Pennsic’s Best Kept Bardic Non-Secret

TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview
Features Reporter -- Pennsic Independent

For the 12th year in a row, the Chalkman Pub’s bardic competition was held Friday night to an appreciative audience. The houses of Sea Chameleon and The Burly Ten Pint Men have been holding their bardic competition at the edge of the old Tuchux Hill to a house so packed that the camp walls have to be lowered to accommodate spectators. This year’s competition featured about 15 acts, from a capella performances to guitar, mandolin, and even small (Uillean or Northumbrian) pipes.

Jointly emceed by Lord Commodore Robin McCauley and Lord Hennessey, the Chalkman bardic is aimed at entertainers who do not work with drums as their primary instrument. As Lord Hennessey put it, “Put a couple of doumbeks together and you have a drum circle. We’re aiming at the performers who are looking for a venue where they don’t have to compete with the drumming.” Most nights the Pub is open, it becomes a jam session spot for many bards of the Known World.

The Chalkman Pub itself runs Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays of the two weeks of Pennsic, and features house band Revelwood as well. Information on entering their bardic competition (which is by pre-registration only) can be found at their website:

This year’s competition featured entertainers from across the Known World, and performances included Master John ap Wynne performing a Gaelic love song, Andrew Scarheart with a stirring rendition of “The Minstrel” (not the 1900s song of the same name), and Jean, singing “Morgan le Fey”.

Winners of the Master of Ceremony’s awards were “The Omega Company Pick-Up Band” with three Irish reels, Rutger with “Bound for South Australia”, and Terrace Fire with “Crooked Jack”. The winners for originality were “Fezzes Down”, while Don Andrew won for Best Performance. The Stage Presence award went to Master Cedric of Ansteorra for a hilarious song with an “R” rating, while last year’s overall winner Michael Kelly of An Tir took the Musical Quality award with his rousing rendition of Master Hector of Ealdormere’s song “Rise”. The overall winners of this year’s Chalkman Pub bardic were “The Respectable Hooligans” doing a medley of pieces including the original composition “Hooligan’s Reel”.

With well over 100 attendees (and a “drive by” service window for those desirous of refreshment but unable to get through the crowd to the bar), the Chalkman Pub Bardic was a most lively and enjoyable experience for both performers and audience alike. Next year, check the web site before you leave for War, and pencil in the show for your enjoyment.