Jousting to return to castle

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JOUSTING is making a welcome return to Berkeley Castle this summer.

In July the castle will play host to the Berkeley Skirmish, a new two-day event, which it is hoped will go someway to replace the popular Joust.

Last summer the two-weekend Joust event, which was in its seventh year, had to be cancelled because of the heavy flooding that affected the region.

advertisementThe Joust used to attract more than 10,000 people to the area and its cancellation was devastating for Berkeley and the company Grail Presents that organised it, which faced financial ruin as a consequence.

However, Chris Bruce and his wife Karen Hill from Cheshire-based company Plantagenet Events Ltd, are hoping the new Berkeley Skirmish will help boost tourism.

Mr Bruce said: “We used to get involved with the Joust and we know how good it was. This is going to be smaller than the Joust because we are only just starting out, but we hope it will grow.

“Last year was devastating for everyone, not just the show, but for Berkeley and the entire region.

“What we want to do is support each other and hopefully re-establish an event that was so popular and such a boost for the area and it will give Gloucestershire something positive to advertise.

“We are only a small company, we do not have the financial resources the Joust had, but the response we are already getting from people within the medieval re-enactment world is incredible, everyone wants to come back to Berkeley.”

The Berkeley Skirmish will include living history, 70 traders, battle re-enactments, archery and some jousting.

Tim Davies, marketing director for the Berkeley Estate, said: “The advantage of this company is that they have been involved with Berkeley before so they know how it was done and what is available.

“Losing the Joust was a big blow, not just to us at the castle but to the local area. The fact that we can establish a similar event is very, very pleasing and we are looking forward to it.”

The Berkeley Skirmish will be held at Berkeley Castle on Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27.

Plantagenet Events Ltd is in no way connected to Grail Presents, the company that ran the Joust.

By Liza-Jane Gillespie

4 thoughts on “Jousting to return to castle

    Finola Healy said:
    June 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I lost quite a lost of money on last year’s event, having booked a large number of tickets in advance. No refunds were offered and all requests were ignored. I had been a good supporter of the event having attended the joust on numerous occasions over a number of years and felt very let down by the organisers. I would not attend an event of this type again and certainly will not be buying tickets in advance!
    I still have my tickets from last year – I might be persuaded to go along if I can use the same tickets – and yes I know the organsiers are different but that doesn’t really matter to those who attend does it.?

    laura gingell said:
    July 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    we agree, i have a large family and days out like this take a lot of saving up I also still have our tickets for last years joust and considering we spent an awfull lot of money at this event free admission from new organisers would be greatly appreciated

    Dave Carne said:
    July 24, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I’m wondering whether to go or not. I nearly pre-booked for last year but did not so I have not lost out. But friends of mine did pre-book and have lost out.
    I understand it is a new company, with a completly new agenda, but it’s still Berkeley castle. Would it not be sensible to assume that anyone having lost out after pre-paying last year will either boycott the event out of principle or just not bother? If tickets from last year were accpted as valid I believe the good faith would catapult the new venture into sucess.
    Such a shame about last year a no ones fault, but the joust was a sucess because of the attendees and the interest from the public.
    You can not ride the sucess of previous years without paying the price of last years disappointment.

    Pete Bodman said:
    July 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I find these comments unfair on the new organisers. The joust is one of the best re-enactment events of the year and last years fiasco was the fault of the organiser who did not get insurance for the event. Many re-enactors lost a lot more that just prepaid tickets but are willing to give their support to the new organisers. I say well done for getting it back on again for this year and the only reason my group will not be attending is that we didn’t think it would be on and has been booked elsewhere. Maybe a goodwill gesture of allowing people to use last years prepaid tickets will help to get the joust back on the map. But those of you who have not been before, do not be put of by the previous comments as it is a fantastic day out.
    I for one will be there on the saturday to give my support and help make this event great again.

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