Bridgend Feastival

03 Oct

Yes that’s what it was called, a feastival rather than a festival.

Made a late decision to attend on Friday afternoon and struggled to get list of stand holders from website but Ian rang Bridgend Council and spoke to a helpful guy called John who efficiently sent through a list so we could plan our Saturday at Bridgend. Bridgend are at the top of my very short ‘helpful council’  list alongside Caerphilly.    

It’s been a long time since I visited Bridgend and after leaving the M4,  travelled along A48, my eyes peeled for signs promoting the event. Well yet again I failed to find signs and it was just as well I knew it was taking place in the town centre, because at least I could find my way there. If you’re a regular reader of welshfoodbites you’ll be as fed-up as I am about my complaining about the same things: lack of signage, lack of press releases and often poor websites. This event received £9,950.00 from Wag and once again as a journalist, I haven’t received a single press release about this event. But why does this happen time and time again and after all that money was spent on a report by Miller Research? Maybe the question that needs an urgent and honest answer is why does Wag allow this situation to continue? If Wag’s answer, should they be bothered to address this matter, is that we are giving food festivals money and they can do whatever they wish with it – then that is simply not acceptable. Unless Wag you are considerate and honest enough to tell our producers that basically they take pot luck as to whether festival organisers can be bothered to promote and market their event. Perhaps Bridgend’s attitude is this food feastival is just to promote the town and we’re not interested in attracting visitors from outside Bridgend. Then that’s fair enough if they make producers aware of this attitude but my concern is why does Wag fund it to the tune of nearly £10k? Shouldn’t the council be prepared to pay for more of it themselves?

Not being familiar with Bridgend, I found it difficult to work out where everyone was. There was a stand at one end with literature so I picked up a leaflet but couldn’t take a map with me as it was pinned to the table. Luckily more maps must have arrived later as I did see people studying them. Local gardener and a BBC Radio 2 favourite, Terry Walton was in attendance, giving talks and advice about gardens and allotments. The layout formed a square in the town, so it was quite easy to follow and there were banners along those streets and on lamp posts. There was street entertainment and a cookery demo area with blackboard details of which chef was working and the dish they were cooking. So that was good to see.

The Farmers’ Market area was bustling and it was good to see many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, (BOW) there. Lovely to a Bridgend Farmers Market banner saying 10 years of trading 1999 -2009 hope they keep up the good work for another ten years! The event was blessed with beautiful weather and I’m sure Cowpots ice-cream did good trade with their super range along with some delicious cheese too!          

As often happens at festivals, there was now area with tables and chairs for visitors to seat down and eat their purchases. Far too many people had to resort to eating and walking in the street, or just leaning against a wall to eat. This is hardly satisfactory for the young, let alone the elderly, infirm or those with children.  I’m sorry but that’s really not good enough, it’s important that this is ignored far too often. The reason people are there is to buy produce and we should be encouraging them to eat it some produce there before buying more to take home. The cafes took advantage of this oversight but having lots of tables and chairs out but this doesn’t not help our producers sell more produce does it?  There was a large area outside Nat. West bank; I think that was Adare Street, which would have been perfect for a seating area and other spots which would have also worked.

Chatting to some of our BOW producers they were having a reasonable event, not brilliant, but not too bad – thank goodness the weather was on their side.  


I’m just disappointed that Wag allows the same old problems/issues to continue instead of pushing their funded events to improve. I have no idea whether any Wag person visited but I’d love to see their overview of this event – in fact all events that have been funded this year.


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  1. BB

    October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Kath and friends in Welsh food. May I point out to you that the Welsh Government is still providing suppot for food festivals at a time when every penny saved is being looked for. Indeed our friends in England,Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t get the level of support that is offered. Some of you and your contributors concerned are justified, however it would be helpfull if you could be a bit more positive.
    The writting is on the wall, back the team in Welsh food while you have it.

  2. admin

    October 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I am more than well aware of what is happening in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    But can that in any way whatsoever justify the amounts of money being given, and in many instances wasted, by some of WAG’s supported festivals? .
    If WAG can justify festivals ignoring PR and Marketing, along with such basics as signage, then there is something still seriously wrong with WAG and their food objectives. I’m seeing the same problems at food festivals that were there years ago.So why is that when we have got such a team at WAG food? The expensive Mliler Report doesn’t seem to have achieved much in my view but maybe you think that was a worthwhile excercise for £80k?
    Perhaps you’d also like to clarify what you’d like me to be positive about if you say my contributors and I are justified in some of our concerns? I’m not sure what you’re happy about and what you feel ‘we’ are not positive enough about.
    How many festivals you have visited this year? Where do you disagree with my feedback?
    I’ll be more than happy to back the team in Welsh food when they can achieve the simplest of issues, which is talk and relate to the the food producers they are paid to look after. Maybe then the team in Welsh food will back and support me……………………………….
    What a huge pity you cannot apprecaite the hard work we have done, not just for our Best Of Welsh & Borders food producers, but for WAG too in Welsh Country magazine. Would you prefer me to put many of welshfoodbites issues in print? Or can you apprecaite how useful welshfoodbites has been to producers and foodies alike? It’s amazing isn’t it that this non-funded site has rankings that far exceed WAG’s expensive sites ……………………………………………… Could WAG’s two food sites be one way to look at to save money?

  3. angry trader

    October 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    There is only one thing wrong with this site ———-people can put up their comments, sometime critical of kath and her team, but haven’t the bottle to say who they are—–what cowards!!!!
    This person actually sounds like she/ he works for wag because she/he certainly does not sound like a producer, who actually knows how poorly some of these festivals are run, no control over how much we are charged for stands and very little advertising, even in the towns themselves. We have to pay our money up front for stands and don’t even know where our stands will be put. Talk about working in the dark. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask, but wag don’t.
    I see kath at many events, but how many wag people do you see at an event? Hardly any, unless it’s the Royal Welsh and they all wander around and provide little help for us workers. Mind you. guess they all be preening away on mass at the True Taste feast.
    What is the point saying some things are right and somethings are not, if you don’t say what they are? That is such a waste of time.
    The writing has been on the wall for years about how wag waste and waste our money and grants from Europe and achieve very, very little. A prime example is fork2fork – £800k for a project that’s lasting two years – much better use could have been made of that money, but it’s just more wastage.
    Positive about wag food – this person must be on wag’s payroll or else they have little idea what is actually going on at festivals and markets.
    Now whilst I’m on about wating money – £80k to go around festivals but what has that huge sum of money achieved, anything? Maybe just a report for wag – just what we need, another report.
    I stongly object to your comment and back this team 100% – they are the ones helping us and doing wag’s job for them.
    Put your name to your comment please.

  4. cheeseman

    October 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with last comment – say who ur and don’t knock these guys who are the true people promoting Welsh food
    If anyone should have a medal its them.
    You say about writing on the wall, well that’s another point I agree with. There’s been writing on the wall for years but it seems wag can neither read it or bother to talk to producers and find out what we need.
    Kath, Ian and their team are the fighters for us food producers and I’m amazed at how much time and effort they put into visting markets and festivals. I enjoy this site and it’s one of the best things to have happened for Welsh food for a long time
    tell us who you are because I don’t believe you are a self-employed producers like me.

  5. honey mummy

    October 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

    no idea who this silly person is and I’d love to know, but maybe their salary is being paid from our pocket???????
    How I cheered reading the comment about ‘writing on the wall but WAG can’t read’ – well WAG can read, but they just will not talk to us.
    I cannot see the point of putting up a comment and not explaining yourself fully. What is wrong with these reports? Was this person at all these festivals?
    There are good and bad points in most of these reports and I think they are fair and frank.
    Is WAG paying Kath to visit these festivals? I don’t think so.
    Is WAG visiting all their funding festivals? Well if they are, why are they still allowing so many to get the basic things so wrong. Abergavenny was a classic example with so many unhappy traders.
    I strongly disagree with your comments and your views and I don’t see what right you have to challenge Kath when WAG is not paying her, because I’m sure you’re one of them. You are out of order – whoever you are.
    If there were people like Kath in WAG Food – our food industry would be in a much better state than it is right now.
    She’s our champion and I’ll not have you patting WAG on the back for doing a poor job for us.

  6. beer man

    October 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Kath you shouldn’t allow comments up from pratts like this
    of course we haven’t a clue who this person is but he’s not one of us – struggling to earn a living, being treated by many organisers as the lowest of the low and by-and-large being ignored by WAG whilst they come up with stupid schemes that cost a fortune and don’t grow our industry or help our lives to be a little easier. WAG waste money – always have done
    lay off Kath

  7. admin

    October 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Thanks to all of you that have rushed to my defence and the great things you have said – much appreciated, really
    I feel I should allow these comments, especially when you are so quick to defend me but I’d like whoever it is to tell us more
    I’m more than happy to be positive but only when events warrant it. I’m writing my views on how I see things and after I have spoken to our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers. I’m writing facts as I see it not fiction

  8. foodie lover

    October 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Surely wag have made a directive or issued one of their orders to tell festivals what they MUST do and what they are NOT allowed to spend government money on.
    I think that this event sounds to have been put on firstly for the town, when I like others feel it should be producers first as they are the only people having to pay to attend.
    I try to attend as many festivals as I can,not doing as many as last year as fule so pricey, but luv reading about those I miss.
    A few years ago Wag used to put a full list of all the festivals they were putting money into, in Welsh Country mag and I used to have this pinned up in my kitchen to remind me what’s coming up.
    No idea why they stopped doing that and large list of all farmers’ markets as well
    these were such a good idea and really useful – can these be brought back?
    But at least I can keep up with this newsy website.

  9. Trader

    October 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Everyone is harping on about people not giving their names, I haven’t NOR have any of those who think that BB should have given theirs!!!
    I know this is a Food Blog, BUt why on earth isn’t something positive discussed rather than slating WAG and Festival organisers

  10. admin

    October 10, 2011 at 8:56 am

    People can leave their names or not, it’s entlrely up to them.
    People can also discuss whatever they wish – the choices are theirs. The discussions are on problems that are worrying them
    Perhaps producers are realising as they struggle through these difficult times, that their stand costs keep going up and their takings are down at many many festivals. The feeling I’m getting is they want Wag to get value for the money they put in and they want more people attneding these events. That seems quite fair to me.

  11. busy bee

    October 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    BB needs a reality check
    if wag is looking at every penny, then I’d be interested to know how many food staff have got the push. Anyone any idea?
    Most of the concerns raised are justified and I’d be pleased if you’d say which aren’t justified and not be so vague, that’s not helpful. Neither is not saying who you are
    Kath is not doing wag’s PR, I’m sure wag are paying enough PR companies to do that, she’s telling it as she sees it
    these festivals are not all good, far from it and if wag can’t give them a shake up, then someone else should.
    I think you might get backing for the Welsh food team if the wag team ever backed us producers. Wag could also back Kath’s team too but they don’t, she’s not saying what they want to hear, could that be their problem?

  12. tough times

    October 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

    these are tough times BB and I think you are badly out of touch with food producers
    I don’t approve of you moaning about this site or the job Kath and her guys are doing for Welsh food and us producers. Not positive a dollop or realism is what you need BB
    Why don’t you make specific points?
    I’m not concerned about England, Scotland or NI but I am bothered about Wales. It’s where I try and earn a living and I am concerned how wag perform and how they spend our money.
    You have things the wrong way around, back the welsh food team, they should be backing us! That’s what they are paid to do in case you are not sure what their job is!
    I’d love to be more positive if you’d let me know what I should be positive about. £800k wasted on farm shops, markets and box schemes, what’s that achieved? £80k spent on a festival survey, but nothing has improved at all this year, in fact it has gone backwards. Pembrokeshire Direct has had goodness knows how much money pumped into their business and what have they achieved? I could go on but maybe you wont have a clue what’s going wrong out there.
    I’m not sure why you put these silly comments up Kath, but I’m one of many that wil stick up for you as you do for us producers