IronFest commenced in 2000 to celebrate the centenary of the production of steel in Lithgow, a small town just west of the Blue Mountains. Attending out of curiosity, I was dumbfounded by the passion and skill on display. The three-day programme was eclectic, fascinating and a photographer's delight.
Out on the grassed arena, a complete medieval tent village had been erected, swirling with denizens all dressed and ready to walk the talk. On the left was the St George's Day Jousting Tourney, on the right the Battle of Lithgow between the French and the English, and in the centre there was armed combat and archery competitions. Behind the scenes, smithies toiled to ensure that all combatants were armed and protected.
As the French general contemplates the fate awaiting his small band of gallant soldiers, the mighty English army masses across the river with their rows of musketeers and phalanx of artillery. As the battle progresses, soldiers from both camps crumple, until the gallant general withdraws under superior firepower.
The plaintive sounds of the medieval French bagpipe, the chabreta, pipes the vanquished from the field of battle, until the appointed time tomorrow, when they do it all again.