JORVIK Viking Festival turns the End into a New Beginning.
“According to Norse mythology, time and the universe is cyclical, so even though we celebrated the end of the world with our Ragnarok theme last year, the whole cycle of life starts again for this year’s Festival with the two survivors of the apocalypse – Lif and Lifthrasir. Our storyline will take them right back to the origins of Norse mythology to revisit the oldest legends – including the first ever battle of the Norse gods!” explains festival director, Danielle Daglan. “Our 2014 Festival brought more visitors to York than ever before, so we are working hard to create an engaging theme for 2015 that will bring them back to the city!”
This year’s festival opens on February 14 – Valentine’s Day – so the story of the two human survivors of Ragnorok will run throughout the event, picking up some more familiar characters from Norse mythology along the way. Exploring the romance of the characters, members of the public are invited to join their wedding celebrations on the evening of Saturday 14 February in a Viking banquet at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall. With Viking guests including errant bridesmaids, a rather opinionated mother-of-the-bride and her unruly husband, and an outspoken best man, it will be clear why axes, shields and helmets might be required alongside the traditional wedding fare!
Combat themed activities continue throughout the week, with a legendary combat arena within York’s Guildhall recreating some of the infamous battles between fire and ice giants, a retelling of the rise of Odin as the greatest god of all, and the annual search for Jorvik’s strongest Viking, this year guest-judged by the city’s contemporary Mr Universe and owner of Ebor Fitness, Stuart Garrington.
Other highlights will include:
- Literary events with talks and readings from authors including Jeremy Strong and Paul Atherton
- Folk Festival at Barley Hall, with artists including Ruth Keggin and Ray Cooper
- Poo Day! At Barley Hall (17 February), when younger visitors will explore how poo is one of the most exciting things for an archaeologist to find, including making their own replica historic poo
- Beowulf by Candlelight in St Helen’s Church – an atmospheric retelling of the classic myth by Peter Carrington-Porter – a sell-out which received rave reviews in the 2014 Festival.
The grand finale event of the 2015 JORVIK Viking Festival, taking place on Saturday 21st February, sees a return to the Eye of York for a sound-and-light spectacular packed with drama and excitement. Keeping the ‘Brave New World’ theme, the event will restore the mythical timeline to the origins of Norse legend, when the spirits are awakened and the worlds are created, culminating with the first ever battle that changed Norse culture forever!
Alongside the spectacular events featuring costumed re-enactors, experts in Viking archaeology from around the world will deliver a series of lectures and talks throughout the Festival, including Dr Soren Sindbaek and Dr Nanna Holm from Denmark with a fascinating insight into the discovery in September 2014 of a Viking age ring fortress from the reign of King Harald Bluetooth.
The full Festival programme is now available to view online at www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk, where you can also book tickets for paid-for events, talks and concerts.
You can also follow the latest news from the Festival, including exclusive insights into the lives of the Viking couple on twitter following #JORVIKVikingFest