Maybe the event has successfully lowered my expectations, but I didn't think it was so bad this year. And I didn't observe any egregious misbehavior from where I stood in the midst of the federal forces. It has, however, gotten smaller and older over time, with less participation from the younger set of more active reenactors. I think that, for the reenactor, Rob's approach is probably the best tact.
The organizers have a different challenge, though. They may not only have diluted the brand by holding the same thing in the same way every year, but they've doubled down by trying to have a second major annual event. Rather than increase interest and income, this could lead them down the sad road of New Market.
I go to Cedar Creek every year because my home unit holds an annual meeting there, and it's a beautiful location in good wool wearing weather. But increasingly that just doesn't feel like enough to make up for the tactical equivalent of Groundhog Day.
And there are great alternatives for those who want to vote with their feet. People seem to have enjoyed Perryville, Ridley Creek was just a couple of weeks before CC, and Unison was just last weekend. There's no reason to get too upset about Cedar Creek. It is what it is.
I heard they was planning on doing 150th Gettysburg at Cedar Creek. If you register before NOV 1st its only a $35 dollar fee. ?????
After 2nd manassas this past august ? Yes I attended, Im finished with cedar creek.
Originally Posted by CUPP
I heard they're doing the entire CW at Cedar Creek
On a side note we were told we were not welcome at the "battle" this year because our more strict authenticity standards rankled the CS Cav community so we attended a LH at Belle Grove with some quality living historians. If the Authentic community is actively banned from participating, in what direction do you think the CCBF is headed?
I would point out that "farb" and newbie are not synonymous. Second, I think the "young trooper" is actually female and from what I saw of the cav there she probably made little effort to hide it. If she did and was successful, kudos to her for bring one of the extremely rare few.
I agree with much of that but need to identify some alternate...
Originally Posted by CheeseBoxRaft
If you call yourself a "Farb" enough you will become one. It doesn't build 'humility' it only builds 'complancency'...
Instead of being the all the time shirker and ne'er-do-well, just try to be the best Volunteer you can. Be realistic in what you would know and what you wouldn't know. The Civil War lasted for four years because hundreds of thousands of civilians became professionals and had the moral and character strength to stick to their colors.
You can disdain officers and ncos, but don't expect them to care for you when you do. Once again, much over played, why not think about it as many soldiers did... that was the son of the local banker or mill owner... the man that would be running said bank or mill after the war and that you as a common soldier might very well have to come to for a job or a loan. You might not like him, but you wouldn't be openly hostile or disrespectful especially in ranks.
But then, I do agree most reenacting 'officers' are fully worthy of the score they get piled on them. I would add... if you wear stripes and straps for your regular unit, find opportunities to be a rear rank private at least once or twice a year to keep yourself grounded.
OH... and yes stop supporting See-Da-Freak until they respect the views of the reenactors who desire something more than a reprise of the last 40 mock battles there.
How, oh how, did you miss the tounge cheek?
If they want to have Cedar Creek year after year to pay the mortgage, fine. But the CCBF needs to change it up each year or risk loosing both participants and spectators in an ever declining annual spiral that leads straight to a similar fate as that of New Market.
Drop any pretense at reenacting Cedar Creek. Make it a generic CW combat demonstration with action highs and lows throughout both days and a variety of scenarios. Mini tacticals?
Make provision for progressives/hardcores, even if it means giving them a sepearte weekend of their own, or segregating the battlefield (they certainly have the room).
Run a phased event with action/combat highs and lows. Make it short battle demos/tatical ever two/three hours on the hour, in different locations, with time to rest, water, eat, visit sutlers, etc. during the lulls. The that would give spectators the chance to come and go a will and never have to worry about missing the big battle.
Now, having thrown out some ideas I know I'll be told why none of them will work. OK, so what's YOUR idea. Come up with something viable.
CCBF has the potenetial of having one of the best events on the east coast every year, maybe twice a year. Repeat the location, but change up the event. Leverage off the beautiful location and the great fall weather. Be pro-active in reacting to a worsening situation. Or go down the drain.
Seriously, I think you have some great ideas.
Originally Posted by CheeseBoxRaft
Disclaimer, I am a westerner. I seldom travel east for a event, unless it is of a higher caliber. So, I have not attended Cedar Creek. However the trends you describe are the same everywhere, and for the most cases for the same reasons.
1. Events themselves (except in the last few years) are run in the same manner has they have since the late 60s and 70s. People think that holding them every year is the way to do things. Well back in the day this may be so, because there were not that many events to go to, but now it is wrong thinking. Events should be held every 2 to 5 years apart. With events staggered. It is just a good business model to follow. Companies that put out a great product do this with a updated version about every 5 to 10 years, or generational. Keeps things fresh.
2. Events that are held every year or two, need to change the scenario or lose interest from both the reenactors and the public. Case in point. I know a great reenactment, that until recently has been sliding down. Not because the organizers are not doing good things, but because the scenario has not changed in more than 5 years. They always do the exact same moment in the original battle. (it is held on the real battlefield). Instead this year they attempted to do a different element of that battle. I hope this will continue, or after awhile everyone gets bored. That said, if it was held every 5 years, you could do the same thing, because there would be a fresh group of reenactors, and public.
3. The mindset of many organizers have not changed, and they do what was fine 20 years ago, but does not work so well today. Folks like Chris Anders and others are breaking that mold. They should be commended for changing things up. This is not about hard core, progressives, mainstream, ect. It is about survival of the hobby. No change results in complacency.
4. Reenactors can be a lazy lot at time. I can include myself in that lot at times. We need to look beyond the uniform and look deeply into the history of the man and woman of the 60s. One great way to do this, which makes you a better reenactor is learning more about civilian life and customs of that time. Afterall almost everyone was a civilian at one time or another. This will lead to better scenarios with civilian participation. Example in my neck of the woods, large battles were non existent, but small battles and desperate skirmishes were the norm. Almost no one even addresses this, yet with the smaller number of reenactors existing now, this would be a fine way to keep the hobby fresh, and the numbers accurate. Also as reenactors we should be working with some form of preservation as one of your key elements. If burning powder, and camping is all you do, then you are not being true to the hobby.
5. Some may not like this, but event organizers need to keep a clear set of standards, and ENFORCE THEM. So as reenactors we know what to expect. That includes safety. Everyone needs to be on the same page. It is the event organizers job to see this is done. While each unit officer/officers job is to keep his unit up to par for the event, ultimately there needs a set of folks at the organizational event to deal with conflicts.
Cedar Creek, seem to me just another typical event, that has out of touch organizers that only know how to do things one way. Until that changes, I agree with others, vote with your feet, and just send donations to the preservation. After all we should all be trying to help in some way with preservation.