The annual competition for citizens of Exeter to elect their next Bard took place on Sunday 28th April at Exeter Phoenix.
Wordsmiths of all kinds competed by delivering a performance of their own work and presenting their vision for the Bardship. Tim King, Peter Roe, Adam Skerrett, Richard Green, James Turner all presented enthralling offerings and the evening concluded with inspirational poet Melanie Crump being appointed as the new Bard.
In her Manifesto, Melanie pointed to the underrepresentation of women in spoken word and over the next year she aims to support female artists, as well as putting energy into the existing poetry scene and running educational workshops.
Exeter is one of only a small group of cities with the right to appoint a bard, in a tradition that dates back 200 years. The role is kept for one year and a day and the Bard is said to represent the land and the people of the territory.
To conclude the evening, outgoing Bard Kimwei McCarthy was also awarded the role of Grand Bard by outgoing Grand Bard Jackie Juno. This role is 7 years and Jackie has notably organised the record breaking Grand Witches Tea Party at Rougemont each year under the role. The coming year will tell what Kimwei will do as Grand Bard.
Yes, that time of year is here! It’s time for me to pass the Bardship on to a fresh new Bard, who will take the role for a full year. This year’s competition is already gaining much interests, with Grand Bard Jackie Juno and I having had to make the decision to limit it to 10 contestants and accept applications only until April 14th at noon. The lucky 10 will be announced later that evening. This gives the prospective Bards 2 full weeks to prepare and to gather their audience – after all, it’s the people of Exeter who will vote on the night and decide who will be the new Bard!
Come along to Exeter Story Club, 1st Wednesday of every month at The Cowick Barton in and enjoy an evening’s storytelling wonderment. I’ll be hosting for the next 3 months, whilst Widsith & Deor go on their adventures.
Word Cafe – Friday Sept 27th: I will be appearing at Julie Mullen’s Word Cafe in Dartington.
Exeter Poetry Festival – Oct 2nd-7th. This year’s festival will include performances from your Bard at Alex Cluness’ memorial on Thursday 4th (National Poetry Day), opening for Matt Harvey on Friday 5th and performing at and judging the Slam on Sunday 7th. Watch this space for more details. I will also be appearing on BBC Radio Devon around the festival time.
Exeter’s First Haiku Slam – Friday Nov 16th: Robert Casey pioneers the Haiku Slam at Exeter Phoenix. I will be a guest performer and also feature on the judging panel.
After several visits to the Bardic seat at Rougemont Gardens and many revelations I realised that the my next act as Bard will be to bring healing magic to the city, by joining in with Michelle Elliott’s (Selkie Shell’s) Cauldron of Changes movement. I met with Shell and experiences the power of her weekly rituals first hand and was inspired to carry this on in Exeter.
To do this, I’ll be leading weekly get-togethers at Rougemont, sending out healing magic through Exeter and beyond. The meetings are every Saturday at 7pm (and when it comes around, on each full moon).
Want to know what’s on in poetry, spoken word, storytelling and singer-songwriterness in Exeter?!? Join https://www.facebook.com/groups/bardofexeter/ to post your events and find out what’s hip!!! Let’s make this massive! Everyone JOIN NOW!
It’s time for a listing of all poetry, storytelling and songwriting events in Exeter, so let’s build one! Facebook is the ideal platform, so click-thru and join the new facebook group “Bard of Exeter – What’s On”
Coming next: The launch of a new bardic listing “what’s on” in the in the next few days.
Other progress: Contact has been made with Apples & Snakes, Taking The Mic, Uncut Poets, Story Club, Exeter Poetry Festival, Exeter College, Street Arts Festival and more, so stay tuned for upcoming developments.