lifestyle allows us to stay “connected” to the internet?  I felt a bit foolish.  And I realized these were the gypsies of our time.  They lived in tents and traveled the circuit almost year round.  And I loved it.  I gained a tremendous respect for their chosen lifestyle.  The booth owners had found a bit more permanence in their once vagabond lives.  They had campers, homes, running water, etc.  At least, many of them.  But they still lived off the grid.  And their entertainment was seldom television—but rather a musical gathering of friends behind a booth at night.

As time passed, I was fortunate to employ folk to work my booths.  I would work less and cook more.  And at night, we would play music, explore the grounds, and participate in creating our own tribal rituals around our experiences at Faire.  We engaged in hours and hours of dialogue.

The creation of Sherwood was to be the culmination of what I had learned and experienced about business and capitalism; but also, a desire to grow and expand on community.  More folk.  More minds.  More hearts.  More music. More dance and drums and art and dialogue…

Community is tough.  The concepts, in theory, are wonderful; but, successful community experiments are rare.  Too often ego gets in the way.  Some cult figure takes people astray.  Interpersonal struggles happen.  Sharing and equality give way to regimes and rules and edicts and laws.  Personal responsibility is lost if the individual is allowed to totally “be him/her-self”…because in the end, we are still animals not far removed from our primordial sludge.  Thus, when irresponsibility occurs, an iron fist is usually brought down on all to bear…and the illusion of the ideal is crushed.

But I am an idealist.  I think we can ascend to higher, mutually agreed upon goals.  Fun, spirituality, creativity, fairness, respect, empathy, the golden rule, ethical consideration in business, holding others accountable for their actions as one agrees to be held accountable for his/her actions, the binding obligations of entering into a social contract with another.

We are on a great journey, you and I.  We tout Sherwood as having no King.  Our King is away in a distant land… and we govern ourselves.  The responsibility of our behavior rests solely upon our shoulders.  And what we create within Sherwood will be reflection of our minds, our hearts and our souls.

It is essential each of you who enter the community of Sherwood assume your responsibility of watch over this creation as you would a child of your own blood. It is important – no, paramount – that you bring to the gatherings and to faire your artistry and your love and your passion for life.  We have decided that the business of Sherwood is not separate from the community of Sherwood.  Embrace your role and responsibility in this exciting endeavor.

Our second season is just around the corner.  Spread the word.  The spirit of Sherwood grows as your commitment to Sherwood expands.

Peace (and see ya soon at TRF),


Category : All Posts & Rengypsy's Blog

One Comment → “Community Amidst a Business”

  1. Dusty Atkinson
    8 years ago

    Very interesting Philosophy and ideals. It seems like your reasons for establishing your own renaissance encapsulate all the best that I’ve seen at the shows. I similarly have recently rejoined the Renaissance life that I once grew up with, to experience a time, a people, and ideals that are harder and harder to find in the modern world. Good Blog! And I’m not even a blog reader…normally


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