Middle-earth Weekend in Birmingham, England, known for attracting up to 10,000 Tolkien fans around the world, may not be held this year. Fans of the event were disappointed this week to find that Middle-earth Weekend’s current chairman and vice chairman Vivienne Wilkes and Steve Prior have stepped down.
The two-day event brings in fans dressed as Tolkien characters, craftsmen, and performers. Charlotte Howen, a fan of the event said on her Facebook, “You would think the local council might help as it brings tourists in from far away. Events like this help boost local economy.”
In the past, the Birmingham Museums Trust have hosted the event on behalf of the Birmingham City Council. Their PR manager Caroline Durbin said that while there had been no formal approach, the Trust would continue to support the weekend.
According to chairman Vivienne Wilkes, there has been interest and enthusiasm in the event but no one has come forward to take over the organization. “The Tolkien Society had a serious look at taking it on, but have now decided they would not be able to manage this,” she said. She also went on to say that the organizing committee would meet for one last time to discuss various options to keep the event or host something smaller.
Despite the continued discussion as to the future of the event, Wilkes stated that as far as she was aware, there would be no Middle-earth Weekend this year.
The event has been held at Sarehole Mill, Hall Green, in the past, an area that features places credited with lending inspiration for locations in Tolkien’s Middle-earth including Hobbitton and The Shire.
A fan of the event Teresa Hayes said that she is “very sorry to see this event go. It will be missed.”
Middle-earth Weekend features craft stalls, battle re-enactments, as well as medieval-themed workshops, and of course, cosplay. What will become of this beloved event? We will simply have to wait and see if anyone steps up to manage the event for future years.