Wag Festival Calendar – Who’s Responsible?

06 Oct

Simple answer? It seems no-one.

Who should be? In my view wag food.

This weekend wag food funded, Brecon, Newport, Neath which are all virtually within an hour’s drive of each other. This resulted in food producers having to try and cover two of those three festivals or settle for the one which they thought they’d earn more at. I find this stupid. For those of us that are concerned about food producers and festival organisers having the best event possible, planning the food festival calendar is important. But this is of little concern to wag food because I have been raising this issue with them for too many years. Brecon has been running for something like 17 years, so to say it’s a well established festival is absolutely true. The festival held in the market hall also backs up their farmers’ market so it is really getting the message home to the people of Brecon to support local food.

But then wag food allows two more food festival to jump on the bandwagon for that same weekend. Why does wag allow that to happen? This next weekend, apart from a new festival at Caldicote Castle in Monmouthshire, the only festival wag are funding is Anglesey, which certainly isn’t in competition with festivals in Powys and further south. If wag are funding, well, offering a few thousand, they surely can suggest that if the festival wants a contribution from the tax payer, they must select an appropriate date. I’m not sure why for example Newport could not have run on 11th -12th or even 18th -19th October but guess wag food didn’t even bother suggesting a date change, even though they gave them £6,289 which was nearly double what they gave Brecon.  There cannot be a total disregard for value of the taxpayers’ money, and this food budget is our money, yes it comes from Europe, but Europe are only returning part of the vast amount we hand over to them. I’m not alone in wanting to be a fly on the wall when wag food decided how much each food festival gets…..or doesn’t get.

As I say wag food have had years to address this problem but seemingly it is not important to them, as it doesn’t affect their salary. The proposed festival organisers group might take charge of the festival calendar, or might not, but at the end of the day wag food are offering the funding and they’ve the power and the authority to ensure all festivals have a fair crack of the whip and us tax payers get value for money from this ever decreasing budget.


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  1. food producer

    October 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I’m not understanding why the food dept. have never concerned themselves about putting food producers first.
    Shouldn’t that be the basic of why food festivals are run? Which idiots decided that having these three festival on the same weekend was not totally stupid and senseless. I’d like to have done all three but could only do Brecon because I had no help. Why couldn’t these three festivals have been ruin over three October weekends? It’s surely not that difficult even for civil servants.
    Kath you are knocking you head against this wag brick wall and no-one there has any sense to listen. If civil servants were spending their own money it would change. That’s where the civil service fall, down no-one is responsible for anything, heads never roll
    Thanks for highlighting this once more but you are talking to people that can’t hear and are too scared to act to change obvious errors. But why keep repeating basic errors? You have to be silly to carry on doing that.
    As you often say, they couldn’t run a business in this poor manner.

  2. BOW

    October 7, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Wag food now pay nominal amounts to festivals but still expect organisers to jump through lots of hoops and they must also be bi lingual
    Wag food can’t be bothered to think through the calendar before funding which is totally stupid.
    Producers should be a priority, but they never are.
    Pleased you’ve mentioned this again but as so often happens you are wasting you time with this shower.

  3. Shocker

    October 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    It’s a shocker that wag can’t do the job they are paid for.
    I’m unclear how anyone can spend taxpayers cash and not make sure that the calendar is fit for purpose.
    It’s not and civil servants do not tackle it.
    Senseless, utterly senseless
    The more festivals we have access to the better, unless they are like Abergavenny and we can’t get in although we are Welsh. Wag should have also sorted that years ago but again they cannot be bothered just keep giving them our money.
    It’s not your job to highlight this, but if you don’t no-one else will bother
    thanks for helping us

  4. Jam man

    October 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

    We shouldn’t expect wag food to take charge of the festival listing. That’s us asking a lot of them.
    Don’t expect them to take on another job that will make them think before spending our cash.

  5. Andy

    October 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Why don’t the festival organisers help themselves and their festivals and have an online meeting at the start of the year. Quick, and simply done.

  6. Parrot

    October 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Sensible suggestion as always from you Andy.
    I’m sure the organisers would need a referee!! Why would organisers select a date of an established festival that is near them in the first instance? Look at the clash of last weekends’ three dates. But it was some of the producers who missed out plus there’s not much running this weekend.
    If wag food said later your date of no funding – I’m sure that would help!
    But let’s see of the organisers group can work it out any better.

  7. trader

    October 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Wag are funding festivals from their reduced budget, so isn’t the ball in their court? They are in charge.
    Wag are quick to tell organisers what they must do to tick Europe’s boxes, but can’t be fazed to put a practical calendar together.
    Producers should be the most important people and be cared for first.
    Neath was great this weekend, but I’d also like to have done Brecon if I could have worked tow festivals. If Neath had been this weekend I’d have been able to do both and been pleased. Would have thought wag could have tried some common sense and said that established festivals take precedence and newer festivals have to fit into the current calendar. But common sense isn’t commonly available, which is a pity.

  8. Honey

    October 9, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I’m not sure how the food department is supposed to work, but their job is to work for us producers of all sizes, big, small and micro as well.
    I don’t suppose for a second any department is judged fit for purpose as such. That can’t happen as no idea who would be fit to judge it! But if a food department cannot do something as simple as sorting out the food calendar of festivals they are funding, we have hit rock bottom.
    I’m not interested in driving from south Wales to north Wales for a festival, that will never be cost effective for me. But to have three festivals that I can reasonably attend on one weekend is too stupid even for wag. Established festivals should have priority with new ones coming in told by wag to select dates outside any others running in their area.
    Why Kath has to keep raising this time and again is pathetic, why can’t wag wake up, listen and do as suggested?
    Doubt this dept. will ever understand food producers and what we need. The Welsh food is not totally against us when we’ve you and the team working for us and battling against wag food.

  9. Parrot

    October 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    It’s my choice to keep raising the same old topics until wag food wake up to reality
    but thanks for your comments it does cheer the team up!

  10. Saucy

    October 10, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I don’t know where you get the energy to keep trying to change wag food dept.
    You amaze me, especially with their hideous attitude to you. Why can’t work out that you are trying to help a department that is not doing a good job?
    We should all learn from our mistakes, but it doesn’t work like that in the civil service. They must get extra brownie points or promotion for repeating the same ones. In business we can’t run like that. If customers tell us things are wrong, we’d be stupid to ignore them. But wag has it’s own rules. Like politicians they are out-of-touch with reality and certainly out-of-touch with micro businesses like mine.
    We do need a union as your efforts are hitting a brick wall time after time.
    Thanks for all you are doing.

  11. Parrot

    October 10, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I promise our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers to help them if they need help and I keep my word and I hate being bullied.
    You have to been a confident person to accept when mistakes are made and a brave person to do anything to change them. The classic is this food festival calendar, if you’re giving them funding you are literally calling the shots so wag can easily say no to a date but yes if they change it. Simple. Wag should have loyalty to long standing festivals, but unsure they understand loyalty or value many organisers.
    Like to know who does understand wag food……………………

  12. trader

    October 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    You’ve been going on about a food calendar for what seems like ever but wag seem too busy to listen. It’s something they should have been able to work out for themselves but they’ve struggled to do so but then they don’t have to earn money at festivals, we pay them monthly ourselves.

  13. trader

    October 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Spot on Kath.
    It’s pathetic.
    To quote you – you couldn’t run a business like that lot run the food dept.

  14. Trader chap

    October 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

    If you weren’t in Wales this would be unbelievable. But the fact is we’ve accepted a poor food department for what seems like ever, because no-one can change it not even Kath and her lot, even though they are the only ones in touch with producers, talking to producers, listening to producers and trying to help us, even though this has proved impossible and they are being bullied by a department that is cowardly, out-of-touch, or really never been in touch and never been bothered to change their attitude to us.
    That department must cost us as taxpayers an unknown fortune but the service we get is poor. I’ll never be convinced that this department is on our side, but when we’ve a magazine and a brilliant website on our side they try to make their life impossible.
    They’ve always run this department by fear, fear because we daren’t talk or approach them unless our company face happens to fit. And that’s only a few that wag food fund to the hilt.
    I’m saddened but more angry that this situation can continue.

  15. BOW

    October 17, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I hope that after all your years of trying to get the powers-that-be using some basic common sense to sort this calendar out. Festivals near each other should NOT be running the same weekend and be FUNDED. That is not difficult surely to goodness. Longstanding festivals should have priority. Food festivals that insist on clashing with one of these should not be funded, it’s that simple. Remember some producers will travel to a good festival but they should not have to tear their company in two to cope with two funded festivals. What’s wrong with August Bank Holiday when there is little on?
    I didn’t think wag foo would find this simple task so difficult for them to sort out. But every year dates clash.
    You are a determined lady to keep raising this point because I know I keep moaning at you.

  16. Bow

    October 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    You’ve told me in person, as well as on here, that there’s a new person in charge of wag food and he’s been there over 12 months. But as I’m at RWAS and most other food festivals with a stand how come I’ve not met him?
    Surely he was at least at RWAS – guess I’d not expect him to work weekends like we do.
    That makes no sense that he didn’t go around the food hall saying hello and introducing himself.

  17. Parrot

    October 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    New Head of Food has been in post I think since July 2103 if not before.
    He was in the Food Hall on the Monday when Ian and I were there and I agree I’d not expect many civil servants to be working weekends.
    I have no idea if or why he didn’t go around all the stands in the Food Hall. He might well have had other more important priorities. Ian and I certainly did tour the Food Hall separately and both of us talked to all the stand holders or their staff.
    Sorry not able to really help on this one.

  18. BOW

    October 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I wish the wag food lot talked as much sense as you do.
    I’ve no hope that the food festival group will do anything but selfishly look after their own festival interest. Wag should make a rule that established festivals have their choice of date and those organisers can stop other festival close by from sharing THEIR date.
    It’s pathetic that wag have no control apart from dishing out their funding it is a disgrace.
    They should give you charge of the calendar Kath you’d sort it.
    Organisers cannot just pick a date and then expect funding.

  19. Parrot

    October 22, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Please don’t expect miracle it only leads to disappointment!
    I find it hard to believe that sorting out a food festival calendar that puts food producers first and gives credit for established festivals cannot be achieved. If we want successful festivals then we have to get lots of good and varied producers there and then attract the visitors. I don’t feel this is impossible, but seemingly it is a tough task for wag food to do.
    If newer festivals wish to clash for whatever reason then wag food should not fund them. It’s that simple to me. Producers should always be wag’s priority but they rarely are.
    thanks for commenting

  20. Mickey

    October 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

    One must question the food department when our food festival calendar has too many dates that clash. Kath is right when she says well-established festivals should not have a newbie on their doorstep, the same weekend. That’s a total nonsense. Kath is again right that if a new festival wish to clash dates then wag should NOT fund them. As their food festival budget is cut and cut wag should finally get the message that taxpayers must have value for their money. How can a department continue to make such basic mistakes when Kath has been telling them for years they have got a calendar that is flawed?
    Although Kath persists in sending this massage through to wag, they are incapable of understanding the basics. I always thought food festivals were for food producers first but wag haven’t got that message, which is so stupid.
    Kath I think it is time to give up on wag food, their ears are closed and no-one there seems to have any common sense.
    Food festivals for food producers.

  21. Parrot

    October 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Frustrating that wag food are I cannot and will not give up when we have over 120 food producers working with us.
    Our promise to our advertisers is we’ll do what we can to help them over and above an advert. Wag are aware of this promise as it’s what we told them when they advertised with us!!!!
    I agree food producers first, but not sure who will change this, because wag food certainly haven’t and they do the funding.

  22. Boo

    October 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Wag must be reading this site – if they are it is another prime example of how out of touch this department is
    but I’m convinced they are reading it which in many works makes them look even worse – if that were possible. To ignore constant constructive feedback from Kath and her guys and gals is totally and amazingly stupid, but then to ignore comments that producers are confident to make because they know from Kath there will be no come back that’s negative is unbelievable. One of Kath’s regular sayings is you could not run a business like wag food run their department, & that lady knows what she’s talking about, if only our food department did.
    Bullying producers was bad enough, but Kath was warned that department was capable of, but for wag food to bully the only Welsh food media we have is beyond my belief.

  23. Parrot

    October 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Another regular saying of mine is you can take a horse to water and not make it drink…….
    You are correct I was told by a few producers not to annoy wag and I didn’t when they were working with us, as we promise to be there to help – but even then wag food wouldn’t answer questions. The when they didn’t renew because of no budget, I could do whatever I wanted to help our producers and will continue to do so. But when lines of communication are closed down it is rather difficult.
    kind of you to comment

  24. cheeseman

    October 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

    You’ve put much effort into trying to knock some common sense into the food dept. but it’s crystal clear you are wasting worked your time. Their ears are closed, much like their minds. How they can explain wasting tax payers money is madness.
    I wonder if you took some examples of this hopeless dept to Europe whether you’d get anywhere, but no doubt not. They are no doubt as bad.
    I admire what you’ve been trying to do over the years just to support us but I think it’s time to admit defeat. They are not worth your efforts, really they are not. It’s disappointing because if they’d work with you we’d have far less of the same problems happening year after year.
    You must be kicking yourself backing the new regime and telling us to. What a tragic mess we are now in.

  25. Parrot

    October 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I’m very disappointed, I’d high hopes for the new regime – but still waiting to be impressed.
    It’s my choice to back producer and I will do so until they get a fair and just deal.

  26. Jez

    October 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I have worked out your problem Kath, you are expecting far too much of the food department, far, far too much. You are expecting them to organise a food festival calendar after all these years, that’s beyond them to apply common sense, they are civil servants after all, then to put food producers first, followed with long standing festivals and to remember they are spending tax payers money so they need to get value for that spend. That is a big ask for them and we all know the food department mess it up each year. Now I fear festival organisers will be allowed to do this job for the food department and we know that that will mean the big bossy festivals will get their own way as they always do and smaller festivals and newer ones will have to do as they are told by the bossy ones.
    What a mess is food situation is.

  27. Parrot

    October 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    My expectations are always high, even for the food dept, but not any longer.

  28. BOW

    November 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I admired your courage and tenacity trying to get some sense and action out of our civil servants especially in the food dept.
    I just don’t see what else you can do when you are dealing with people we pay for and who care not a hoot for us.
    You have been treated like a baddie when all you have continued to do is back food producers and make sensible changes that would help us. wag food haven’t a clue what we need and what we want, because they can’t be bothered to talk to us. You and your team always have. You’ve listened, you’ve acted for us and your reward from wag food is to be treated like rubbish from people that should know better. If they’d have listened to you this department wouldn’t be going down the pan.
    I’m disgusted with that department. If I was 15 years younger I’d move my business to Scotland, their food department leaves Wales’ standing.
    Our food department is a shambles because they can’t or wont listen.
    Action Plan more words, more money wasted.
    You thought new man would help but Kath we are agreeing now it’s not worked because that department is not capable of listening to you. NO good saying to us producers because wag food can’t communicate to us.
    Thank goodness your office can.
    thanks Kath for all your efforts for us, it is so good to have you and the team that can listen to us. You deserve a medal.

  29. Parrot

    November 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for leaving your views.
    Medals are for heroes, not someone spending the past ten years trying to improve the food department and seemingly failed because they will not listen!!!
    We’ve promised our BOW producers we’ll do what we can to help them, but trying to deal with wag food is just like banging your head against a brick wall – someone pass the head ache tablets

  30. Dawn

    November 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    If wag food WERE looking after us there would be no need for this post.
    But those of us involved in Welsh food know we are on our own unless one of the favoured few with brown wag noses.
    It’s funny that you are still expecting wag food to take control of the festival calendar, you are expecting too much of them!!!
    Just give up with them.

  31. MR ANGRY

    November 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    All these problems should be dumped at wag food’s door and SOMEONE should change these department to make is effective. Not more effective but effective would be a start.
    This website gives wag food some many insights into what they have got wrong, but again their arrogance rules and we suffer because of it.
    Hope the new head of food is at Winter Fair because there are many that want to meet him and then talk to him. But no-one seems to know what he looks like.

  32. bow

    November 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I admire your staying power on this and many other issues, but how many more years will it take before this calendar is sorted out and is workable allowing producers to get to as many festivals as possible within a fair travelling distance? What else can you do Kath? Of course I’m excluding Abergavenny. Wag allow them to do their own thing despite professional Welsh traders being rejected year upon year.
    If wag listened to you we could have had a workable calendar 8 years ago. Long standing festivals should not have newcomers sharing their date and this would not happen if wag then refused them funding.
    This is not difficult to do. Kath’s given wag food instructions on how to do but – nothing improves.
    Kath can you do anything else to help this situation?

  33. Cross Patch

    November 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

    The number of comments on here show the views of producers, many like me very small and classed as micro.
    With such feedback how can wag food still play the fool.
    I’ve no idea who in 2015 will finalise the calendar for those getting funding. Will it be the festival committees that rule this calendar? They shouldn’t but wag food always back off from taking responsibility for this.
    I need to cover as many festivals as possible but to have two festivals clashing with Brecon was not amusing. I could have done all three if I thought them viable But I could only do Brecon because of this stupid, ill-thought out calendar.
    Wag food working FOR us would be a change for the better.
    I hoped the new team would bring sensible, obvious changes, but my hopes have been dashed.
    Another disappointment.
    Does anyone check if government departments are fit for purpose?
    I guess not.

  34. bow

    November 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    The number of comments left on here are overwhelmingly saying wag food.
    But what no-one can say is why wag food have never taken control of this calendar. It is such a basic issue to get right and we shouldn’t have new festival taking the same dates as original ones when they are so close together. As Kath says if that happens then wag food does not fund them.
    It’s that simple, but not for wag food who continue to let festivals do whatever they wish and they still pay them.

  35. bow 2

    November 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    You’re wasting your time with this lot despite being on one of the few people that can talk sensibly about Welsh food. One of the few people that talks and listens to food producers.

    I admire what you have done over many years, but in my view this department is a lost cause. New regime or, they’re a lost cause, they really are.