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The Changing of the Bard

December 18th, 2010

Visitors to London are familiar with the ‘Changing of the Guard’ at Buckingham Palace, but not so many know about a far more important event that is occurring in Exeter soon: the Changing of the Bard. Here is a Press Release recently received:

Monday 20 December, Exeter Phoenix Bar, 8pm, Free Event

On Monday 20 December at Exeter Phoenix, Liv Torc, the current Bard of Exeter (or, the Bardic Chair of Caer Wyse- to use the full title) will be hosting the ultimate bardic competition to find her successor.

Based on records dating back at least two hundred years, Exeter is one of approximately 30 ancient locations that have the right to elect their own Bard or “Bardic Chair” each year. The Bard of Exeter by tradition holds the post for a year and a day, before inviting challengers to succeed her/him in turn.

This year seven creative competitors will compete for the chair, robes and position in a head to head competition taking place at Exeter Phoenix from 8pm.  Spectators are encouraged to come and support the challengers and get involved in the judging.

Liv Torc photo by Alice Carfrae (c)

As outgoing Bard Liv will be hosting Monday night’s competition and will be present to hand over the robes and chair to the winner.

During her year as Bard of Exeter Liv has done a great deal for poetry in the city, including performing in charity events, helping to run Exeter’s first ever poetry festival last October, of which she was the poet in residence; hosting a regular open mic night at the Phoenix, holding a series of poetry workshops for emerging poets and running a slam to find Exeter’s best local poet.

“The Bard of Exeter is what you make it and I made it all about poetry. Exeter has a lot of fantastic poets and I wanted to use my year as Bard to provide more opportunities for poets to perform and audiences to hear great work. It’s been a lot of fun and I am really proud of what I have achieved – but now it’s time for a new flavour and a new Bard for the city.”

Once elected, the new Bard of Exeter will be supported in their role by the Grand Bard Mark Lindsey Earley, who is the keeper of the tradition.