The 15th Fantasy Faire in Second Life brings forth many things for lovers of fantasy and residents of Second Life to enjoy – entertainments, shopping, role-play, auctions, literary and film festivals – and, of course a celebration of the arts in Second Life. From 2D art through to live music performances, dance productions and theatrical presentations. As I’ve already previewed the event as a whole, together with the Literary and Film Festivals, for this article, I’ll be looking at the Arts regions within the Faire.
For 2023, the arts at Fantasy faire are located on two Full regions directly accessible from the party / DJ events region of Sipla, whilst also offering an gateway into (and under) the shopping region Isle of Aquarius. Together, the three regions – Sambeaubee, Giraphoria and Sipla – form an almost contiguous setting, with the landscaping a joint design by Gidgette Adagio (Sipla, Sambeaubee) and Lilia Artis and Haveit Neox (Sambeaubee, Giraphoria).
All three regions have their own dedicated landing points, per the links in this article; however, I would recommend that when touring them, you consider starting at Sipla and then progressing onwards through Sambeaubee to Giraphoria.
Sipla sits as a ancient and magical garden; a place where tress stand guard around and upon rugged hills, aged steps offer paths up and down slopes to climb hillocks where aged arches and stone pavilions stand, and paved terraces sit within encroaching moss and grass. This is a place where aquamarine pools feed the lush ferns, grasses, plants and trees; pools themselves fed by waters which flow down in crystal curtains from islands floating in the sky, defying the demands of gravity.
A haven of piece, Sipla is also the home of the Faire’s DJ parties and entertainment (so the media stream can be raucous!), with the nucleus of these events – the legendary Fairechylde – lying before the rocky curtain and hills at the region’s western extreme, the landing point for the region sitting just below her, the paths through the gardens flowing down from these highlands much as the waters fall from the islands above, pointing the way eastwards towards Sambeaubee.
For its part, Sambeaubee forms a coastal causeway, arcing around a shallow bay to the south and open waters to the north. The land along this broad causeway in more open and less rugged than is the case with Sipla, but the architecture of stone towers, tall arches and glass-topped pavilions continues, marking the way east.
Giraffes roam the grasslands here and feed from the tall trees, while the land is in part split in two by a long, tall curving wall interspersed with arches and paths leading down to the bay. This wall stands as a celebration of past Fantasy Faire events and the Quests which have formed a part of many of them, whilst the bay beyond features a trio of small islands watched over by a pair of boats and the Cheshire Cat as he lies within the branches of a floating tree. I confess to being uncertain as to the function (if any) of these islands, with their Asian-inspired towers and buildings, but I did note they offer seating, as do the boats circling two of them).
At its western end, Sambeaubee is home to a large, open-air ballroom space, mirrored in neighbouring Giraphoria, which will be the location for the Masked Ball events at the Faire, with the region also hosting the Silent Auction (yet to open at the time of writing) and some of the Jail and Bail events. Overlooks a deep gorge cutting into the landscape, the ballroom offers one of two routes into Giraphoria, the primary home of arts and visual / live music performances at the Faire.
Here the land takes on something of a desert-like tone and a rugged, rocky look. Arms to the north and south are homes to, respectively, the second half of the ballroom and the arts display. Between them, they hold within their arms a further inlet, deep-cut and itself home to a large island. Reach via two bridges, this island in both the location of an impressive sculpture of giraffes raising themselves pyramid-like to the sky and surrounded by butterflies, and the access point to the seating area for liver performances which take place on a stage area which can be brought into being over the open waters, courtesy of a multi-scene rezzer.
Offered as a piece of art honouring the giraffes that wander both it and Sambeaubee and which continues the butterfly theme found within Sipla, Giraphoria may be for some the first hint that there is more to these regions that meets the eye. As well as being connected to the rest of the Fairelands by the two bridges leading down to it, the seat area for live performances also has a third ramp, one that dips down beneath the waters. It leads down to an underwater gallery overlooking a deep ravine the floor of which offers scattered glowing plants, whilst a narrow cleft offers a suggestion that there is more to be found in this underwater world – but how is it to be reached?
Well, one way is to simply walk through the balustrade of this raise balcony-alcove and drop down to the sea floor. Another – and my preferred route – is to return to Sipla, then find your way to the archway connecting the gardens there with the Isle of Aquarius. Whilst this tall arch leads down to path leading out over the water to the neighbouring region, a second tall arch sits at the water’s edge, looking out towards the walls of Isle of Aquarius – and this in fact a gateway to the underwater realms which extend out under the shops and precincts of Aquarius as they sit on the waters, and beck unto Sambeaubee and Giraphoria.
The path down to the sea floor is steep, but marked by further archways. Turn left as you reach it, and a path of lighter hue compared to the rest of the sea floor well lead you west towards a huge basalt formation and undersea sculpture. However, just before this formation, a second path branches away to the north and under a further stone arch. This is the entrance to the underwater walk.
Here, set within a deep ravine, area gardens rich a corals, anemone, sea grass and more, where fish swim and play, while drowned gardens, sculptures and temples await discovery. Following the very edge of Sambeaubee, this path and its gardens eventually bring visitors to the bowl beneath the waters of Giraphoria, where further tunnels are home to art both framed and painted onto the rock, as they lead to the Octopus’ cave and gardens.
Richly diverse, home to much that makes Fantasy Faire special, and visually engaging in their own right, the Arts regions of the Fairelands should not be missed.
All regions rated Moderate