To take a call this morning about Cardigan River & Food Festival was not the best start for me, as we hit the printers on Friday with our Sept/Oct issue; we’ve a busy week ahead. The gentleman caller was complaining that he had to pay £1.00 each for him, his wife and his two 17 year-old grand-daughters and he wasn’t happy. His view was that he was going there to shop, instead of going to his local farm shop, but as his farm shop, or any other shop for that matter didn’t charge him to enter, He hadn’t had this issue at Lampeter! He would much prefer spending the £4.00 entrance fee on varieties of chutney, beer, cider or cheese that he’d not tried before, which meant he spent less with the traders.
It’s quite a few years since I visited this festival, even though it’s quite local to me, so I was unaware they now charged, or if the charge was worth it. I did suggest that maybe it was because of the entertainment or demos, but that didn’t help because Lampeter also had activities going on all day!
I then tried to help by explaining that as far as I’m aware, food festivals supported by Welsh Assembly Government, WAG Food, are run as individual events and can spend their funding as they wish. If events wish to charge an entrance fee, that’s their decision. Cardigan didn’t used to charge, but maybe this is one way they think will help them balance their books. I suggested he rang or wrote to the event putting his point across, but I’m not sure whether that will happen.
However it’s not also Cardigan festival that had upset him – it was Welsh Country magazine too! Apparently I should have written about the Cardigan festival in our J/August issue, if I’d done that then he’d have known about the entrance charge and not gone at all………………..
I explained that when food festivals support us with advertising, I’m delighted to write about them in that issue and will also put all their press releases on our website. But as Cardigan and Lampeter didn’t have any money to advertise with us, they didn’t get editorial coverage, why should they? For despite our strong local food passion, we’re not a charity. But that answer didn’t quite hit the spot either, as he said that last year I trailed all the up-and-coming WAG Food Festivals in various issues and he said we should still do that.
I told him that in 2008 & 2099, WAG Food placed two pages of food advertorial in each issue and as our policy is to work with those that are working with us, I decided to not only feature all WAG Food press releases on our website, but as he correctly pointed out, trailed all WAG food festivals. But this year, budget cuts at WAG Food mean that they are not with us each issue so that arrangement has not continued. It’s very disappointing that we couldn’t continue running as we were, but that was WAG’s decision.
I’m not sure that despite all my explanations, my caller agreed with me – and as for me I can only hope the week gets better…………………….