Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Vikings are Coming!

And then there was the gig at the Crediton Festival, the 1,100 year anniversary celebrations to commemorate the founding of the Bishopric of Devon. Initially (as explored in the 'Porlock' novel!) it was in Crediton, but moved to Exeter. Not least due to the invasions of Vikings (again as in 'Porlock'!), and we were storytelling there at the re-enactment battle 'The Vikings are Coming' (to attack Saxon Crediton). It was a good atmosphere, although few people we spoke to seemed aware of the 1,100 theme, which we tried our best to remedy, telling anyone who seemed interested of the C10th Exeter Book and it being part of the move from Crediton to Exeter in Bishop Leofric's library which he donated to Exeter Cathedral. We performed the odd piece from it, as well the more usual folktales, and the Porlock stall was a success, selling a fair number of copies, even being asked to sign a couple (embarrassing, but kind of people to think of asking for a scribble). It looked the part, and the new signs did the business. When we turned up it was raining, and Deborah from the covered stalls came and asked if we'd like to be under cover? We accepted gratefully. After lunch the weather cleared up to be hot and sunny, and one was then thankful for the shade the market offered! Andrew of the organic apple juice stall and Deborah and Mary of 'British Pork on your Fork' were friendly stallholders to be between, and altogether I was pleased with how the day went. Deor did sterling work captivating the crowds and then pulling them in to check out the books. One person did know all about the Exeter Book, and bought a copy, and someone else came along who had seen our show at the Autumn Festival, saying to her friend 'these are the people who did the Epic of Gilgamesh - I won't forget that evening' - so that left us glowing! 
   Still new to being a stallholder, my verdict was; quite hard work in that you had to meet people's eye, and be alert (not easy for the shy or reserved), shout one's wares a fair bit, all while attempting to be welcoming and keep on the ball with the right change! But having a good 'float' helps, and making the signs as clear as possible. Give people flyers to take away if they've no spare cash that day, and free gifts if possible. Lay books in lines as well as a stack, and generally fill the table. And always have plenty of cards with your website address... Thanks to Paul for having us, Deborah, Mary and Andrew for being nice to work alongside, and all the folk who bought books!

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