In the UK there is a LRP season. This is at least partially because in winter it’s a bit too cold to camp. When I started LRPing it pretty much ran from April/May to September. This year it doesn’t seem to exist.
Planning when to run an event is a bit of nightmare. You want a weekend that’s likely to be warm and dry enough that you don’t have to run everything in buildings (as long as you’ve got a site with buildings) and you don’t want to clash with anything else.
Finding sites is a nightmare. At Mandala we usually want something that’s less than £1200, has a kitchen and enough shelter for the people we have attending as well as somewhere to put the crew and is in the midlands. It loses points for every minute further from Coventry we have to drive. If we’re running with 50 players we’re hoping for 60-70 bunks.
There are several large fest systems in the UK running with up to 4 events over summer. Off the top of my head I can think of Fools and Heroes, Lorien Trust, Curious Pastimes, The Vale, and Profound Decisions have both Empire and Odyssey fitting events into the summer months. Unless we really knew our audience we wouldn’t want to clash with these or run the weekend before or after. Dark Hearts, which we ran in November 2013, was based on the Empire system. We were aiming to draw players from there.
When considering what the event clashes with, in addition to considering where your players come from, you also need to consider where your crew come from. We have some crew who’re utterly insane, and will follow a brief through the night, returning every few hours to let their wrangler know they’re alive and to eat/drink something. We try to ensure they’re available for the dates we want to run our events on (especially with Alone events).
Having established when we can run an event we begin the thoroughly miserable business of contacting scout sites, LRP sites, and Youth Hostels collecting prices and dates and locations, while trawling the internet for something a bit special. Drakelow tunnels is one fine that was outstanding for us. SlenderLRP and Red LRP seem to do this considerably better than us. They have found several really interesting locations and they use them brilliantly. They invest a huge amount of work in setting their event in the location of the site and making it utterly relevant. I really rate them for it.
We typically have an idea what we’re after. There’s a particular type of location we’ve been after for years and we may have found it. Typically we have to compromise massively somewhere. There are sites we contact that, even though we know they only have three LRP slots a year, we haven’t a hope of getting them as they’re booked up by a 40k club as soon as they become available. I’d also love to run something on Bardsey Island, but we’ve yet to find a whole team that are keen enough to make that work. (Any volunteers?) It does seem to suit 1930s Cthulhu style LRP and that’s not actually something on our list to run here at Mandala. Also it doesn’t have electricity and everything has to be ferried out by boat so we’ll be limited in what we can take for set dressing and effects kit.
Still, the season has finished. I need to make some new kit before next years season starts… which seems to be happening really quite soon… What happened to time for projects?