The Fish Were Not Flying…

This past weekend we went to the Ren Fest, and I have to say that I was disappointed. In the past years, there have been many music acts. So many, we have often gone more than once so that we could see them all. Every single time we go, we make a point of seeing the Flying Fish Sailors – we adore them. Heck, I adore them so much, I use their music (with their permission, of course) as the Pointy Sticks theme. (Psst… Episode 9 is live!)

So imagine our shock this past weekend when we walked in the gate, bought our schedule, and then discovered that they were not performing! Matter of fact, many of the groups that we have enjoyed, including Wyndnwere (I know I’m not spelling that right), who I make a point of seeing every time I go and I remember first seeing back in 1992, were not there. It was sad. To be honest, it was a bit too quiet.

Normally, as you walk from shop to shop, there are groups all around playing, and it adds such a nice feel to the moment. This past weekend, it was just too quiet.

Sure, the shows are fun. But Ded Bob has been doing the same skit for the past 5 years, and it is a bit old. Same with every show I saw – the only thing that was good was the Birds of Prey show, because they rescue birds, and the Sound & Fury show that I had not seen before. (Romeo & Juliet, v. 2.0) Sure, if it is your first visit, it is still fun – don’t get me wrong. But if you have gone many times in the past 4 years, it is a huge let-down.

So, Texas Renaissance Festival organizers, if you are listening … shame on you for not inviting all of the musical acts that we have grown to love. THEY are what bring us back, year after year. We can depend on them to entertain us, to have new material from time to time, and to just bring the atmosphere up a notch. THEY are what makes the Texas Renaissance Festival what it is, and without them, it is just a big shopping mall with somewhat tired skits. Thanks for the memories, but we won’t be back this year, and I’m not really sure when or if we will return. Hopefully you will see the error of your ways and bring the music back to the faire where it belongs.

Maybe we’ll make it over to the Austin Celtic Festival instead. It is the same weekend as the Yale Street Market though, so it will be tight.

I’m going to poke you in the eye… poke you in the eye… poke you in the eye, my dear!

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

7 replies on “The Fish Were Not Flying…”

We took the girls to the Ren fest this past Sunday. We were newbies, so we had nothing to compare it to. The kids had a ball. The highlights were riding the elephant, getting their faces painted, and watching the jousting.


My performer friends were all disappointed that they weren’t offered returning contracts on terms that they could accept (if they were offered at all). My understanding is that Jeff Baldwin (the Entertainment Director) went to bat for them and it was a business decision.

A nicely worded note to management ( might help for future years.

Jay, of course, has more.

I love Ren Fest but haven’t been this year. It’s fun, but you’re right, a lot of it is repititious. I hated it when Johnny Fox didn’t come back for Ren Fest and haven’t enjoyed it quite as much as I used to since then. Ah well… just think about all the money you’ll save by not going again this year — more money for YARN!!!

Miss you! We need to get together soon!

I did have a good time at the Ren Fest, but it was definitely not the same GREAT time I normally have. (As in, we stay until the fireworks, and then we hang out outside the gates while Tartanic plays because we do not want to leave.) For the newbies, it isn’t a tired event at all. It is only when you have seen the same skits for 5 years that it gets old. I can quote Ded Bob’s lines. We didn’t go back to the kid’s section, and I couldn’t take the direct sun of the jousting. (The joy of meds that make you super sun and heat sensitive.) I didn’t bother checking the entertainment page before we left the house – or the Flying Fish Sailor site, for that matter – because the music is always there. Or so we thought.

Lesson learned. I will check it before I return next year. And I had already started to look this morning for an e-mail address, which Michael has so kindly provided. I will send them a nice note (honest!) about my sentiments.

But for a nice day out with my in-laws and my parents, something that my in-laws have never done and my parents don’t go every year, it was a very nice day. I just *really* missed the “soundtrack” of the faire, and I saw all that I wanted to see so I won’t return this year.

The hub (B) and I actually had a long chat with a TRF insider who was visiting Scarborough Faire over Memorial Day weekend. (Even if I remembered their name, I wouldn’t post it so as not to get them in trouble.) In any case, we discussed TRF’s gradual slide in originality and quality, and I’m told (by this person and by others in the know) that it indeed has to do with management. Many acts who once considered TRF their “home faire” don’t appear there any longer because it’s difficult to commit to a full eight-weekend gig, and management has required this for several years…that’s only part of the picture, but there you go.

B will be disappointed to learn that the Flying Fish Sailors will not be there; while Tartanic is a great act, TRF hasn’t been the same for me since they lost the Rogues, and it looks doubtful that Scottish Mayhem will ever make it. BUT – on our visit November 4, we’ll be accompanied by the Best Friend and her hub and The Most Awesome Two-Year-Old Ever…which will make it awesome no matter what!

In any case, I understand how you feel, in a long and rambly way. One last thing – ever been to Scarborough? I’ve long felt that it’s taken over TRF in quality. Worth the drive north (even in late-spring heat) for the fun. I went twice this year!

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