As much as I love to attend the local Renaissance festival every year, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d stumble upon this book sooner or later. Well Met is a book that digs into the heart and the history of how the American Renaissance faires shaped the counterculture of the 1960s and how the faire scene has continued to evolve into the what patrons experience today. From communal experience to commercialization, this book covers it all, arguing for the faire’s cultural significance at every turn.
The author has really done her research. I’ve been chipping away at this for a while now, and it seems like every stone has been turned in this particular quest. The result is pretty convincing, so much so that it’ll be impossible to go to Scarborough or to look at the popular culture of the ’60s and ’70s without all that I’ve learned from this book dancing around in my mind somewhere. It is, unfortunately, a bit of a dry read, which also seems quite impossible given the subject matter. That’s part of what took me so long to finish it… that, and constantly being distracted by life and shiny objects. At any rate, I still enjoyed what I got out of it, and it continues to make me think, so I’m calling this a win.