Welcome to the first in this series of posts about 1940s re-enactment. I get asked on a fairly regular basis about re-enactment events that I go to. It's something I really enjoy doing and in this series I will answer some of these questions. I will be providing information and tips on all aspects of 1940s re-enactment including clothing, photography and transport which will hopefully help everyone to have a great time.
I am not part of an official re-enactment group. I generally go either with my family or on my own, so I can't provide much information relating to being part of an organised group, but I will try to share the things I do already know, or answer any questions that arise.
So, onwards to the topic of this first post:
How to find out about re-enactment events in your area
This is probably the number one question I get asked about re-enactment. These are the ways in which I find out about re-enactment events to go to. This article is mostly UK-centric because that is where I live, but many of the methods can be applied to other countries as well.
1. Rod's 1940s Events Calendar
This is a UK-based website which is my first port of call when I'm looking for dates for events. Each listing on the calendar has a date, a location and some information about the event, so it's easy to find out which events you are able to visit. The calendar is not restricted to re-enactment events - it also includes swing dances, themed dinners, dance band performances etc.
2. Ask other re-enactors
I've found that by connecting with other re-enactors, it's possible to find out about events which aren't listed on Rod's 1940s, or which might otherwise pass you by.
I used to keep up with fellow re-enactors a fair bit by using the 1940s Social Network but they seem to be revamping their page at the moment, so you might need to keep an eye out and join up when it reopens. Currently I keep up with several people on Facebook who usually know dates for things, and I also keep my own Facebook page fairly up-to-date with dates and information about events, so feel free to 'like' my page if you'd be interested in finding dates that way.
3. Keep an eye on local heritage sites, museums and National Trust properties
Some of the museum events are listed on Rod's 1940s, but I have found out about a few events by driving past a museum and seeing a poster, for example. Check the websites of NT properties for events such as 'Kedleston at War' which takes place at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire. I also managed to find out about an event at a local castle from a work colleague (which I haven't visited yet but I might go this year) - so it's useful to check the sites in your area. Also try looking on the leaflet stand at your local library (also found at some pubs, universities, museums etc) for leaflets about events at these kinds of places.
Sometimes I get emails asking me if I know of any events in a particular area. Unfortunately, unless you are looking for events in the East Midlands area of the UK, I probably can't help you. There's only so far I can reasonably travel to get to events, and I can't possibly keep track of all the events country-wide (and definitely not all the events worldwide!). My advice would be to try the methods I've outlined above, and also to use the Google machine. Googling phrases such as '1940s events [name of area]' or '1940s re-enactment events [name of area]' might find you some results. These events are sometimes called 'Home Front' events so try that too. Also don't rule out multi-period events, as these often include 1940s re-enactment.