Fiery finale to Jorvik Viking Festival

York Press: Warrior Ali Vikingr from Northumbria waits to do battle Warrior Ali Vikingr from Northumbria waits to do battle

DAN BEAN meets some ‘Vikings’ who travelled to York’s 28th festival celebrating its Norse heritage.

MORE than a thousand people turned out for a spectacular end to the 2013 Jorvik Viking Festival as hundreds of warriors marched through the ancient streets of York.

The 28th festival, organised with the York Archaeological Trust, ended with an enormous battle at the Eye of York as the sun went down on Saturday.

Events throughout the weekend included the Brawl At The Guildhall, in which warriors carried logs, wrestled and took part in a tug of war for the Viking Strongman trophy, and a parade of more than 400 Vikings from Dean’s Park to the Eye of York, with demonstrations by archers and falconers.

Re-enactors Jimmie Davidsson and Isabelle Falsen travelled from the border of Sweden and Norway to spend the week in York for the festival.

Jimmie said: “It’s been quite good this year, but as always the first end of the week was a bit quiet, so we strolled around all the excellent pubs and the Yorkshire Museum. You have a lovely city here, we love it more and more each time, there’s so much history around the corner.”

Isabelle said: “It’s been better than last year, definitely, but we would like to see more Vikings and we would like more Viking ships, as it was ten years ago.”

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An audience of 1,300 people watched fireworks and fire archery at the Eye of York as the festival came to a close on Saturday with a fallen Viking warrior being heralded to Valhalla at Clifford’s Tower.

Danielle Daglan, festival organiser, said: “It was absolutely brilliant, really fantastic.

“We promised spectacle, and I think we delivered it. The feedback from the public was really positive.”

Comments (5)

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11:18am Mon 25 Feb 13

ouseswimmer says...

I never realised Vikings has chain mail outfits. Always thought this was a much later develpoment?
I never realised Vikings has chain mail outfits. Always thought this was a much later develpoment? ouseswimmer

3:49pm Mon 25 Feb 13

Firedrake says...

Chainmail was almost certainly invented by the Celts during the first Millennium BC. The Romans adopted/adapted it for their early legionaries (the more familiar "lorica segmenta" came later) and retained it for cavalry units right up to the end of the imperial period. Sub Roman cultures continued to use it, and eventually it was appropriated by groups operating from well outside the bounds of the old empire ... such as the Vikings. Even so, it was always expensive and only royalty or great chieftains could have afforded to have it "made to measure". Much of it, of course, may have been pillaged from the arsenals of southern Europe where Romano-Celtic culture lingered for far longer than most people realize. By AD 1000 it had become the standard armour of Western and Central Europe.
Chainmail was almost certainly invented by the Celts during the first Millennium BC. The Romans adopted/adapted it for their early legionaries (the more familiar "lorica segmenta" came later) and retained it for cavalry units right up to the end of the imperial period. Sub Roman cultures continued to use it, and eventually it was appropriated by groups operating from well outside the bounds of the old empire ... such as the Vikings. Even so, it was always expensive and only royalty or great chieftains could have afforded to have it "made to measure". Much of it, of course, may have been pillaged from the arsenals of southern Europe where Romano-Celtic culture lingered for far longer than most people realize. By AD 1000 it had become the standard armour of Western and Central Europe. Firedrake

7:29pm Mon 25 Feb 13

Buzz Light-year says...

Um... fireworks at Clifford's Tower?
Um... fireworks at Clifford's Tower? Buzz Light-year

10:37am Tue 26 Feb 13

elliehick says...

Fireworks looked amazing on Cliffords Tower. Now come on York City Council - i know u stopped them due to potential damage to the Tower yrs back but lets go retro and go back to a display there for this years November 5th??......
Fireworks looked amazing on Cliffords Tower. Now come on York City Council - i know u stopped them due to potential damage to the Tower yrs back but lets go retro and go back to a display there for this years November 5th??...... elliehick

11:15am Tue 26 Feb 13

Mark Brayshaw says...

elliehick wrote:
Fireworks looked amazing on Cliffords Tower. Now come on York City Council - i know u stopped them due to potential damage to the Tower yrs back but lets go retro and go back to a display there for this years November 5th??......
It was not potential damage to the Tower that stopped the firework displays at Cliffords Tower.

I worked on the last two Clifford's Tower firework displays in 1993 and 1994 and it was moved due to safety concerns.

Tens of thousands of people attended those free events. The audience was hemmed in 360 degrees around the base of the tower and as far as you could see in every direction - it was therefore inevitable that burning firework debris would rain down on the crowd.

In the early 90's we didn't live in a litigious society but we certainly do now! Safety requirements have moved on considerably and the safety zone would now be so far back that the majority would struggle to see the tower so there's no point in firing from there.

The Viking Festival event uses low level pyrotechnic effects rather than the big shells we used to use. The audience area is also quite limited for the Viking Festival (although I am not sure how they prevent people just walking up and watching the display).

Even if safety was not a concern, the council have not had the funds to put on a free display since 1996 (if we ignore the 'secret' firework display in 2005). Firework events such as Kaboom can only be funded through ticket sales and that's why it needs to be held in a contained park rather than an open location.

I loved the Cliffords Tower displays but I am really proud that many people have said that Kaboom's firework display at Rawcliffe Country Park last November was even better than the ones that used to to take place at Cliffords Tower.
[quote][p][bold]elliehick[/bold] wrote: Fireworks looked amazing on Cliffords Tower. Now come on York City Council - i know u stopped them due to potential damage to the Tower yrs back but lets go retro and go back to a display there for this years November 5th??......[/p][/quote]It was not potential damage to the Tower that stopped the firework displays at Cliffords Tower. I worked on the last two Clifford's Tower firework displays in 1993 and 1994 and it was moved due to safety concerns. Tens of thousands of people attended those free events. The audience was hemmed in 360 degrees around the base of the tower and as far as you could see in every direction - it was therefore inevitable that burning firework debris would rain down on the crowd. In the early 90's we didn't live in a litigious society but we certainly do now! Safety requirements have moved on considerably and the safety zone would now be so far back that the majority would struggle to see the tower so there's no point in firing from there. The Viking Festival event uses low level pyrotechnic effects rather than the big shells we used to use. The audience area is also quite limited for the Viking Festival (although I am not sure how they prevent people just walking up and watching the display). Even if safety was not a concern, the council have not had the funds to put on a free display since 1996 (if we ignore the 'secret' firework display in 2005). Firework events such as Kaboom can only be funded through ticket sales and that's why it needs to be held in a contained park rather than an open location. I loved the Cliffords Tower displays but I am really proud that many people have said that Kaboom's firework display at Rawcliffe Country Park last November was even better than the ones that used to to take place at Cliffords Tower. Mark Brayshaw

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