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cblodg
07-12-2006, 08:46 AM
Lads;

I'm sure that most would agree that the Annual Gettysurg Reenactment needs to be revamped. So instead of complaining, why don't we use this thread to start offering solutions to the problems.

Lets face it, this is the one battle that the public recognizes and knows when you say "civil war".

So I'd like to see a list of things from people that:
1) Need to be fixed
2) Would like to be fixed
3) Doesn't need to be changed right away

Perhaps these ideas/solutions could be forwarded on to the committee.

Chris

Remise
07-12-2006, 08:53 AM
Hoo-boy! I can't wait to see the responses this will generate. I know you mean well, and hope that whomever does reply will remember this, as well.

B.C. Milligan

ewtaylor
07-12-2006, 08:56 AM
Not to burst your bubble Chris, but this event gets ragged on every year. And every year people come up with ideas on how to fix it. I think the reason there were fewer people was because most are sick of it. I have never reenacted in the East, except I did go to McDowell 2003. I actually had a decent time of it and will probably go to the 2007 (didnt go to 2005). With the price of gas and the weather I'd say most are staying closer to home or saving up for the bigger and better type events.
ew taylor

Trimmings
07-12-2006, 09:35 AM
Still trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear? If for some reason anyone has deluded themselves to the point where they believe history has some priority over profit when it comes to Gettysburg, please seek professional help immediately. The Gettysburg reenactment has been a big fat turd in the punchbowl for decades and will remain so as long as it is held. Does anyone really and truly think a town with a monoculture centered on raping history for profit is going to care what a few reenactors think? Support a quality living history or stay home, mow the grass, and send $50 to CWPT instead.

If I seem grouchy this morning, please just chalk it up to filling up the gas tank. :mad:

Ray Prosten

MStuart
07-12-2006, 09:39 AM
f I seem grouchy this morning, please just chalk it up to filling up the gas tank. :mad:
Ray Prosten

Ray:

Pickup truck? I feel your pain. First it was smokes, now it's gas. A man can't even have a vice these days.

Mark

Wild Rover
07-12-2006, 10:34 AM
Trying to reinvent the current Lomasburg would be like, well, cheesegrater amore.

Slightly amusing but mostly painful.

Time to forget about that mess and go to a real event, put on by real historians- based on history.

Kick the moneychangers out of the temple.


Pards,

indguard
07-12-2006, 11:34 AM
The only thing that will "fix" it is if the big mouths and whiners that complain about it get up off their lazy rear ends and HOST ONE themselves!

The reason events go as they do is because the people that host them WANT to run them the way they do. They are putting all the effort in so THEY get to call the shots.

If you HATE the event.... DON'T GO!

If you want one better .... HOST ONE!

This is why some of the good Recon style, or campaign style events have been so successful. Guys who wanted it done right got together and hosted it themselves.

Personally, I ignore all the whiners and carpers about events when they just want to sit comfortably in front of their computers and throw stones at everyone else.

Put up or shut up, boyos.

Want a better Gettysburg? MAKE IT YOURELF!

Warner T Huston
The "not expecting the whiners to do anything but whine" mess

Loyal Virginian
07-12-2006, 12:04 PM
I think that this is a fair question, and I agree with one of its key premises, that it may be the most visible reenactment--at least in terms of venue.

I am sure that I could add to anyone's list of problems with the G-burg reenactments in the past. I suspect that I could add a few items that I have enjoyed in some of the ones that I have attended.

I have not attended a G-burg reenactment for several years, specifically because of the accumulation of problems that they have had.

But I am an optimistic sort and fail to subscribe to the notion that the G-burg reenactment cannot be made better, a lot better, enough better. And I agree that it would benefit reenacting a lot if it were made a lot better.

So I am interested in what folks may have to say about making it better.

I will put in an observation or two of my own to help move the discussion along. Not intending to make definitive points--that is why we need a fulsome discussion here--I would right now offer these:

1. The ground is great. There is still a fair amount of farm land around to make for some decent reenacting room (though houses are popping up here and there).

2. The enduring value of the venue is demonstrated by the quality living histories that are still conducted there.

3. The timing works for many people, since many, if not most, have time off around the 4th of July.

4. In terms of getting an audience to educate, this is one of the best venues in America to do that.

I guess I could list a lot of problems, including those that have kept me away form the G-burg reenactment for several years, but that would be too easy and others I am sure can help with that end of the discussion.

Regular3
07-12-2006, 12:05 PM
Want a better Gettysburg? MAKE IT YOURELF!


Time to forget about that mess and go to a real event, put on by real historians- based on history. Kick the moneychangers out of the temple.

I agree, but ... Would 'twere that simple. For some time now, one group or another has been doing "better" Gettysburg events - Living history on the battlefield. But those efforts are overshadowed by the carnival-like festivities hosted by the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee.

Unless and until control of the event is removed from GAC (AKA The Moneychangers), nothing any of us could do or say or suggest in the way of improvement is going to make one iota of difference. Heck, I figure the only reason this year's event bombed is because they moved it at the last minute, not because so many people voted to skip it ... And that would be the only way I could see that history-minded reenactors could get control of it: If the GAC announced it and nobody registered. Anyone care to make odds on that ever happening?

Having exhausted that facet of the topic for the moment, I'd be interested to hear opinions on when Gburg started to slide into its current lamentable/laughable state - My memory isn't what it was when I was under 50, but I do seem to recall that the 135th anniversary reenactment wasn't all that bad, while the 140th (the last one I attended) was pretty much a joke ... Where did it start going wrong?

Wild Rover
07-12-2006, 12:30 PM
Folks have alluded to it. Time for a historical Gettysburg in 08.

I am working towards that.

There it is.

First let's make the 145th 1862 Event year a great success, and take lessons learned from that and many others and make a 3-4 thousand man Gettysburg that is Gettysburg.

Maybe, just maybe the time has come for folks to come in out of the cold and warm their feet by the fire with others of like intent.

Pards,

RJSamp
07-12-2006, 01:01 PM
Having exhausted that facet of the topic for the moment, I'd be interested to hear opinions on when Gburg started to slide into its current lamentable/laughable state - My memory isn't what it was when I was under 50, but I do seem to recall that the 135th anniversary reenactment wasn't all that bad, while the 140th (the last one I attended) was pretty much a joke ... Where did it start going wrong?

The G135 event wasn't sponsored by the same group that runs the annual Gevent. In 1998, BOTH groups were sponsoring an event (yes, they conflicted with each other) and the annual event group threw in the towel a very short time before the big (23,500 unofficial reenators, 15,000 official reenactors) G135 event that you remember. At the time, the annual event boys were actually running TWO Gevents per year......and they simply made their money in 1998 with a 2nd event later on in the year.

G135 was huge, and that was the neat part about it.... when you have x,000 rifles going off and 400 rifle regiments you can get a sense of what it 'was' like. Hard to do this with a 50 rifle Living History. Most of us just cried with the amount of trash left behind, the silver milk truck for water delivery in the middle of the cavalry camp, the wait for a porta john in the morning, the tractor pulled people movers (portable jails), the shot in the neck cavalryman, the stolen pistols, etc.......

the good news were things like the 'full scale' Pickett's charge (well the numbers were to scale, but not the width of the assault/target), some fun battles, the cavalry battles prior to the actual event, seeing old friends and making new ones. Many people recall a trumpeter absolutely screaming out the Star Spangled Banner on Saturday Evening (it halted EVERYTHING going on)....Frosty Lawson was simply stupendous.

After the success of A135...G135 was simply too much of a circus for the vast majority of us.....and the annual Gevent organizers went back to their carnival events.... when you throw in the Primedia Big Event era and W140, M140, C140, et al they went hand in hand with the annual Gevents..... and that's where the slide began..... the guys that have been doing this forever will tell you that the 125 or 130 events were better...and Shiloh 135 had all of the earmarkings of an excellent big event until the heavens burst forth with a mighty deluge....

But the moneychangers and emphasis on profit instead of history began KOing the Gevents.....

Can't wait for Chris' G145 shindig!

flattop32355
07-12-2006, 03:24 PM
There's two ways to do it:

1) Take the existing event and radically alter it, pretty much from the ground up. That would require either a new group taking over the event, or a mind-boggling change of concept from the existing folk.

Something tells me that the above is not really doable.

2) Start from scratch and the experiences of other folk who have successfully put on events elsewhere and do a separate G'burg event, either at the same or a different time than the existing one. Build it from the ground up in the manner "we" all say we want it to be done. Make it "authentic" enough to entice the more moderate CPH'ers and to let the less desireable groups know that they'd have to up their standards significantly to attend, but moderate enough to reach beyond the hardcore-only crowd into the (for lack of a better term) progressive mainstream backbone of the hobby.
Let it be known that there will be movement (marching) both to, from and on the field of battle; that you need to know more than company level drill; what the absolute minimum standards are for kit and camp.

If the above are done (and they've been done before, by various groups and individuals), you'll have a very successful event. You can have spectators or not. My guess is that you'd have to beat them off with a large boom-stick if word got out about a good G'burg event. Pay the expenses and send to "profit" to CWPT.

bob 125th nysvi
07-12-2006, 07:50 PM
For starters lots of people must like it because LOTS of people are still attending it.

Now numbers were down this year surprise surprise. They moved the weekend because of weather and have you seen gas prices lately. People who work for a living can't change their vacation plans at a moments notice.

That doesn't mean it is dying, believe me the event will be around a lot longer than any of us and someone at the far distant date will be pronouncing that the event is dying and this is how they'd fix it.

Someone suggested using more farmland. As a farmer, can I point out for you cityslickers that in the middle of summer farmland has CASH CROPS growing on. Crops the farmer needs to survive. And I know you guys who mow your lawns every week think that grass grows too fast but grazing grass doesn't grow fast enough particularly after you go into the dry part of summer. And several thousand men walking on it doesn't help.

Maybe the solution to 'fixing' (a very subjective concept) the event is for you guys who don't like it to call the organizers and VOLUNTEER your time and expertise on all their committes. Believe me no organization is going to turn downed added help especially for free.

You can then present ideas to the various committees, explain what you are going to do to make it work and then prove it. Hit up your fellow 'fixers' for their assistance and funds.

Maybe the solution is to start small and improve the way your unit approaches the event. Do what you can to improve the way you reenact the event.

The war was won by doers (Grant/Lincoln) not talkers (Mac/Bragg).

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

bill watson
07-12-2006, 08:58 PM
"Maybe the solution to 'fixing' (a very subjective concept) the event is for you guys who don't like it to call the organizers and VOLUNTEER your time and expertise on all their committes. Believe me no organization is going to turn downed added help especially for free."

I hate to be the guy with the pin who goes around popping bubbles, but really: Guys, it's been tried, more than once, and so has a cleanup of the disgraceful annual reenactment on the Cedar Creek battlefield. In neither case is any progress possible, because the event organizers are addicted not to history, but to money. In neither case will they consider anything that would keep someone from sending in a registration fee, including enforcing the rules that already exist, really enforcing the ban on alcohol supposed to be in place at both venues, and barring access to groups very well known for reenacting the fantasy Civil War no matter what the historic scenario calls for. The success of the venture is measured by the dollars left behind, and by nothing connected to the experience itself. The reenactments in both cases are a means of raising money, not something done for their own intrinsic value. Can't crack that, because there's a market for it both among the reenacting community and the paying public. Since there's no use crying over it, quite a few folks have instead cultivated different fields in other areas and are doing their best to make those fields showcases. Since those events are also economically successful, the point may eventually get across, but I doubt it.

frankstevanus
07-12-2006, 09:31 PM
Sadly, I could not have said it any better myself, Bill!
Plato once wisely noted "Change occurs only where change is allowed". 'Nuff said!

I hate to be the guy with the pin who goes around popping bubbles, but really: Guys, it's been tried, more than once, and so has a cleanup of the disgraceful annual reenactment on the Cedar Creek battlefield. In neither case is any progress possible, because the event organizers are addicted not to history, but to money. In neither case will they consider anything that would keep someone from sending in a registration fee, including enforcing the rules that already exist, really enforcing the ban on alcohol supposed to be in place at both venues, and barring access to groups very well known for reenacting the fantasy Civil War no matter what the historic scenario calls for. The success of the venture is measured by the dollars left behind, and by nothing connected to the experience itself. The reenactments in both cases are a means of raising money, not something done for their own intrinsic value. Can't crack that, because there's a market for it both among the reenacting community and the paying public. Since there's no use crying over it, quite a few folks have instead cultivated different fields in other areas and are doing their best to make those fields showcases. Since those events are also economically successful, the point may eventually get across, but I doubt it.[/QUOTE]

Trimmings
07-13-2006, 08:10 AM
Pickup truck? I feel your pain. First it was smokes, now it's gas. A man can't even have a vice these days.

The cigarette sign priced a carton of smokes at about what I remember it took to buy a weeks worth of groceries for a family not that long ago. The premium brands are higher still. Glad I quit. A man can hardly afford both gas and cigarettes these days and still buy a cold six pack now and then.

I apologize for getting all riled up. After reading some of the other venom spewed in recent days, I probably shouldn't have contributed to it in the manner that I did.

Ray Prosten

Greg Deese
07-13-2006, 10:32 AM
If you want ideas, you could drive down to Rich Mountain, West Virginia this weekend and take a legal pad for notes, then you could apply the same formula to Gettysburg. If you had followed the advice and experience of the c/p/h movement years ago, you wouldn't have the painful dilema of trying to conduct a G-burg event without attracting every Coonbone Commando or Jane Reb to the inevitable circus.

Gettysburg should be the most authentic battle reenactment out there, becasue as it was stated, everyone knows this battle and what happened. Instead of being the best event, where authenticity goes up a notch, becasue that's the most visible of all battles, it actually went down with maximum exposure. Is there a lack of documentation on Gettysburg? No. So there is no rational excuse for the lackluster scenarios or 2000 dismounted cavalry blazing away with Henry carbines at each other like it was the Civil War Matrix IV. How many rounds do you fire that weekend?

Maybe the event needs more specialty impressions?


Greg Deese

Rob Weaver
07-15-2006, 07:36 PM
I believe the one single item about the annual event that should be changed is the registration cost and the spectator admission cost. $15 a head is a steep registration for reenactors, and then straw and ice additional. OK - it's still a cheap weekend camping, even at a tent site. However - I dislike the price spectators have to pay, and have for a number of years. We don't put on a show that people should have to drop that much money, not including parking, to go and see. I'm sure the event costs money, and I'm sure that the paid staff like to see a profit at the end, but I feel the public isn't getting their money's worth anymore.
Secondly, and I mean this as no slam at all, the c/p/h crowd needs to return to the fold in some sense. The divisions between individuals and units have deepened to an unnecessary point. The relative success of So62 last year should indicate that streamers and c/p/h folks can get together for a couple days. Why can't we get together around Gettysburg?

Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

RJSamp
07-15-2006, 08:39 PM
The annual gburg reenactment is too much of a circus for the c/p/h crowd.....it's too much of a circus for the /m/a crowd....it's a true farb fest.

We had a strong contingent from the Raggedy A__ 2nd at A135, G135, and A140. We did the Iron Brigade proud. We would have had a big crowd at G140 except for the rain delay until August.

Take it from this Badger, the annual event isn't worth saving. don't confuse the annual event with the 5 year milestones..... hope to see you at McDowell next year.