This was a good festival last year, so after getting the programme through, I drove across on Saturday to see what 2012 would bring. AA signage was good going into Gorseinon and I was pleased to see that they had again got a shuttle bus service in operation which was much needed and worked very well. But with lots of magazines in the boot I thought I’d see if I could get parked in
the traders car park – cheeky I know! Well a polite volunteer explained that the heavy rain had turned the trade park into a squelchy mess and she was concerned if I actually got on, would I get off? Fair point, but she directed me to the back entrance where another friendly male volunteer found us a dry spot to park up. So after a fair drive, and feeeling rather chilly, it was another good start to this event. What difference pleasant helpful volunteers make.
First job was to search out my contact Karen. It was lovely to catch up and be able to put a face to a person I’d only spoken to on the phone and by email. Karen, as always, had plenty of information and news to offer and she also introduced me to the Mayor. The weather was cold, windy but it didn’t stop people arriving and a busy marquee was just what the traders needed. There was a bit of a change around this year with the stands all being incorporated into the main marquee, instead of those selling
hot food being positioned outside. With the weather as it was I think this worked well but at times the marquee did get rather smoky. Anywya there was certainly no hope of sitting outside in the sunshine. I’m sure if the traders wdisagree with me it will come through on their feedback forms and the organisers can get more feedback on whether that was a success or not.
The demo kitchen area was situated just inside the entrance, instead of as last year down at the end of the marquee. But for me
that didn’t work as well. The organisers had done the area well and I was really pleased to see a large board that clearly showed who was cooking and when – other festival please note!
But with quite a lot going on around the entrance, ladies selling raffle tickets and the superb giant jubilee cake which was sold in aid of the Gorseinon Foodbank and the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Singleton Hospital, which was a great idea to support two very good causes. So with all that going on I still think the demo area would have worked better down at the bottom of the marquee. It would have dragged people all the way through the marquee and helped the tradestands that had been sited down in that area, which seemed to be a fair bit quieter than those at the entrance. Not sure why this was changed, whether it was electric costs or just trying something different, but with such a popular feature, I’m sure you could have got more chairs in as it was always full when I tried to get a seat.
So from my point of view, Gorseinon was a great success. We did have a lot of Best Of Welsh & Borders producers there and of course many did find time to talk as I was there for five hours……….I did hear from a few traders, who hadn’t done that well, but again they were mostly down at the end of the marquee. If people were walking down that far, the chances were that they’d already bought their cheese, beer, jams etc. Ok it was ever thus, but we do have to remember that wag stipulate that even a small festival, with under 3,000 footfall must have no less than 25 food producers exhibiting to get funding. Larger ones with over 3,000 footfall must have no less than 35 producers exhibiting to be eligible for funding support. Food and drink producers must also form at least 80% of the total exhibitors. So with the wag’s restrictions, organisers also have problems too, many simply cannot run unless they get funding so bascially organsiers do have to do as they are told! I’m still convinced that if traders have ‘demands,’ than a polite request will often suffice. But if you can’t agree then the choice is yours not to attend isn’t it? I wish we could solve these regualrs grubles that come up each year and just wish someone would tell me how to do it.
Gorseinon got people into the event, so they did their job well and my congratulations once again for a good event. But once the
people are in, it’s down to producers to sample and sell and I must also say that quite a few were sampling and getting out from behind their stands and talking to people. That was good to see and works as long as you don’t obstruct your neighbours!!!
Well done everyone at Gorseinon ………