Is the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in need of a makeover? Or are people reading too much into things nowadays? At least one online commentator, someone who used to attend the festival and even worked at it, thinks that the annual medieval weekend celebration has lost its 'spirit & soul' after his son was taken through the online ringer recently.

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A post to the unofficial Minnesota Renaissance Festival page on social media outlined that a festival go-er was looking to attend another weekend. Still, they were lacking a place to stay. Instead of either not answering the online post, or making a helpful suggestion the person was "met with nastiness, hostility and trash talk from several people."

The post from the young man's father to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival page hit on a few things that seem to be a pattern this year, the overall spirit of the festival seems to have been lost or forgotten in the name of profit, rather than the fun that had been had in the past.

Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM

The post from the man online reads:

Congrats, MN Festies. 

I was an entertainer at MRF for many years. My 22-year-old son traveled out to Fest wearing some of my old costumes and had a great time. He met up with some old friends of mine out there who told him he should look into becoming part of the cast out there. He was really excited and started conferring with me about what kind of character and bit he could perform on the streets. 

In his zeal to get out there for one more weekend, he put up some posts on this and other MRF groups, asking if anyone had a place he could crash for the final weekend.

He was met with nastiness, hostility and trash talk from several people. He told me, ". . . I posted it to 3 fest pages I’m part of/used to be and had ppl telling me how sh*** I am for asking ppl to risk their jobs cause that’s not allowed. It got so bad I started getting personal messages about how I was so immature and as one person said - and I quote - “ur a dirty piece of dog sh**.” 

My son, looking to do something fun and new out at Fest, was met by this sort of assholery and dimwittedness, all for asking for a place to crash for a night - something we did for friends all the time when I was part of the cast - and if he needed a pass to stay on site, I know how to pull enough strings to have made him "legal." 

My son ended his message to me by asking, "What is wrong with people?"

I would ask the same thing. 

If he was breaking some rule in asking, someone should have let him know the rules rather than attack him in an open forum. He didn't know about needing a pass to stay with someone in the campground, as he had never been out there before.

So much for the kindness and comradery of being part of a "family" of players. 

I have often said that things have changed at Fest since my years spent out there; the spirit and soul has faded away. And it is never more obvious then when witless, mindless, self-aggrandizing idiots put their wares on display. 

My son has left those groups due to the caustic, unchequed nature of those small-minded people. Again, congrats.
I think this father had the right idea, someone should have explained what was needed to the young man, rather than call him out and rake him over the social media coals. Events like Ren Fest need younger patrons who are interested in events like it to keep it coming back.
This wasn't the first time that the overall feeling of the festival and those either in attendance or online have been called out. The page, which is used as a forum for questions and comradery regarding Minnesota's Renaissance Festival, has seen a few posts questioning the 'spirit' of the festival recently.
This year has been a tougher year for some to go to the festival as parking is limited and many people are being bussed in from park and rides, versus driving into the event. Some online commenters have stated that attendance has seemed down, but the weather has been a contributing factor to the weekend event.
So does the festival need a facelift or a simple injection of kindness? Time will tell the answer to that question, and it might be a yes to both.
Much like the signs that went up at a local Holiday station, remember kindness, even though it should be obvious.

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