Greetings and Good Evening, Mons Tonitrus!
As promised, below you may read the words of Baron Brendan and Baroness Tigra of Tir Ysgithr regarding the future of Southern Crusades.
-Juliana la Caminante de Navarra
Seneschal, Barony of Mons Tonitrus
Unto the members of the populace of the Barony of Tir Ysgithr and Barony March of Mons Tonitrus,
Our two groups have been friends through the years and have steadfastly been each other’s staunchest supporters. We have always helped each other and worked together. We recall seeing and being a part of the camaraderie our two groups shared even before the inception and first investiture of the Barony March of Mons Tonitrus. After the first few Under Siege War events held at the Sonoita Fairgrounds, Mons was invited to become a participant in the running of the event which was named Southern Crusades.
The Baronies have since shared the Southern Crusades event for many years. It was meant to develop bonds and to be a mechanism for group members to learn and do service on a larger than Baronial scale. Over time it had seen ups and downs, site moves, changes in support staff and of course a number of Barons and Baronesses. What it had become, unfortunately, had been as often as not contentious and divisive and had lost its original scope.
As we all know, last year in 2017 the event was at the Schnepf Farms site in Queen Creek, as no suitable sites were to be found in the southern part of the Kingdom. It was held at that location or there would have been no event. We truly wanted to have the war continue, to prosper and to be inclusive of everyone. There were many hurdles that had to be overcome and a great deal of effort was put forth by members of both groups to make the 2017 event happen. Fortunately those efforts paid off in the best attendance the event had seen in over 5 years. It was a hard won victory however and there was considerable conflict and problems behind the scenes. These issues thankfully were not evident to most of the event attendees and the majority of folks came away from the event with wonderful memories.
Regarding the future of Southern Crusades; at the Tir Ysgithr calendar meeting there was extensive discussion about the event. The vast percentage of those in attendance were disinclined to continue the event in this present format. With this revelation in hand, a meeting was called with the Heads of Households of the Barony soon afterward. The Heads were asked to discuss this topic with their members and to reply to us with the opinions they gathered.
Around the time we were receiving responses, the Seneschal of Tir Ysgithr was sent a letter from the Seneschal of Mons Tonitrus stating “We agree that Southern has become somewhat stale and it’s time for something new”. It also stated how Mons Tonitrus would like to do the event one last time in 2018. While Tir Ysgithr understands the desire to try to have a “last hurrah”, there is still the overwhelming issue of no suitable site within the area as designated by the Southern Crusades Financial Policy and the fact that many of the people of Tir Ysgithr who are depended upon to run events have essentially said they do not wish support another Southern Crusades.
Our groups seem to be facing a philosophical divergence regarding a joint event. Some wished for it to be “just the two groups focusing upon each other and the same things we’ve always done.” This would be fine if the vent was scaled down to a smaller event which doesn’t require so many people to run it and the expenses would have to be decreased in order to make the event not lose money. Tir Ysgithr wishes the event size to remain at 650 or higher. What is needed for the survival of an event that is the size of a SCA war requires a large site, greater interest and “buy in” from the broader SCA organization. Without a common philosophy, we were setting the entire venture up for eventual failure. Alas, it seems that this is what it has come to.
Examining all of the options available and taking into consideration the greater opinion of our populace, we, the Baron and Baroness of Tir Ysgithr, must make the hard decision to discontinue Southern Crusades. We know that not everyone will be pleased with this direction but ultimately it has been the observation by many that this event has become more divisive than inclusive. We do not take this difficult path lightly and we most certainly do not in doing so wish to lessen the investments and hard work of everyone who had put forth their considerable contributions to the event in the past.
Please know that we value and cherish all members within our respective Baronies and it is a difficult decision we make but we hope that this is in the best interest of everyone involved. We hope to begin to heal the issues that have developed between our two groups since we share such a long history of friendship and mutual support.
In Service We Remain,
Baron Sir Brendan Baroness Tigra