Standing atop an old Iron Age fort in the south of Wales one day in the summer of 2011, Dombie Spens, had a vision that he was with the last of a group of survivors as a zombie hoard shuffled its way up the hill of the island ominously toward them. The vision stuck with him and continued to evolve.
“I had to make this dream a reality,” Spens said. “I first thought of writing a story, then I thought of making it into a film, then I thought of making it into a role playing game, then finally I worked out I could make it into a full event.”
That event has come to be known as the Zombie Survival Weekender, a zombie-themed survival training experience focused on team-building, skill sharing and fun.
“We aim to engage customers on a friendly, personal, level by both teaching participants and learning from them,” Spens said. “The main goal of ZSW is for every participant to go away having learned something useful, having had a fun, thrilling experience, to have met new people and built long lasting relationships. ZSW is a unique mix of survival training and fully-immersive, non-combat, live-action, horror-role-play.”
Spens explained that each weekender event is broken into four stages. First is the arrival and welcome along with a safety briefing and going over of the rules. The second stage consists of team challenges, and a review of survival kits and survival skills. In the third stage guests are treated to BBQ, a party, and nighttime live-action horror role play. The final stage concludes the event with games, debate, bragging, and planning for the apocalypse.
“The event is constantly evolving and developing to meet our customers needs,” Spens said, describing the events as a labor of love. “So far I have made no money on the events, but I have broken even in 2012. We have four events this year and are hoping to buy land and be able to run ZSW full time from 2014.”
The next event, ZSW VII: Pirates vs. Zombies, will be held on Sept. 7-8. Spens said tickets are currently £20 per person for the whole weekend, but the price will be going up next year. For full details check out the website: http://www.zombiesw.co.uk.
Those planning to attend can also use the website to see what is expected of them.
“All participants are required to do three pieces of homework; survival kit, skill share and costume,” Spens said. “The more effort people put in the more they get out of the events.”
People with questions about the events, the group or zombie survival can contact Spens at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the ZSW Facebook group which is used as a group forum, or follow the group on Twitter @zombiesw