Has Newport Found A Loophole To Get Festival Funding?

21 Jun

This year Newport are running a food festival for what I understand is the first time and are receiving financial support of £15,171k  from Wag. As Newport have asked for more than £10k, that means they’ve had to supply Wag with a business plan for the event, but with the Council’s financial department to hand, this is not proved a deterrent to Newport as it has to other festivals. Newport takes place on 28/29th October, partly clashing with Cowbridge, with Newport having the advantage of free entry on both days apart from having some ticketed activity.     

I’ve been onto Newport Food Festival website today, which is actually Newport City Council website.  Then I got rather confused as to whether this festival is a stand alone event or not. It appears to be running through the tail end of Newport Festival which is launched on 24th July. Our office has rung Newport Council and been told it’s part of the Newport Festival, but under Wag’s 2011 criteria, ‘food activity must be the core’. Well as we;ve been  told it’s part of the Newport Festival, how can food be the core activity?  Another interesting fact to throw into this mix is that the Newport Food Festival website url is owned by Miller Research. Regular readers will be aware that Miller Research from Abergavenny were asked by Wag to do an analysis of all the food festivals they funded last year……………..   

Regular readers will also know how angry I am that Smallholder was thrust into turmoil when Wag refused to fund them this year. Bearing in mind that the Smallholder was originally run by Wag themselves. No funding caused huge problems for everyone, plus gave no alternative but to have increased tradestand prices, just because Wag stuck to their criteria – well in this instance they did. The Royal Welsh and the Winter Fair will not have this problem as both these events are conveniently funded by Wag out of a different Wag budget!!

I have never had so many calls and emails about matters festival related as I have this year. Plus I have no idea at all why Wag needs to make life in the food sector more complicated that it is. When Wag have their usual Food Festival Organisers meeting in February, why couldn’t all these issues have been sorted out there and then? Why am I now in a situation where I’m being asked questions that I have no answers for? If I give people what should be the ‘easy’ solution of ringing Wag and talking to Jon Parker, who I think is still responsible for food festivals, for some reason that never appears to be a favourable option, I wonder why…………………………….

If you have any more news or insights into this situation, then please help me out and let me know. I just don’t understand how this can have happened.


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  1. Confused 2

    June 22, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Kath you are not the only one confused, not by a mile and you’ll not be the last. Wag’s inability to communicate is appalling. The basic for their job should be to talk and listen to us producers which is what lots of people on here have been saying for ages.
    WAG continue to bully and ignore you and your team. But in effect they should be embracing and being thankful for what you have done and continue to do for local food. Why they no longer support your magazine makes no sense, apart from pettiness, childishness and their usual bullying. You should be near the top of their list for support, but instead, not far from a million quid goes into a two year scheme for farm shops, box schemes and markets. What a total waste of money for such little effect.
    Some of us half joke about the idiots that work at Wag, but surely even idiots can work out that both of you working together is the best way forward for us all and our futures, why can’t they see that? I think they are just too big for their boots and not got the guts to say they were wrong, that takes a brave man……
    Maybe you wouldn’t need welshfoodbites if this situation could be improved. I have read you only set this up out of frustration with Wag and not getting their co-operation, but it’s proved such a help and a useful way of letting people say what they feel. It’s a great outlet for us and so useful, but again not needed if Wag were really on our side instead of feathering their own well-padded, comfortable nests.
    How we get them to do that is another puzzle. I’ve read about setting up a union for us and if that’s the only way to shake Wag up, then what other choice have we but to go that way?
    I’m going to ring you and see what the next step is and how I can help.

  2. food producer

    June 22, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Help…………………………..wag just say what’s going on
    have Newport been specially favoured like the royal welsh and winter fair
    it’s not fair that you have treated smallholder so badly. its a great opportunity for us producers and for visitors to see how good we are
    trust you lot to pull the plug when smallholder used to be run by you .

  3. Jammie

    June 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

    It’s hardly rocket science to allocate funding in a responsible manner but it’s the responsible manner that’s crucial.
    Wag and festival organisers need a basic lesson in that this is one of few ways that producers make their money i.e. this is their livelihood – how we pay our mortgages and bring up our families. I’ve read somewhere today that Kath’s suggesting having a food producer or two on committees – they don’t have to be there for every single meeting but their views are vital. Why it’s down to Kath to keep stating the obvious, is totally beyond belief. We have Civil Servants, who have yet to work out who they serve and yet it is a small and brilliant publication that has done more for the Welsh food scene in the time they’ve been going, than WDA and WAG have done in decades with all their money. This magazine and website should have a medal as the only media that will stand up to WAG and not be battered by WAG’s constant bullying. This is a silly question to ask but I will anyway, assume no-one from Welsh Country is on any ‘official’ Wag food panel or decision making group, no that’s impossible because otherwise our industry would have imporved and we wouldn’t have so many producers worrying themselves silly whether they should carry on