The Medieval Times, They Are A Changin

It’s 10:45Pm Friday night, and I’ve been home from work about an hour. I’ve changed clothes, had something to eat, reviewed the days email, and checked all the blogs that I read on a daily basis. There is really good music playing (Well I think Black Sabbath is good music anyway), and there is absolutely nothing that I have to do tomorrow. In other words, I’m feeling good, and when I’m feeling good, my thoughts usually turn to the SCA.

Specifically, tonight I’m wondering how rising gas prices and the general worstening ecomonic conditions will affect the SCA, and how to deal with the challenges those conditions represent.

On the drive home tonight, I made sure to pay attention to the gas prices displayed at all the convienence stores and gas stations I passed. It is by no means a scientific analysis of local gas prices, but in general it seemed that in Memphis gas was selling at anywhere from 3.54 to 3.69 a gallon. The fact that the price of gas is going to affect how frequently people are going to be willing to travel to SCA events hosted by other groups is fairly obvious. I know I personally have not traveled as much this spring and summer as I did last year.  So, if less people are willing to, or able to travel, it follows that the total attendance at each groups local events will go down.
What might not be so obvious, is that if the trend continues for any length of time, then  costs of the local events will have to rise. Even if the cost of site rental stays the same ( like that will really happen), if there are fewer people attending, then it will be necessary to charge those attendees higher prices in order to pay for the site. And let’s not forget that farmers are paying higher fuel prices too, as are the various companies (truck lines, railroads, and ship owners) that transport food as well, so it is inevitable that food prices will rise. That of course will drive up the cost of preparing feasts at events.

I think this will effect local events the most. Kingdom level events will, probably, not be as greatly affected. The business of the kingdom has to go on, and many people will want to continue to go to those events.

I do not want to come across all gloom and doom, but I think it is important that we all think about these issues, and start now to figure out ways to deal with them. We need to figure out solutions before the problem becomes overwhelming.

The Gleann Abhann Carpool yahoo group is a good start. Not only can people that ride to events together share the cost, but the drives to and from events are a great way to get to know people, to socialize, and to plot and plan. Particuarly if you travel with those that you don’t normally travel with.  Some of the best converations I’ve had with SCA folk didn’t actually occur at events, or even at meetings, but on the long, long trip to the Concrete Yurt site somewhere in the middle of nowhere LA.

I’m not sure what we can do to combat the rising costs of preparing feast. I’m not, and never will be, a feastcrat, but I have no doubt it is possible. As for the rising cost of event sites, we are just going to have to be willing to accept sites with fewer ammenities, or, in the case of my own local group, going to have to accept that the sites we have used for years are no longer acceptable. On Sunday Linnet and are going to look at a possible new site in north Mississippi.We, all of us, have to be willing to use new sites.

I guess my main feeling about all of the issues that are facing the SCA due to changing economic conditions is that the changes are going to happen. I also feel that these changes can be dealt with without damaging the SCA, but we have to realize they are coming, and begin preparing for them. We have to accept that things will change and be prepared to deal with them.