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Welsh Food Festivals Take Another Hit On Funding

06 May

The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies has announced over £184,000 to support food and drink festivals across Wales and strengthen the nation’s reputation as a producer of high quality food. 

The funding will help showcase the best of Welsh food and drink to people living in and visiting Wales by supporting 28 festivals taking place across the country this year. Festivals set to benefit from funding include the Mumbles Oyster Festival, the Christmas Food & Drink Fair in Abergavenny and the Llangollen Food Festival.

 The support, of up to £10,000 per festival, will help raise the profile of the high quality food and drink Wales has to offer and develop the country’s growing food culture.

Alun Davies said: “Food festivals are an excellent way of showcasing the best produce Wales has to offer and can help small, local food producers increase their customers and strengthen their business. Food festivals also attract thousands of people into the hearts of our towns and villages, providing a welcome boost to local businesses and the rural economy. I am therefore delighted to announce over £184,000 to support 28 food and drink festivals across Wales this year.”

The Welsh Government is committed to increasing the profile and reputation of Welsh food and the Minister will launch his new action plan for the Welsh food and drinks industry this spring.

He added: “High quality, distinctive food is a central part of our culture here in Wales and I am determined to help develop this culture to help our food and drinks industry thrive. That is why I am launching a new action plan this spring that seeks to increase the profile and reputation of Welsh food and drink and deliver a 30% increase in the sector’s turnover by 2020.”

The festivals offered Welsh Government funding are listed below:

Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair, Abergavenny Town Centre

Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny Town Centre

Big Welsh Bite, Rhondda Heritage Park

Brecon Beacons Food Festival, Brecon Market Hall

Broneirion Food Fair, Broneirion, Llandinam

Caerphilly Food Festival, Caerphilly Town Centre

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival, Cardiff Bay

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Aberaeron

Cardigan River & Food Festival, Quay St Carpark, Cardigan

Feastival, Bridgend Town Centre

Gorseinon-Swansea Food Festival, Gorseinon Centre

Gwledd Conwy Feast, Conwy Town and Harbour

Gwyl Fwyd a Chrefft Portmeirion, Portmeirion Village

Gwyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn, Newcastle Emlyn Town Centre

Hay Summer Food Festival, Hay Town Centre

Hay Winter Food Festival, Hay Town Centre

Lampeter Food Festival, Trinity St Davids, Lampeter

Llangollen Food Festival, Llangollen International Pavilion

Mold Food Festival, Mold Town Centre

Mumbles Oyster Festival, Mumbles Promenade & Village

Narberth Food Festival, Narberth

Neath Food & Drink Festival, Neath Town Centre

Newport Food Festival, Newport Town Centre

Newtown Food & Drink Festival, Newtown

St Fagans Food Festival, St Fagans

The Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Produce Festival, Trearddur Bay, Anglesey

Welsh Perry & Cider Festival & Championships, Caldicot Castle, Monmouth

Wrexham Food Festival, Guild Hall, Wrexham

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked for the food festival list of funding for this year. Anyway it finally arrived on Friday afternoon but not only was it Embargoed until 5th May 00.01 am – yes folks, embargoed until Bank Holiday Monday. There were no figures showing the amount of funding festivals asked for or the amount they have been offered, neither did it show the dates they were running either!!! What a useful press release. I think not! Worth the wait? Hardly.

With no other option, I went back to the press office asking for answers to my queries, to be told: A full list will be available on the website shortly that will include the amounts awarded to the festival organisers. If you require additional information then this would need to be formally handled through the FOI process. (Freedom Of Information question).

Thank goodness I’ve nothing better to do than do than yet another food FOI. It has come as rather a shock, in that after many, many years in journalism, that this press office doesn’t appear to want to help. Perhaps they’d like me if I stopped asking questions, now that’s a thought. So despite being told by wag food that I have to deal with their press office, I’m getting nowhere and nowhere fast, that’s for sure.  So it’s another FOI and another delay as I have to wait a further 20 days for this information. By the end of May I should know………………

I still insist that communication is the key, but sadly that message hasn’t been accepted by wag food or the press team.

What is also absent from Minister Alun Davies’ press release was that there no explanation as to how many, if any, food festivals applied and were turned down for funding. Of course no mention was made whilst Minister Davies was blowing his – I support Welsh food trumpet – that last year, 32 festivals were funding to the tune of over £210,000 but this year he’s reduced that budget to just over £184,000 which supports only 28 festivals. ( In 2012 33 festivals were supported to the tune of £339,281,121). That doesn’t make sense to me when in his next breath he’s expecting 30% growth in food turnover by 2020. I’m assuming he’s got his foreign food trips booked to get his food growth from abroad as he certainly appears to be strangling home growth and especially the micro food producers. Of course Minister Davies then spins again as to how important food festivals are in showcasing the best produce Wales has to offer – well if Welsh food is that important, why is the food festival budget always being slashed? Minister Davies also tells us that festivals can help small, local food producers can increase their customers and strengthen their business. Well that’s very true Minister Davies, but that’s only going to happen if our producers can get accepted into those food festivals which many have supported since they started. But that is not the case. My feedback so far says that loyal Welsh producers have been thrown out of St Fagan’s, even those that went there in its first poor year. These discarded producers now have to travel into Cheshire to find a festival to attend as they are unwanted in St Fagan’s.

I’m sure these problems, which you will no doubt discount as trivial, will pass over your head and that of your food department, because quite simply it will not affect your livelihood.  

 

 
 

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  1. producer

    May 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    What is happening here
    early May and Kath’s now having to chase for dates and amounts festivals have been offered
    it seems odd to me that wag budgets start 5/4 and a month later we aren’t anywhere nearer getting the festival news that we want
    Kath has wasted so much time trying to get us this information but wag food couldn’t give a toss
    it seems at odds to me but then I’m only a mini producer trying to work in food despite wag trying to tie our hands behind our backs.

     
  2. producer

    May 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    This is just lip service to local food. It’s a disgrace.
    If we attended a festival last year we should be notified if its running this year, but otherwise we are stuck knowing which are running and when. It’s not fair on us but only Kath and her team care. .
    Feast or famine as far as dates are concerned. But then wag food have not taken control of dates either, why would they? They get paid regardless

     
  3. food producer

    May 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Spot on Kath
    Spin and more spin, words and more words that mean nothing to us in the industry. He might fool the public once again, but he will not fool us any more.
    Why has the festival budget been cut again year after year? Is this how the minister for food rates food as important?
    How can such food growth be achieved? It has to come from abroad because this man is choking food in Wales. He makes it more obvious in everything he comes out with that micro producers are a forgotten breed
    Soon there will be few of us left as we are finding it such a struggle.
    Thanks for all your efforts on this subject. You’re a very determined lady.

     
  4. Foodie

    May 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    So you need an FOI to find out when the festivals are running? From the people who are supposed to be promoting this? You really could not make it up!
    Get a grip WAG, peoples livelihoods are at stake!
    And no matter how you spin it, a cut is a cut, and shows how much they really value Welsh food.

     
  5. cup cake

    May 7, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Why has festival money been dropped again? Why are there no dates given for festivals are we all supposed to know or just guess them?
    I don’t get this at all
    wag food seem to enjoy making life even tougher
    the minister seems as out of the picture as his department is
    why are mini producers like me given such a hard time? I’m finding it tough getting into some festivals and what do I do if I can’t get in? I’ve to try and find another venue but cost of fuel limits how far I can go as my margins aren’t high.
    Government and councils are so distant from real people and tiny businesses. I’ve no idea what this hassle is all about but it is not necessary.

     
  6. trader

    May 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Just 28 festivals and less money, why is this budget always getting cut?
    No dates and we don’t know how much each got, maybe that is not our concern.
    isn’t it obvious from this bit of news that Davies is intending to pursue more exports to try and get his 30% increase? More trips abroad for him and his cronies is his plan as I understand it.
    I don’t get why festival budgets keep getting chopped and chopped despite them all limited now to £10k. Is this why wag limits it to £10k so they can cut further? This don’t make sense to me at all. I’m a small producer and I’d like to expand, but can’t see how under this labour government.
    Why does wag food ignore mini producers because this is how it seems. Festivals are stuck with £10k unless they can get other funding, so we then often get our stand prices going up again. So we’ve then to sell more to stay like last year. Davies says he’s supporting us, how does he come to that?
    Every year it’s the same, asking the same questions, well Kath is and getting nowhere.

     
  7. cheeseman

    May 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Each year it is the same sad story
    wag food learn nothing and why Kath thinks she’ll ever get this shower to see sense and understand the obvious as to what happens at festivals is a mystery to me. I admire not only what she does but what she says, she is telling it as it is honest and fair but wag food cannot understand any of it. Let’s carry on in the same old ways, learn nothing at all because they rarely go to any of these festivals that they put our money in.
    Kath says on a regular basis you couldn’t run a business like this and she’s spot on!!

     
  8. Jed

    May 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Another own goal for the food department
    I’d have given them a red card years ago
    I find arrogant people don’t or can’t listen so does this ring any bells anywhere?
    Pity we can’t demote them to the bottom division because that’s is where they should be
    The sad bit is they are dragging us all down whilst they fail to get their act together.
    Sending a list of festivals out with no dates is one of the most pathetic things I’ve read from wag and with their record that’s saying something, my goodness it is.

     
  9. trader

    May 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Mr Spin Davies what a politician
    cut the food festival budget every year and then pretend he’s pro Welsh food.
    I’m positive he’ll have booked his trips abroad in theory to push Welsh food but bet he’s not booked into many food festivals this year. I’m told he was at Cardigan Fish and I saw him at Cowbridge, but he spent little time talking to any traders. So in that case what was the point? Wow of course, tick another box brilliant

     
  10. beef boy

    May 14, 2014 at 11:36 am

    How come this is the only way to read the true story?
    I’ve not seen any other coverage that other journalists have spotted, as you have yet again, that this budget has been reduced once more.
    What’s with Welsh media? Isn’t this a story worth shouting about? Or because it’s yet A.N.OTHER cut does it not matter any more?
    How Mr Davies can say he’s backing Welsh food and wants a growth of I think it’s 30% by 2010 is farcical. As Kath has said, more trips abroad for him and his team, while they kill the home market.
    Well done Kath
    true, honest, brave journalism
    exposing the truth
    hope to see you at the Smallholder

     
  11. Benji7???

    May 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Yes we’ll be there Sunday and will catch up if you’re not too busy.
    My take on why other journalists haven’t done anything apart from copying and pasting wag’s press release is that it’s not a good idea to bite the government hand that is feeds you. Many Welsh newspapers are well funded by government advertising and I’ve done a Freedom Of Information question on this so I know. So for them it’s safer to be a government mouthpiece and say what Minister Spin Food wants put out. Not many care about the truth.
    It wouldn’t be quite as bad if wag food would explain these constant festival cuts and what they actually expect from food festivals bearing in mind they’ve little support from wag food and lots of hassle and box ticking of course, but I know now that this will never happen. In my experience, Wag food will not listen to anyone that doesn’t agree with them and yes that includes me, hence no progress so what is the point? Oh yes wag food get paid each month….sorry, nearly forgot that bit!
    The crunch is this site would not exists if food producers/manufacturers and organisers were happy. I cannot force wag food to read and action welshfoodbites. Then I can’t talk to them either, so what is the point?

     
  12. cheeseman

    May 15, 2014 at 9:37 am

    We need a Minister that does support food not pay lip service to Welsh food.
    I didn’t realise that this budget has kept being cut, I’ve not read that anywhere else but if newspapers are supported by the government then they are going to play the Labour party line. That’s how it works. The bulk of Welsh media like our politicians as I see it are often strangers to the truth.
    This is why this site works and I love it. Honest, factual, no holds barred.
    Not a hope that wag food will fund this site then!