Food Festival Funding for 2015

04 Mar

Another helpful person sent the following letter through to me today about food festival funding for this year. Letter is dated 3rd March so there seems to be no urgency for wag food to get this sorted and give our organisers one thing less to stress about. It would have been helpful if wag had sent the application forms out last November and given these poor people some time to sort their applications out. Wag’s lateness with these forms seems to show that they have forgotten that this group of hard-working organisers are helping the wag food department as well as Visit Wales.

I’ve posted the letter below and followed with some interesting criteria, sure you’ll get wag food’s gist from the letter. The paperwork these poor organisers have to understand and then complete is nothing short of mind-blowing. This is red tape taken to the extreme and with no thought at all for those volunteers running food festivals.

3rd March Dear Food Festival Organiser(s)

The application process is now open for this years 2015/16 Food Culture Grant Funding for Food Festivals. Following feedback from the Food Festival organisers Seminar 2014 and review of 2014/15 Food Festivals there have been significant changes to the process and criteria, therefore please ensure that you read the documentation and criteria carefully before submitting an application. Incorrect or in complete applications will be considered in-eligible.  

Applications will be considered within TWO application rounds:

Round 1 – Applications invited from the 27th February – deadline for applications 3pm 18th March 2015.

Round 2 – Applications invited from the 27th April – deadline for applications 3pm 15th May 2015.  

Please find attached the following documents • Streamlined Application Form • Scheme Guidance and Criteria – Annexes I & II   • Procurement Guidance – Annex III.

The following criteria will be used when assessing ALL applications:

1) Does the project demonstrate collaboration and co-operation between Food and Drink and Tourism sector.

2) Is the project part of a wider programme/strategy within the area/region?

3) Does it meet one or more of the objectives to: Improve Visitor Access to and awareness of Welsh Food and Drink • Encourage Welsh hospitality businesses to source more local food and drink • Increase the prevalence of Welsh Food and Drink on menus and retail offering

4) Will the project be sustainable in future years? Is there evidence of longer term self sustainability?

5) Does the project identify clear outputs/objectives? Each application will be considered on its individual merit, and in light of available funding.

Food Culture Grant Scheme – Food Festivals and Events

Criteria – Appendix II

Applications will need to demonstrate that the funding will provide evident advantage to the Welsh food and drink industry. 

Only activities that will clearly add value to the food and drink industry in Wales will be supported.

Funding is not available for activity which adds value to an existing attraction e.g. where a charge is made to enter a premises and the food activity is an added attraction. 

Activity which adds value to an existing market e.g. Farmers Market will not be eligible for support.

New events will not be supported where they compete directly with existing well supported events (i.e. close proximity, conflict in dates)

All Festivals and Events should demonstrate their commitment to longer term financial security and non reliance on Welsh Government funding, to this end it is unlikely that any festival or event will secure funding for more than 3 consecutive years (subject to budget availability). 

Applications will be considered under three tiers of support:

Tier 1 – Funding of up to £5,000 at 50% of eligible costs. 

Regional events with a presence of at least 30 Welsh Food and Drink exhibitors and minimum footfall of 2,500 visitors.

75% of ALL exhibitors must be food and drink exhibitors, of which 70% must be Welsh Food and Drink producers to be eligible for support. Failure to meet this requirement will result in the withdrawal of funding support.

The whole cost of the event must be shown in the application form, however, only the following elements will be eligible for funding:

  • Cookery demonstrations – Promoting local / Welsh produce
  • Marketing / advertising materials
  • Stands / marquee costs


This tier will be operated via a streamlined application process, HOWEVER new events this year will need to provide a business plan* detailing aims, objectives and targets, management arrangements with details of relevant experience and track record, budget forecasts (income and expenditure projections) Support from other public sector agencies, for example: local authorities, details of other funding sources including private sector/commercial sponsorship, risk management, marketing plan, plans for achieving sustainability of the festival in future years, Welsh Language provision and Waste Management plans.

Tier 2 – Funding of up to £10,000 at 50% of eligible costs.

National sectoral promotional events with at least 40 Welsh Food and Drink Exhibitors and 5,000 visitors, providing an opportunity to showcase Wales Food and Drink. e.g. Events focused on a particular Welsh Food and Drink sector i.e. Seafood, Drinks, Dairy sector. 

75% of ALL exhibitors must be food and drink exhibitors, of which 70% must be Welsh Food and Drink producers to be eligible for support. Failure to meet this requirement will result in the withdrawal of funding support.

The whole cost of the event must be shown in the application form, however, only the following elements will be eligible for funding:

  • Demonstrations – Promoting local / Welsh produce
  • Sector specific activity e.g. Workshops to improve product   skills/knowledge


  • Marketing / advertising materials
  • Stands / marquee costs


This tier will be operated via a streamlined application, supported by a business plan* including detailed marketing proposals demonstrating how the activity will raise the profile of the sector on a National stage.    

Tier 3 – Funding of up to £25,000 at 50% of eligible costs.

Welsh Signature Festivals and Events with in excess of 70 Welsh Food and Drink exhibitors and minimum 8,000 visitors. 80% of ALL exhibitors must be food and drink exhibitors, as a minimum events will need to secure 65% Welsh Food and Drink exhibitors.

The whole cost of the event must be shown in the application form, however only activity specifically identified as providing an opportunity to promote Welsh Food and Drink on a National/International stage will be considered eligible, examples of eligible activity could be (but not limited to):

  • Demonstration area specifically promoting Welsh Food and Drink to visitors
  • Workshops to improve skills/knowledge in the preparation and service of Welsh Food and Drink.
  • Marketing / advertising materials specifically promoting Welsh Food and DrinkWe will seek to encourage new and innovative ideas in the promotion of Welsh Food and Drink. 


  • This tier will require a streamlined application, supported by a detailed business plan* outlining how the activity proposed will genuinely provide increased sales and presence for Welsh Food and Drink and how the festival will deliver against the Food and Drink Action Plan.
  • Business Plan requirements as a minimum: aims, objectives and targets, management arrangements with details of relevant experience and track record, budget forecasts (income and expenditure projections) Support from other public sector agencies, for example: local authorities, details of other funding sources including private sector/commercial sponsorship, risk management, marketing plan, plans for achieving sustainability of the festival in future years, Welsh Language provision and Waste Management plans.


I apologise if I’ve posted too much for you to read but I can assure you there’s much more. I’m flabbergasted by all the forms that have to be completed and I thought previous years were bad enough!

My feeling is that the festivals’ committee have had their input. Although I’m guessing is appears that the ‘big three’, Abergavenny, Cardiff and Conwy have been clever in getting the funding level on the 3rd Tier raised to £25k. But can someone please explain why? Giving just these three long standing festivals £75k could have helped seven festivals under the previous funding system. I was told by wag food ten years ago that food festivals must look to be self funding and today we are still being told that, but if that’s really the case, and not just more wag words, why raise the top level to £25k instead of £10k? How can that make sense? Why also is this select ‘big three’ then allowed with this extra cash boost, now only have to run with 65% of Welsh food and drink producers, instead of last year’s 75%? If food and drink is so important to Wales, then why are the big three allowed to take less Welsh food and drink stands? What is also worrying is that if one takes the percentage non-food stands and then add in the percentage Welsh Food stands, the criteria actually means that there need only be 52.5%* or 52% Welsh food stands.

*Depending on the level of food festival funding it seems the more Wag money you get, the less Welsh you have to be, ok only marginally.

I cannot believe that after putting together a food festival committee, bearing in mind I don’t know who is on these committees, but it seem that there is a lot of individual food festival interest being put forward and wag food have accepted their input. This is not only puzzling but in my view doesn’t help food festivals at all. Why not give the food festivals are clue as to when food festival funding is going to stop? As wag food has been saying festivals will have to fund themselves for over ten years, do the organisers actually believe wag food that this at some stage will actually happen? So wag food why don’t you tell food festivals now when their funding is going to stop?





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  1. bow

    March 5, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Who’d be an organiser?
    Unless you are well paid there’s not reason to put yourself forward for this load of red tape.

    How can the smaller festivals run themselves?
    They can’t to they’ll stop which is what wag seems to want.

    Let’s pander to the likes of Abergavenny who rejected Welsh traders for years but still collected sack loads of money they should have been self funding years back.

    Wag food have not lost the plot because they never had it!
    What a nightmare.

  2. Foodie 3

    March 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Gee whiz
    This is only some of the paperwork.
    Oh dear. Despite your efforts wag food are not listening but sure seem to be to what you call the big three. IF funding is going to be chopped again and IF wag food mean festivals have to sustain themselves then why increase the £10k from last year? That is what you’ve asked but bet you’ll not get an answer. But wag food as always make no sense at all.
    What you keep saying is about paying to get in which it seems wag food want to do otherwise how can you count footfall?
    You told me about an older couple wanting to go into Narbeth but they didn’t wish to pay, they wanted to see and buy from a few local producers but were told they’d to pay, as that includes listening to the rock music, watch the demos and there was free kids face painting.
    You talked to them and as they wanted nothing of the ‘attractions’ they refused to pay, and went to shop at CKs.
    I thought wag food dept couldn’t get worse, couldn’t make themselves more out of touch, but they seem to do it with ease and the big 3 festivals are in charge of wag still.

  3. BOW

    March 9, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Year after year this festival farce goes on all because wag food are happy to waste money and give out platitudes.
    IF FOOD FESTIVALS ARE GOING TO BE SELF FUNDING why stick the top money up from £10k to £25k?
    Kath has hit it spot on, it’s because the big three must be on the committees and that is what they want so wag food agree.
    Wag food you are, as I see it pathetic letting this happen. What you say and what you do don’t match up. £75k to those big three will pay for seven festivals. Wag’s been saying for years festival funding will stop, but they don’t mean it otherwise the big three at least would not be funded. Didn’t they all run last year with £10k? So why must they now have from a shrinking budget £25k? Because wag food are weak? Is that the reason? Because I can’t work out another one.
    It is a situation of wag foods own making and it stinks.
    If wag food had ever listen to Kath, who visits more festivals than most, we’d have a system that works. Just sending forms out now is appalling so unfair on those volunteers. I don’t think wag food staff ever visit festivals, unless it is the big ones. If they do sneak in they never talk to us. Perhaps that’s beneath them or they don’t want the truth from us, that could be it.

  4. Parrot

    March 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

    In fairness, why should wag food listen to me?
    Wag and wag food say they want feedback, but when I do that I get bullied. I give them feedback and my views are not saying what they want to hear. Again being fair, it is hard to hear you are not doing a good job. But listen and change things it is not that tough. But that’s my view, I’m giving them constructive ideas, but these are not what wag food want from me.

    Maybe if wag food have advisors or consultants, they are there because they say what wag want to hear. It would however be more helpful to have advisors who are not frightened of wag food, but there are not many of us around. Who after all wants bullying by wag food as I have had? That’s not constructive, not productive and helps no one and hinders many producers at the same time.

  5. bow

    March 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    When mistakes are repeated every year, then even in the civil service lessons should be learnt, but they’re not. The head of food should be ensuring his dept. improves but he’s not changed the festival farce, it just gets worse and worse.
    What is being said by Kath makes sense. I do festivals, she and Ian do festivals. They know better than most what is needed. They don’t just pander to their own one. Festivals are to run without funding, but that is sometime never it seems. But wag food decide the big ones can now claim £25k instead of £10k. Which idiot decided this was a good idea? And sorry I do think it’s idiotic.
    I’ll never understand why wag food can’t read this site and the comments left and act on them. If they did we would not have this stupid situation.
    Who decides that this department is fit for purpose?
    I guess nobody asks that question, but food producers do and in case you can’t work it out it’s Kath that is trying to improve food and drink and she now is bullied by the public servants that we pay. They are so out of touch with real life in their cushy jobs.

  6. cheeseman

    March 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    This report and the comments left say what I’m thinking and feeling.
    Apart from the fact I’m so angry that wag food can get away with burying their heads in the sand and let these big festivals get their own way. Whose in charge of this festival purse? £25k for them, in a time of budgets being cut left right and centre. Why should these festivals now get an increase from £10k to £25k?
    I see it that Wales has gone mad and the food dept has totally lost the plot. This funding is utterly geared to the big boys and small festivals will fold.
    Festivals fund themselves? What utter rubbish that statement is.It makes as much sense as talking to a 3 year old child.
    Scotland must laugh their heads off at our sad food dept.
    Kath can’t you sort this dept out?

  7. Parrot

    March 10, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    What do you expect me to do to sort that dept out?
    Can you not except that after ten years of trying to do just that, I’ve got to take on board they are past sorting.
    Wag food do not wish to listen and it does take ‘big’ people to say they’ve got it wrong. I don’t think civil servants are trained to say they’ve got it wrong, do you?

    You can take a horse to water but can’t make it drink and that for me sums up this department.

    I’ve spent 10 years trying to sort them out, but as you’re a producer, can’t you spend the next 10 years having a go to change them? You might fare better than me, in fact you probably couldn’t do worse than me!
    I appreciate your comment but that dept. to me is a lost cause – they will not listen they will not learn so we are stuck.

  8. foodie 3

    March 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    This fiasco strikes me as incompetance and certainly a waste of tax payers money – again..
    How can any public servant go on about budget cuts, tough times, festivals having to be self-funding in the future and authorise this? When is wag’s ‘future’ when fesitvals will not be funded? When Europe stops giving us back some of our cash?
    Why can’t we be told which fool decided big festivals can take £25k this year instead of £10k?
    How does that marry up with budgets being slashed and festival food budget being stopped ‘in the future’?
    This would be a joke if it was vaguely funny, but it is not.
    The joke for me is wag food but then they don’t make me laugh just cross.

  9. Bow

    March 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I don’t believe wag food have producer support, as they sure don’t deserve it. Welsh Country do though as does this site. I’d not have a clue waht was going on with Kath emailing me and this site to read.

    I’m stumped that a government dept can continue to ignore producers in truth can’t even talk to us by email.
    The persons that have backed us for what seems like for ever is Kath and Ian and their team.
    Yet for doing much of wag food’s job, Kath’s been harassed and bullied. Told by them she’s not a journalist, – well they aren’t civil and not our servants either. Kath’s then totally ignored by a dept that really needs her help. Wag food are incapable of reacting to this site in a postive way, though saying they want feedback, waht tosh, so instead this arrogant lot prefer to bully Kath.
    THey are cowards.
    I think they’re very silly because they haven’t got Welsh producers on their side. Actually we’ve never been on your side, but now we are against you because of your behaviour and attitude.
    Kath and Ian know what’s happening wag food haven’t. It’s as simple as that.


  10. Bow

    March 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

    It is not a tough job to sort out food festivals but wag food prove every year that it is too tough a job for them.
    Not sure why wag food can’t read and learn form this site and waht Kath says it seems that is also too tough a job for them as well.
    you wasted your time and effort K.
    they’ve learnt nothing if the big festivals can get £25k this year.

  11. Bow

    March 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    You have been on the case on behalf on Welsh food and drink producers since you started Welsh Country and that must be ten years ago. You’ve the only acorss Wales magazine that backs Welsh food and drink to the hilt. You are always constructive and are able to do so because you, Ian and the team talk to producers, via the magazine itself, this site, by phone, email and face-to-face at markets and festivals. I saw you at Haverfordwest trade fair yesterday and was told you were at Horeb trade food day the week before.
    I don’t know any member of wag food, well in truth I don’t know any of them anyway, but they are never out and about, so how can they know what problems we have should they care? It is sad that we now know the truth that our public servants don’t serve us and don’t give a hoot as long as they get paid they are fine.
    Why wag food cannot see the work you are doing for them is a mystery to me and other food producers.I’m disgusted we are in such a poor state in Wales, that’s my thinking, despite your efforts.
    Wag food I thiunk are a lost cause until someone in there wakes up and has a reality check and takes you on board.

  12. BOW

    March 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    How many years does it take wag food to sort out food festivals?
    Festivals must be self-funding what utter rubbish if the big ones can now get £25k. How does that make any sense.
    Wag food is making itself a laughing stock, if only this were funny instead of downright stupid.
    Why can’t wag food explain to us why they are throwing away more of our money at festivals that they have heavily funded for ever?
    Are wag food scared of the big boys? Cos they seem to be more pwerful than wag food this year.
    I’m also wishing we’d a union.

  13. Bee

    March 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Give me strength. Kath has been like a dog with a bone as regards food festivals. She has plenty of sound suggestions and has put these forward over the years. Her and Ian visit so many festivals and why those two are so different is they talk to food producers and listen to them, what’s right, what’s wrong what can be done to improve. It takes time, but there is no doubt at all that they’ve gained massive respect for doing that job.
    Yes it’s a job wag food should do but they normally pay an unknown tick box company to do just that.
    Festivals will never improve like that, but what do wag food care? It isn’t their business of future on the line.


  14. Honey

    March 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    In a long list of wag food shambles, festivals are near the top of that list.
    I have no thought at all what needs saying and to whom in wag food before they understand that they get funding wrong every year.
    Kath must feel she’s lost the will to live trying to get through to wag food. Producer comments make no impression either.
    Festivals must be self funding say wag, then this year up their money to a £25k max. How does that make any sense to anyone, but a civil servant, or one of the big three festivals whose power has now been shown to perfection? Are wag food scared of this big festivals.

    This is senseless, totally senseless
    Kath you’ve wasted so much time trying to show wag food the way, but they know better. Yes up top budget to £25k, that’s stupid to me it really is.But guess I see it as wag food looking stupid.

    Let’s wait and see which company will be paid a fortune to do another pointless evalaution. It’s obvious and now proved that evaluation means nothing to producers, visitors, or organisers, but it gets wag food’s boxes ticked, so all is right in their world that’s detached from our reality.
    Wish I’d not gone into food and gone into government instead.
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  15. BOW

    March 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Wag food have an inability to work out what producers require and need at festivals,
    the only person with the guts to take wag food to task on festivals, as well as lots of other problems, is the one to be bullied and harassed by them, poor Kath.
    Lots of producers are scared to talk to wag food, even if they knew who to talk to. Now after seeing what they have done to Kath, who’s going to say a word in public after the way Kath’s been verbally battered by them? What a rubbish situation it leaves us in.
    We are stuck with the people in wag food. If we believe that department isn’t fit for purpose, it makes no difference, we can change nothing. The only people we can talk to who will listen, understand and try and help is Kath and her team.

  16. Trader

    April 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    If after so many years wag food cannot sort out food festivals they are funding, can we then class this department as not fit for purpose?
    Ian and Kath have put so many suggestions forward but are always only ignored and then Kath is bullied. But these are the guys we see out and about and they chat to us an listen. Lesson to learn their wag and explains why you’re clueless as to what’s happening. But yiou ignore these guys and you should be consulting them.
    We’ve paid out loads and loads of cash for festivals to be evaluated, but all this does is tick wag’s boxes so more money comes from Europe. But as for helping producers and organisers, this doesn’t.
    So we all now know is it’s ticking boxes, not improving the lot of organisers and producers.
    More money down the pan, well done wag.

  17. Trader

    April 16, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I wish we were allowed to vote on government departments because I want them to know that I’ve no confidence in wag food and what they are doing, which is not a lot.
    Mid April now and no list from them on what festivals they are funding.
    Producers need to know and people need to know but wag food seem incapable of organising this. Every year it’s a shambles. We thought it couldn’t get worse with the wag food department, but my word it sure has.

  18. foodie

    April 17, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Kath has given wag food so much guidance on food festivals and rightly so as they are the ones visting them.
    Wag has spent I bet, hundreds of thousands of pounds having companies do festival reviews and despite all that, this funding lark gets worse.
    Wag food doesn’t deserve so many people putting on festivals for them.
    If festivals bring so much money into Wales then it’s about time festivals were run by a department that understands festivals or at least got some sensible advice to sort this shambles out.
    It is an utter disgrace that our food department still cannot come up with a workable system to help organisers and producers.
    The further scandal is wag allowing their favourite festivals to claim £25k this year. In civil servant brains that is a £10k increase from last year. How do these events get to be self-funding? It’s utter rubbish.
    Wag how can anyone working in food believe what you say when you keep doing the opposite?
    Kath can’t you help?
    what you say and what you do bears no relevance at all.
    Your left hand and right hand cannot possibly work together.
    I see wag food only as a laughing stock as do many producers.

  19. Janey

    April 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I’ve been neglecting this site and now playing catch up, with lots to read and lots to be cross about.
    Like others, I cannot get why wag food make such a big performance about festival funding every single year.
    A few have commented about the limit being raised to £25k from £10k, that’s totally uncomprehensible.
    Wag food are experts at saying one thing and doing the complete opposite. As has been said many times, you could not run a business like they play at running a department.
    It’s my take that this department isn’t fit for purpose, but my opinion will mean nothing, I’m only a producer.
    thanks K. for putting up so much news on here, you are the only lot bothering to keep us in the loop.
    What’s it you come out with? Communication is the key, what a shame wag food can’t understand what you mean. Give them more guidelines.

  20. Parrot

    April 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been trying for ten years so at a loss as to waht you expect me to do now?
    If wag food don’t want to listen to me that is their choice. They think they are right, I don’t think in many instances they are.
    But there’s no way I can make them listen if they don’t wish to do so.
    That’s how it is.

  21. bow producer

    April 20, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Give me strength to ignore a food department that appears incapable of learning from its many mistakes.
    One of the key ones is food festivals, as their criteria and the message festivals have to be self funding is just utter civil service tosh – meaningless.
    We are at the end of April and there’s no offical note of which festivals are being funding and when they are running. So it seems Welsh punters will not know either, let alone any food visitors to Wales.
    I struggle to understand why wag make such a banquet from a simple snack.
    From this site alone they have had so much guidance, so much basic help that’s contructive, but what a waste of time when this department is in my opinion too arrogant to accept they have got things wrong. Festivals need to know what they are doing, what funding they can count on, producers want to know what’s what too. And I guess Kath wants to know so she can tell all their bow producers and their readers.
    If any gov. dept can make a mountain out of a molehill it’s wag food.

  22. Parrot

    April 20, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Just need to correct a point.
    In Welsh Country magazine we try to give editorial to any festivals that are advertising with us. Plus we give regualar updates on
    I’ll not be telling my readers about festivals that are not working with us as that would not be fair to those that are!
    Our promise to our advertisers is always that we’ll help in any way we can.
    I’ve said before and I’ll say again, wag food will operate however they wish. As they hold the purse strings, they’ve no need to listen to any advice they don’t wish to hear.

  23. Farmer

    April 21, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Kath are flogging a very dead wag food horse on this one have seem to have been doing that for ever. You’ve no hope they’ll listen, not a chance festivals do not affect their income.

    Wag food have no interest in improving their festival operation, if anything it’s got worse under new people, which I didn’t think was possible.

    As long as they have us paying them, they have little interest in making the festivals work for producers or organisers come to that. It’s an ongoing, sorry situation.

    As for self funding festivals, wag is talking pie in the sky. All words and not just no action but they’ve increased the amounts some festivals can get this year. How is that self funding? From my side, that’s totally stupid and makes no sense but proves the bigger festivals rule wag food. Make them self funding wag food? All you’ve done is make yourself look very silly.

  24. Parrot

    April 21, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I agree with you but the alternative is to give up telling wag food they have much of it wrong.
    Self funding food festivals I was told that by wag very strongly ten years ago so annying to say the elast that some can now claim £25k max instead of £10k
    That might make sense in the wonderful world of wag food, but none of us on the ground understand it……..twas ever thus!!!!!!