IRONFEST...WILD WEST 2018
I used to use a line in bars of "Excuse me is anyone sitting here? I need to get the weight off my feet."
Smile of a pretty girl relieved I had not used a sleasy line..."Be my guest."...
knowing I was in.
I met my wife Denise with sign language inviting her to dance...did it twice before I was in.
Years pass and I'm at my second Ironfest at Lithgow in April 2018.
Denise is at the ballet so on my lonesome until I meet Charmayne from the Sydney Photographic Society at the gate...one of my buddies from last year...then David from Travelblog deejayvee
...cruising the traps like hunters seeking to capture the souls of exotica in our lens.
Pretty hard to hide my pick-up-line so I just went for it time and again. "Excuse me. I know you don't like to be photographed, but is it OK if I take a photo of you?"
Sometimes I got even bolder and said I really needed to.
"Great line" my buddies saying as I never got a knock back.
Always a smile..."Of course you can"
or "Please do"
or "That's what I'm here for"
...posing at my direction...their alter egos captured in my lens.
All dressed to the nines in Fantasy...Cosplay...Steampunk...Napoleonic, Roman, Samurai, 20th Century, American Civil War...Mad Max Apocalyptic...anything military...Vikings, Medieval knights in armour, peasants, wenches...young old and in-between...firing cannons, muskets and arrows...the wackier the better.
And I'm here 'cos they all want to be photographed.
Living the dream...but to many it's not a dream...it's real.
Ironfest...gotta love it...just say to be polite:
"Excuse me, I know you don't like to be photographed, but is it OK if I take a photo of you?"
The smiles of consent every time...letting me know I am in.
This year the theme is Wild West...the French and English from last year's Napoleonic Wars now in Unionist and Confederate uniforms for the American Civil War enactments...same faces...looks like the same cannons and muskets blasting smoke as last year too.
I arrive on the Friday night for setting up under a black sky...Genevieve the Lost and Jean the Horn Master from Queensland greeting me as the Traveller from last year...Roy the Viking Jeweller arriving from Canberra tomorrow...a group of about eight huddled behind their Viking tent drinking...no home made rum from a petrol can like last year...so I head off into the
night for further prey.
I'm invited into a Vietnam War encampment around a roaring fire...taking a photo of a guy making a stretcher bed in a tent..."It will be neater tomorrow"
, embarrassed as if I am his Staff Sergeant inspecting his boots for spit and polish.
The Ironlaw Viking encampment with a bit of sword and shield play just for me...drinking from giant bullock horns...plaited beards...fur hats...tattoos...young Viking children dancing in and out.
The Airship Sirius Steampunk Group around their own blazing fire...love in the air as two in their group to marry on October 6...smoke swirling as I snap the one in costume and feel the essence of Steampunk conjugal bliss.
Sykadia...a fantasy group inviting I return for their bloody fight scenes where they'll be dressed as characters they show from their iphones...images dancing in the flickering light.
Wandering Lithgow Showground for other delights...the glow from fires lighting teepees and tents...leaping into the night.
I stay in a cabin on an organic farm in Hartley Vale to Sunday night...fascinating hosts...magical drive down the eucalypt forested mountain...then up again to the Blue Fox in Lithgow for cocktails, confit duck and
roasted barramundi...listening to cassettes in the cabin of the Travelling Wilberrys and George Michael at night...trying to photograph the starry sky that I missed doing in Tajikistan 'cos t'was too cold at night.
Regrets...regrets...the throbbing Milky Way in Tajikistan reduced to gentle Oz night skies but with the comfort of the Southern Cross showing the way.
Wandering among the throngs at Ironfest on the Saturday and Sunday...chatting to artisans, artists, stallholders and every character imaginable. "Hey John Snow"
, I call as a Roman Praetorian Guard responds. "Last year you were a Roman Centurion and you said next time I see you, you'll be John Snow. I said to you "But he's in Game of Thrones and he has a beard," and you said "That's right. I'm starting to grow a beard tomorrow." "Yes", h
e smiles. "I was John Snow at Blacktown."
I smile the smile of someone who knows what he is talking about.
I'm feeling I'm one of them...maybe not in fantasy dress but my vibrant shirts are drawing comments...some remembering me as Dancing Dave...so hey...I'm also in character.
Been there...done that.
But I don't tell anyone as no
one need know.
That in a previous life I was from Rivendell.
I was the Elf Lord, Glorfindel...from Lord of the Rings
But that's when I was wild eyed, blonde and somewhat younger.
I wander the weekend grabbing subjects with my "models work it"
mantra...admiring their outfits...many sewn and created by themselves...marvelling at the stitching...the intricate accessories...the detail conveyed in every fibre...every metal thread.
There is a mood...a playfulness wafting the air...of humour...of fun...obsession...of delight.
Check out the photos...Ironfest Wild West 2018...t'was quite a sight.
Relax and Enjoy,
Dancing Dave Let the PANORAMA SLIDESHOW pics at the top of Page One take you there. Many more portraits on the following pages...Can you can find yourself there? Click on a photo to enlarge it. And for LAST YEAR CHECK THIS OUT
...STEAMPUNK...The Kingdom of Ironfest
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