To King or not to King?

Ian at Samhuinn 2014 by Mark Taylor

Our Samhuinn 2014 Summer King, Ian Stuart, shares some thoughts about his role at the festival…

Why did I perform this year? There are several reasons why I put my name forward. I’ve watched and been involved in many BFS events and saw an opportunity to put my own stamp on things, to really stand up and be counted. I turned 50 this year (I’ve had an easy paper-round!) and am generally an introvert. If I was ever going to challenge myself, where better to do it than at a BFS event? I don’t know if it was my mid-life crisis or my desire to prove some point, but this year somehow felt right.

I remember a Blue telling me that a BFS festival should be equal parts ritual, celebration and performance, and I wanted to make them all as good as I could. This is why I got someone else involved to do the sword-fight. I wanted it to look like a fight, not something rote. I wanted the Samhuinn story to be just that – a story, not a cabaret show. I wanted there to be a reason why people would come and celebrate with us, rather than at home. I wanted people to feel there was a spiritual significance to what was happening and I wanted to encourage those who wanted space for their personal ritual to have that.

What has it meant for me? I’ve gone so far outside my comfort zone it’s scary, but I’ve been with people who’ve been so supportive that it’s actually been not-scary too. It’s also been interesting comparing the creation of this event to the creation of a motorsports event, which I have years of experience with. They are so very different, yet in some ways so very similar.

Also, I love BFS. It’s an amazing place to be. The Society is full of wonderful, vibrant, different, engaging, infuriating, challenging, accepting people. Look at the puppets that are made; look at the costumes. No, look CLOSELY at the costumes. They are all made by us. The time, effort and sheer talent that goes into making them is unbelievable!

I have no idea where I’m going to wear a leaf-suit, or a red velvet cloak…but I’m sorted for the next few fancy dress parties!

Photo of Ian at Samhuinn 2014 by Mark Taylor.

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