I talked to a lot of producers on Monday, many of them our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and they’re are still reasonably happy with the layout in the Food Hall. I really couldn’t be bothered counting the stands, but guess there were around 40ish there this year, in a specifically designed Food Hall to hold 60 stands.
I’m still have a concern about visitors to the Winter Fair and their options for hot food. There were just a couple of stands doing hot food in the Food Hall and I’m guessing this might be due to more European rulings, which Wales must follow, that says hot food is ‘not allowed ‘in the Food Hall. Or could it be that RWAS make so much more money from the food concessions that they object to producers selling hot food in the Food Hall? Which of course directed people to the many mobile food vans where I saw many people queuing for hot food alongside the massive burger vans – which I’m sure, were not always serving Welsh produce. The queue around lunch-time in the Glamorgan Hall for food was enormous and there was no hope of you finding a seat either! It made life difficult for those in wheelchairs, with children or had elderly folks with them. As to whether they were serving Welsh food, or not I’ll reserve judgement……….
I have my usual issues with the Royal Welsh as a venue and it starts even before you park up. There’s hardly any ‘yellow jackets’ and those that are wandering around, don’t appear to be doing too much. Then the guys on the gate cannot even be bothered with a good morning, let alone welcome to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
The tradestand prices are another mystery, with one trader saying a corner stand cost £606.00 for just two days trading. That’s a lot of money to find and that’s just the start of it. This trader only got a few car passes and they’d staff to get in and out over the trading days. Why are these basic issues such a constant problem for our producers?
My other whinge is that some producers don’t even have business cards, which I always find hard to believe. But on a good note, a lot of the traders had made a huge effort to make their stands look festive, with lots of special offers to tempt the punters with. I’m not sure why WG can’t organise a Best Stand competition to encourage more to get into the festive spirit.
At the close of Monday, feedback was fairly good, not brilliant by any means for many of them, but some were reasonably happy in such a difficult trading year.
There was also much talk about the festival organisers meeting last week, but sadly not much of it good. Were some producers invited just to tick another WG/European box? Or were they invited because they could have some input to what is a huge part of many of their businesses. Some of the producers I spoke to didn’t feel that it would be useful for them so if they were invited didn’t bother going. But I wonder why the organisers, when they were getting such a poor response from producer invites, didn’t do a ring around as a reminder. But there again, as producer input didn’t appear to be wanted, then this would have been another waste of time, which actually would not be an issue if the organisers were being paid by the WG……………………..