Owen has a saying “Only Pennsic is worth the trouble that only Pennsic requires.” For me the jury is still out on the “worth” question. That’s not because it’s not a great event, it is a fantastic event, but it did more or less kick my ass back and forth from the food court to the merchant area and back to camp again, multiple times.
I don’t want to make this post about my physical challenges, or about my anxiety, but I will say that two weeks in a tent, in Western Pennsylvania, in the middle of summer, is something that I will not essay lightly again. I was utterly unprepared for the heat, the humidity, and the walking.
I met a number of very fine bards, and got to see other old friends, some of which I haven’t seen in years. Musically I was on top of my game, very few unforced errors, good state presence, and receptive audiences. Perhaps the standout bardic moment for me was performing “The Lost Crusade” with Cantore Borealis, the choir group that Mistress Orlaith leads at Pennsic.
We arrived on Saturday, in the early evening, and set up most of our stuff in the dark. This is not as big a deal as it once was, we’re all old hands at this part. Sunday was spent fine tuning the details, picking up things in town and such. On Monday morning I was dressed and ready to do stuff.
The “stuff” we were doing was Calontir Bardic on Monday night, 9 PM. It’s a big circle, I’m told that it’s traditionally the first (or perhaps just the first big) bardic circle of the event. I’d say there were between 30 and fifty people there, and except for the part where it started raining (it had been doing so on and off all day) a good time was had by all.
I played twice, once when the circle came to me, once on request. The first song was Tinker’s Minstrel, which went by without a hitch. The request song was I’m a Duke and You’re Not, in which I swapped the second and third verse, but in that piece it’s not really all that important.
Overall I’d say it went well, though I was constantly concerned about the weather and my guitar. When it actually started raining consistently I opted out, Arwa and I loaded our things in the wagon and went back to our encampment.
Tomorrow, 10:30 AM my friends and I are leaving for Pennsic 47. I have so much packing still to do! I know that, regardless of what I forget everything will be alright, it’s not like my life depends on any of this stuff, but I’m still stressing about it. I have an incredibly long and detailed list, and I’m doing a good job of packing things neatly and not using more space than I need, but still I find myself wondering what stupid mistake I’m making. Of course something is always bound to be forgotten, and I’ll only remember what that is when I’m on the road somewhere in Ohio.
On Friday my friends and I are off to Pennsic. For some of us this is old hat, they’ve been going to Pennsic for decades. But this will be my first Pennsic and I have to say that I’m just a wee bit intimidated.
I’m going for the entire two weeks. The longest event I’ve attended so far was Gulf Wars last March. That was 10 days including travel, but Pennsic is four days longer, not counting travel. So the first hurdle is getting mentally prepared for being away from home for so long. The good news is that I’ll be camping with friends and they know that I may need some emotional support from time to time. Also, I do have medication to treat my anxiety if it comes to that.
Then there’s the list making and packing. Clothes, toiletries, musical instruments, and me being me, electronics. There’s the tent, the bed, the stove, the lantern, the heater and all the things to put them on. Feast gear, water bottles, bath towels; the list seems endless.
Tomorrow people will start bring their stuff to my house, and Thursday Owen and I will start packing the big stuff in my tuck and trailer. I don’t know how ready I’m going to be, but I’m giving it my best shot.
I’ve posed a new recording of Children of Lir on my Patreon site. This is the first patron only thing I’ve ever done, and I’m hoping that they like it.