The Bard of Buckingham: applications open!

Do you want to be the Bard of Buckingham?

Complete the following form to apply: Bard of Buckingham 2019 and return it to events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk by the 2nd of October, or drop it in to the Buckingham Town Council Office.

1.      The Bardic Trial

The first Buckingham Bardic Trial will be held in the Cote, at the rear of the Woolpack pub, on Tuesday 1st October from 7pm to 9pm.  The event will include the election of Buckingham’s first Bard and Deputy Bard.

The evening will be hosted and chaired the Town Mayor, Councillor Mark Cole JP, supported by the Town Crier. Everyone in the room will be Bard of Buckingham logo, quill over the old Gaolable to cast one vote for the winner.  The recipient of the most votes will become the Bard of Buckingham, and the second placed person will become the Deputy Bard.

Each potential Bard will be asked to present one piece relevant to the theme of “Buckingham”, which should last a maximum of 5 minutes (less is fine!).  They may then present a second piece of their choosing.

Potential Bards are encouraged to register beforehand, although it will be possible to just turn up on the night.  It will be free to take part; however, a collection will be made on the night for the Mayor’s charities.

Performances will be recorded and may be shown on social media.

It is hoped to attract a wide range of entries.  Anyone can take part, providing they are over 18 and live within a day’s walk of the Old Gaol.

2.      The Bardic Council

A Bardic Council will be formed to support the individual holding the position of Bard, and to help to develop the role.  The Council will consist of local poets / storytellers and supporters, and will be largely formed from those present at the first event.

The first meeting of the Bardic Council will be on Tuesday 8th October in the Council Chamber from 18:00 to 19:00.

3.      What is a Bard?

The Bardic tradition has been spreading throughout England in recent years; Stony Stratford, Exeter and Cambridge have particularly successful Bards.  Bards differ from Poet Laureates in key ways: while both are generally geographically-based, the source of their words comes from a different place. While a Poet Laureate is usually employed by an official body to represent the views of those in power to the masses, a Bard is democratically elected by a combination of their peers and the public.

The Bard of Buckingham will gain their title (“be chaired”) after winning the first Buckingham Bardic Trial. They will hold their title for (at least) two years and a day, before passing it on to the next successful Bard.

A Bard needs to be motivated by a passion for creating through words, whether in song or poetry, or storytelling.  They should have a love for Buckingham, and live within one day’s walking distance of the Old Gaol.

The first Bard will be able to help model and develop the role.  They may help to mentor young bards, and to develop the Bardic community in Buckingham.

The Bard will be invited to write and present pieces at significant events in Buckingham each year.  Performance will be celebratory, or commemorate significant events.   The Bard’s role will be to present pieces in public; content should be suitable for an all age audience.

4.      Bardic Oath

The winner will read the following oath, from Stony Stratford, on becoming Bard:

“Words gather and now my bardic watch begins.  It shall not end for two years and a day.  I shall herald the town, raise for bardic causes, and keep it family friendly…

I shall wear no crown, and win no glory.  I shall live and not languish at my post. 

I am the word in the silence.  I am the mouth of the masses.  I am the voice that celebrates the Buckingham.  I pledge my words and honour to this Bardic Year, for this night and all the nights come.

5.      What support will be available?

A professional voiceover artist will be available to provide support with public speaking.

Once formed, the Bardic Council will provide support to the Bard and their Deputy through the year.