Highlighting the middle-earth festival plight.
This latest journey of the fellowship of Geek Chronicles has us clashing sword against sword. Shields have been shaken, spears have been splintered and the sun has set, plunging us into darkness. The courage of men has failed. Will darkness pass?
Birmingham’s Middle Earth festival looks set to be the end of an age, with its key members of the volunteer organising committee either leaving or sadly passing away, we must start to ask the question, is it viable?
The Middle-Earth Festival was held at Sarehole Mill, one of the key locations during J.R.R. Tolkien’s childhood, and would later heavily influence him when writing his masterpiece, The Lord of The Rings, making the Mill an ideal location for the Middle-Earth Festival to be held at, creating a closer connection to the author.
During the festival’s past, visitors could enjoy a range of activities such as battle-enactments, axe throwing, archery, costume competitions, art activities and of course the readings of Tolkien’s work. In addition to these, traders could book stalls to sell wood carving, metal work, art and jewellery, there would be live music from bands, birds of prey, board game demonstrations, displays of props from the beloved films and medieval weaponry. This festival would offer everything to fans of Tolkien’s work and be excellent for just a day out for the family. Us at Geek Chronicles think this is a brilliant event, definitely worth a saga of songs by our resident Bard.
However, Birmingham City Council has issued Middle-Earth Festival a £20,000 bill for the event to be held at Sarehole and as this event is mostly run by volunteers (whilst also relying on some donations to run), this is leaving the festival in a large amount of debt and without a location.
In addition, two of the organising committee have sadly passed away, with other members standing down, such as the chairman and the vice chairman, this leaves the festival with an uncertain future ahead, does this leave the organization in danger of collapsing?
The Middle-Earth Festival have tried to gain further funding from the Lottery and the Arts Council to help pay off the debt, however both organizations have refused to aid the festival’s predicament. Furthermore, The Tolkien Society have looked into taking on the festival, but then decided they couldn’t handle it, leaving a major celebration of Tolkien’s work in danger of disappearing.
The Middle-Earth Festival was for us a brilliant blend of Tolkien’s Work being celebrated for its magnificence and a delightful, thoughtful family outing that’s a rarity in today’s world. This would be the utterly devasting if the festival should be shut down permanently, a fate worse than The Ring falling into the Dark Lord’s grasp.