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Shooting Volleys Of Arrows

Started by Craigmeister, May 14, 2014, 10:52:38 AM

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Recently in and around Oklahoma, I've begun to see lots of other archers at Renfaires.  This is a new twist as in the past, the most common characters were swordsmen, pirates, wenches and fairies.  I like seeing archers, whether they have Elvish ears or are other takes on Robin Hood.

This may sound outlandish but I wonder if any Renfaires would set aside an area near their parking lots to rope off and let the archers assemble and loose volleys of arrows at a target.  The target could be a bed sheet, some bales of hay or spray painted circles on the ground.  I've done this before at a small Renfaire in Oklahoma but I was the only archer in attendance.  Shooting at a set, vertical target is one thing but it is not as fun as watching arrows go skyward, arcing over and falling towards a target.

I would think that a Renfaire could do this without much insurance cost if the area is wide and roped off from patrons.  The faire could allow archers to practice during the morning and let the mass of them "have at it" in the afternoon.  I would think the space could be used for trebuchets when the archers are not present.  Maybe towards the end of the day, the archers and trebuchets could team up on some targets.  Sounds like a movie to me.
Providing faire information for over 10 years (updated monthly).  Visit to find all the Renaissance & Celtic-type Festivals in North America.  There's much more to see and do in 'The Realm' as well.


As an archer, and a member of an archerycentric guild I heartily agree!
We do a series of soft site faires around N California every year. For most we do do shooting demontrations, usually a combination of tournaments and volley/cadance shooting. The hard part is space, and for a few faires we cannot do actual shooting demonstrations, but can give talks and show examples of the technology of the gear, and even the construction. We've got a few experienced bowyers, and most of our members make their own arrows.
The space issue is the worst. I would not recommend doing demonstrations in a parkign lot, assuming its paved, as the arrows, even with target or field points, can rip up asphalt, and can be damaged by hitting asphalt or concrete. The other concern is that maximum range of an arrow, depending on the bow, can be upwards of 400 yards (even higher in some cases), so you have to make sure absolutley nothing and nobody is behind the target. There is balistic netting that can be used as a backdrop if neccassary, or even simple cloth (not resusable, as the arrows will rip it up pretty quick). Due to the space constraints, the limit to our volley range is about 100 yards at one site, where we use the jousting arena. Usually we top off at about 50 yards, and even shorter on occasion.
I am not sure about the insurance complications, except that I do know in order to shoot all participants have to be garbed (obviously) and members of either the faire organization or one of the re-enactment participants. We're supposed to check for the wristbands given out at registration.
One a side note, it has to be made very plain to other people, both volunteers or other cast, and the public, that bows are weapons, and firing demonstrations are the only time that bows should be strung or used. We did have an incident last year where a volunteer heard there was archery scheduled, and used it as reasoning to carry around her gear, and had a couple kids ask about it. An accident did happen, and I (along with two other members of the guild) was nearly shot (we're talking being missed by less than two inches, after litteraly moving from where the arrow hit less than a second before).
Traditionally for long range shooting, a circle on the ground, or a wand would be the target.The wand is a bit of a misnomer, as it was a stick about 3-4 inches arcross, wrapped in padding until it was about 3 feet across, and about 5-6 feet tall (kind of like a person). Shorter range shooting for higher acuracy would use a twisted hay target. We tend to use one of those put against a stack of bales.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with catsup.


I found a place for volley shooting, unfortunately, it was not an arcing shot but straight on at a target 20 yards away.  However, it was still fantastic to participate in!  The Sherwood Forest Faire east of Austin, Texas has archery tournaments every afternoon.  After the tourney is complete, all who participate are able to loose 2 arrows at one target simultaneously.  I would love to be able to do this at other places as well.
Providing faire information for over 10 years (updated monthly).  Visit to find all the Renaissance & Celtic-type Festivals in North America.  There's much more to see and do in 'The Realm' as well.


When you die can you donate your body to pseudo-science?


The Kansas City Ren Faire has a longbow shoot.  My company sponsored it the last 3 years.
It really was a lot of fun.
Jeremy Bays


I've heard of that one before.  Isn't it usually after hours to reduce the insurance risk, and just on one weekend?
Providing faire information for over 10 years (updated monthly).  Visit to find all the Renaissance & Celtic-type Festivals in North America.  There's much more to see and do in 'The Realm' as well.