Last November 23 at the Biltmore, an escape to a world of medieval fantasy gathered kindred folk to celebrate Nerd Fest. This unique event was started in 2011 by Morgan Zentner of Aesir Promotions. It was inspired by a show her band played where there was multimedia, burlesque and other various things that centred around H. P. Lovecraft. “I thought that if there can be a variety show centred around that author, then why not medieval fantasy, which is what my band is all about,” she says. “Plus, I have a great love of Renaissance fairs, so I wanted to incorporate the atmosphere that you enjoy at the fair along with the variety show.”
Morgan describes Nerd Fest as a way for those who are into medieval fantasy to get together and enjoy a night of being a total geek – even if it’s just once a year. It’s a chance to bring the various elements of that scene in Vancouver (and in some cases beyond Vancouver) together to have a good time. Part of the fun is also meeting new people and it’s a great way for people to be introduced to local artisans and performers. Nerd Fest supports local artists, businesses and performers and Morgan feels that she definitely accomplishes that with this event. The turnout for the last two years has been very positive and she’s optimistic that Nerd Fest will continue to grow every year. She started this with the metal community in mind – due to the fact that her band Scythia is a folk metal band – but in just one year, it has expanded way beyond that, and Morgan definitely encourages anyone who enjoys this subject matter to come and join in the fun!
To make Nerd Fest come to life each year, contributors or sponsors help out in a myriad of ways, from donating funds, buying tables for vending, or donating goods for the various contests in the event lineup. The few staples in the Nerd Fest lineup are Precious Metal, their burlesque dancer and MC, as well as Mahafsoun, their belly dancer. Scythia, Morgan’s band, headlined two years in a row for obvious reasons, however, Morgan thinks she will be switching up the music and will try to import some great fantasy bands for next year, as well as having the Whiskeydicks play again. “I try to make sure the lineup for the night is as diverse as possible and I think this year was a great example of the diverse talent in this city.” she says.
In essence, the future plan is to keep the tradition alive and let Nerd Fest become an annual event that people look forward to. “I would love to eventually make it an all-ages event and possibly even do an outdoor version in the summer as well.” Morgan shares. “There isn’t enough of this type of event going on in Vancouver, especially the Renaissance fairs (which there is only one weekend of!) Hopefully, with the help of some larger funding, we will be able to make this thing continue to grow and maybe become a full weekend instead of just one night!”
Morgan wants everyone to remember Nerd Fest as a night of costumes, treasure hunting and entertainment that will leave an everlasting impression to everyone who joins. “It’s a great way to meet new people with the same interests, check out local artisans and see some acts you wouldn’t normally have had the chance to check out on a regular weekend night. It’s truly a night of Medieval Fantasy!”