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Better Late Than Never – Wag’s Food Festival Funding For 2013

25 Apr

This should be a popular post, as I have today finally received the funding list from wag food. It would make me even angrier with wag food, if that were possible, if I could be bothered to count the number of emails, calls made and the time I’ve wasted trying to get this list. Oh to be on the same page as wag food and be working together, but sorry, I’m dreaming again………….!

I’m pleased that so many of you agree that we should have these details at the end of the year and not have to wait until April before even the organisers are told, but we shouldn’t hold our breath on that one. I feel so sorry for some of these organisers who now have to hold urgent committee meetings to see if they are actually able to go forward with their festivals, or if for various reasons such as lateness of funding offer, or maybe having a lower offer made, that they might now re-consider holding their festival. For those festivals running early in the year in particular, this has been nothing short of a stressful nightmare and a very unnecessary one. Plus on a personal level we’ve lost advertising from food festivals as they were awaiting wag’s decision.

In the past I’ve spent many years doing PR, public relations, albeit in the private sector. So I find it hard to envisage the scenario of the Minister finally rubber stamping this list, the news eventually going out to all the organisers on 9th April and the media being ignored until  25th April, despite my chasing again and again for it. If in my PR role I’d acted so slowly, inefficiently and unprofessionally, I simply wouldn’t have kept my job and neither would I have deserved to. In the private sector I was judged on performance and rightly so. Although I keep trying and failing by-and-large, to communicate with the pubic sector, and there can be no dispute that their views and attitudes are sadly totally different than in the real world that the rest of us have to work in.

I was also told by a good source, that the finalisation of the listing was delayed whilst a festival lobbied the Minister, seriously unhappy that  funding was this year being restricted to £10k. Sorry, but I can’t justify wasting more time trying to get that ‘story’ confirmed or denied, so I can only class it as a very interesting rumour, but I must confess it really did make me chuckle. Even without knowing the final outcome, I did wonder if the Minister, or his team then directed this festival to other sources of funding so that they don’t, in effect ‘lose out’. I have submitted an Freedom Of Information question through on this and will let you know the outcome. I’ve also asked for a full list of all festivals that did apply for funding and how much they asked for as this will give us a clearer picture of this budget.

New funding to help food and drink festivals to flourish

The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies has announced over £210,000 to support food festivals and strengthen Wales’ reputation as a foodie nation. The funding, which will help showcase the best of Welsh food and drink to people living in and visiting Wales, will be allocated to 32 separate food festivals scheduled to take place across Wales in 2013 . The support is aimed at raising awareness of the high quality of food and drink on offer in Wales in order to build on Wales’ growing food culture.

Alun Davies said: “Good quality, distinctive food is a central part of our culture here in Wales. I am determined to build on that culture in order to enable our food and drinks industries to strengthen and thrive. We know that food festivals continue to be a big draw for people living in and visiting Wales and are an excellent way of showcasing the very best of Welsh produce. They also allow producers to strengthen their own business capacity which in turn contributes to a strengthened rural economy. I am therefore pleased to announce more than £210,000 to support 32 separate festivals across Wales . During 2013 the festivals will collectively receive £211,164.54 in assistance, to strengthen Wales’ reputation as a producer of high quality and diverse food and drink.

The food festivals receiving funding are:

North

Wrexham Food Festival 18 – 19 May 2013 £7,500.00

Llyn Land & Seafood Festival 25 – 26 May 2013 £5,440.00

Mold Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £9,000.00

Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Produce Festival 12 – 13 October 2013 £1,593.40

Llangollen Food Festival 19 – 20 October 2013 £5,000.00

Gwledd Conwy Feast 26 – 27 October 2013 £10,000.00

Gwyl Fwyd a Chrefft Portmeirion 7 -8 December 2013 £5,850.00

South West

Gorseinon-Swansea Food Festival 27 April 2013 £7,825.00

Really Wild Festival 25-26 May 2013 £6,840.00

Gwyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn 15 June 2013 £2,955.50

Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival 22 – 30 June 2013 £10,000.00

Margam Market Day 07 July 2013 £5,458.50

Narberth Food Festival 27 – 29 September 2013 £8,286.00

Neath Food and Drink Festival 4 – 5 October 2013 £8,875.00

Mumbles Oyster Festival 17 – 20 October 2013 £4,350.00

West Wales Food Fayre Nov / Dec TBC £10,000.00

South East

Caerphilly Food Festival 04 May 2013 £7,431.50

Welsh Perry & Cider Festival 24 – 27 May 2013 £3,855.60

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival 12 – 14 July 2013 £10,000.00

St Fagans Food Festival 7 – 8 September 2013 £7,000.00

Abergavenny Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £10,000.00

Feastival 27 – 28 September 2013 £9,000.00

Newport Food Festival 05 October 2013 £7,590.00

Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair 08 December 2013 £8,500.00

Mid

Hay Summer Food Festival 29 June 2013 £1,775.00

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival 07 July 2013 £9,000.00

Lampeter Food Festival 27 July 2013 £7,000.00

Cardigan River & Food Festival 10 – 11 August 2013 £10,000.00

Aberystwyth Food & Drink Festival 21 September 2013 £3,613.04

Newtown Food Festival 21 – 22 September 2013 £3,580.00

Brecon Beacons Food Festival 05 October 2013 £2,625.00

Hay Winter Food Festival 30 November 2013 £1,221.00

My team is checking out this list of dates and note that Newtown will run on 7th & 8th September not 21/22nd as wag state.

Just for interest last year 2012, food festivals were allocated £339,280 for 33 festivals. Despite the Minister saying how important Welsh food is to the economy, including tourism, this is a massive chop in this budget down to £210k.

 

 

 
 

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  1. producer

    April 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Proof if more proof were needed that the government are really behind food, like not.
    But this news without your reminder is important as most of us would be trying to remember what each festival got last year. But from nearly £340k down to £210k that is one heck of a reduction.
    Food is important to our tourism is it? Well remind the minister man of that one – someone please.
    Why are some of festivals bothering to apply for a grant, to get given a few grand in my mind is pointless, might as well DIY because then you are not compelled to do everything in Welsh. Think I’m right on that as it doubles the expense doesn’t it?
    This is more bad news for food.
    Thanks for keeping your finger on the feeble wag food pulse.

     
  2. Suz

    April 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    You’ve got guts girl to keep taking wag on like this. We have never been so well informed and it’s all down to you are your lot at the mag.
    You’re a star and every credit for not being bullied by this lot

     
  3. admin

    April 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    the team and I are here for the producers, our chefs, our butchers, our farmers all on Best of Welsh.
    If we can improve their lot and Welsh food then we are doing a good job. If wag don’t want to say that about us, that’s fine, wag don’t pay us.
    I’d prefer of course for us to work together and make it easier all the way around but it’s not happened yet. Still I’ll keep trying with them, our door is always open. I’m fine when things go my way but I don’t accept bullying by anyone
    thanks for commenting

     
  4. debs

    April 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    it is better late than never
    no private company could have taken so much time
    and who cares about the organisers apart from us traders and you at the mag?

     
  5. Nicholas

    April 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Hello I’m a journalism student from Cardiff university. My name is Nicholas, i’m working for our newspaper, the Archer. At the moment i’m writing a story about Welsh food and drink festival in 2013. I’m quite interested in your articles! I just have two questions as a brief interview here.
    1, by the funding dropping from £330,000 to £210,000 this year, will there be any influence on all the festivals?
    2, by your saying that the final funding might be restricted to £10k i’m a little bit shocked. what happen to the government? do you have any more comment on this?
    thank you so much and i’m really looking forward for your response since it would be helped me a lot!!

     
  6. cup cake

    May 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Are you the only person that has noticed and put online that wag has reduced their festival budget by a monstrous amount
    a boost to welsh food – who is the minister trying to fool?
    not you that’s for sure

     
  7. trader

    May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

    hope this large reduction in funding doesn’t mean traders will be making up the shortfall in higher stand prices
    too many festivals behave as local fairs or fetes so not enough people come through, let alone spend when they are there
    no good at all for us if this happens again

     
  8. Trader2

    May 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I seem to recall that there was something in the rules for the funding to say that if they charged entry, there was a limit on the grant that they could recieve.
    One festival I have attended for the last few years has more than doubled the stall fee, as they said it was a direct result of a cut in the grant. This means it is on the edge of being economical to attend. If festivals make it uneconomical for traders to attend, what are they going to do without any stall holders?

     
  9. admin

    May 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I can’t recall about admission fee, but will certainly have a look
    I have banged on about entrance fees for years and I certainlky wouldn’t pay £3.00 to go in to buy food
    I’m concerned about the large slah in the festival budget but I’ve not seen any media pick up on it apart from us.
    I’m sure stand prices will rocket and many traders will be priced out.
    If this happens as you say they’ll struggle without standholders wont they?
    we seem to make little progress despite our raising problems we see
    thanks for commnets the more the better then wag might listen!!!!!!!

     
  10. trader 3

    May 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Neither the Minister, nor wag food would have given the slightest thought as to what might happen when festival budgets are slashed
    Do they care if our stand prices go up yet again? Of course they don’t. It would not have enetered their heads because they don’t take the trouble to understand our industry and tyhat means small traders. And they can’t be bothered to find out, and as that is there job it is a poor show but typical of civil servants.
    You guys are the only ones that bother to do learn about our problems – which is why you are successful with this site and the magazine
    wag should give you a job Kath!

     
  11. admin

    May 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

    thanks for your comments
    I cannot make the listen let alone try and get them to understand, it’s annoying and that is the truth
    as for a job with wag I assume you are being funny, as if did make me smile!

     
  12. andy

    May 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Kath, just a thought on funding. Gorseinon Food Festival attracted some 4,000 visitors last Saturday [ Grant of £7,825] but their monthly market really struggles, as do many others.
    So, would regular markets flourish if there were no funded festivals ? Just a thought.

     
  13. admin

    May 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Andy
    thanks for leaving a comment and as always making sense and giving me food for thought – sorry bad pun.
    Firstly I’m pleased they got 4,000 people through and I hoped all punters spent and not just took samples with no intent to buy. Ian and I spent hours there and feedback was, by and large reasonable from most of our Best Of Welsh & Borders traders.
    I’m really not sure if pulling festival funding any more than they have this year would help markets flourish. I do think there is a huge difference by what for many people is a one-off festival and getting them to attend a regular monthly or weekly market. I do think they need tackling differently. Getting people into a habit of a monthly or weekly trip isn’t easy but should have been tackled years ago of by Fork2Fork. We haven’t many weekly markets and my view, weekly is in many respects is easier as I struggle if I’m off on a Saturday wondering which market as it’s the 3rd Saturday………………..
    But having said that, I’m back on my regular soap-box and asking you what did Fork2Fork do to help your market for their £800k over 2 years? Plus what are they doing for you now with an additional £43k to maintain their website? Is that helping you? The Supply Chain Effieciencies Scheme is giving them a lot of cash and we at the lower end of the food chain are seeing no benefit whatsoever. In 3 years they’ve had in excess of £900k from that scheme and what have they achieved? VERY LITTLE. I cannot bear to hear at money is being thrown at projects and the grass roots who need the most help, get nothing at all.
    Is there any point in you talking to SCES about problems facing markets in general and yours in particular? I’m not hearing many markets doing well, but of course it’s not something we can help with for free at Welsh Country.
    If SCES could find a way to pay us for a page per issue, we could at least run all market dates and contacts as we used to before Fork2Fork. But shout if that’s an option as I have contact details for you, but hope you fair better than we did!!!
    Sorry to rabbit on but I’m still cross about lack of value-for-money. It’s Wales’ tick-box culture which is wny little improves.

     
  14. andy

    May 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Kath,
    Fork2Fork has not helped us. The majority of our inquiries are through FMIW [ I always ask where someone has had my details from. It’s a pity WAG didn’t support Stephen’s site which was up and running a long time before F2F. I’ve contacted F2F today after having a rare look at their site. Top of their news was a restaurant that was doing extremely well because they were selling python, zebra, etc. meats sourced from all over the world.
    I have asked them if it was in their WAG brief to promote such things. I wouldn’t have thought so.

     
  15. admin

    May 9, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Thanks Andy for coming back reporting as I suspected.
    I’m totally perplexed that wag couldn’t work with Stephen from the outset. They follwed this with pulling his fundng for Smallholder which I spent forever challengeing them. But the obvious is his face didn’t fit, it’s irrelevant the job he was doing at the time, which is sad and totally stupid.
    Well fork2fork strike again what a great restaurant for them to promote IF the government wasn’t funding them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The food market in Wales gets worse and worse and we seem powerless to get anyone to listen let alone change anything.
    Please keep in touch sure we’ll catch up sometime……

     
  16. organiser

    May 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    The Taste of Edinburgh comes to an end after six years.
    Is this the start of the end for Food Festivals that, without funding, cannot stand on their own two feet?

     
  17. admin

    May 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Oh dear more bad news. I had’t heard that Taste of Edinburgh was coming to an end.
    Actually I had always had the impression that Scotland was certainly more on the ball than Wales has ever been on the food and tourism angles.
    I think I can be certain that if wag’s food plan is to stop funding food festivals, then we’ll be the last to know!
    As far as I know there are many food festivals in Wales that cannot stand on their own feet. But then I’m not privy as to where their money/income goes. Some of our food festivals have – again in my view – been over-funded for years. Others again in my view are nothing more than community events which are not bringing in enough income for our producers, which is surely one objective of this exercise.
    I’m looking at this from the side of our Best Of Welsh producers, who we bend over backwards to support and of course from Welsh Country magazine on the advertising side.
    But then we have the likes of Pembrokeshire Fish Week that now their RDP funding has gone, gets funding from the festival budget, the Major Events Unit budget, Pembrokeshire Coiuncil and then long-term sponsors.
    I think I’m safe in saying that our festival funding system is often flawed, but if festivals are not run successfully, which many aren’t, then our producers lose sales opportunities that they really need. More so as framer’s markets are going quickly pear-shaped.
    Wish I knew what wag was thinking, but no hope of that.
    Interesting that the Minster’s press release on festivals did get some coverage, but think we were the only ones that pointed out that it was reduced from last year. Our new Head of Food is not arriving until next month and his view on festivals will be anyone’s guess.
    Wish I could tell you what was happening but you can always talk to wag food and the best of luck on that one!!!!