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Posts Tagged ‘Hay Summer Food Festival’

Food Festival Funding – Was My Time Worth It?

18 Aug

I daren’t work out how much time and effort it has taken to get the second list of festival funding from the Welsh Government. Trying to get this information has been, to put it politely, frustrating. Add to this I’ve no idea why wag food think publishing the second list of food festivals mid August achieves much for anyone.

I was told by the press office that I would be sent a link to this second tranche of food festival funding but that would be next week, however a helpful person in wag food and yes I did say helpful, told me yesterday that the list would be available on Thursday and it was!!! Think this comes close to wag food and I having joined up writing, but even though I suspect only a temporary basis, it was a great help. This list will of course be sent around all our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers as they have been the ones asking me questions.

This will surprise regular readers, but for once I was going to publish the list of food festivals in Welsh Country, but as our S/October issue went to press yesterday, that opportunity has been lost. But I am thinking now it’s perhaps better to let wag food get on with what they think works best for them. If I was a festival organiser, I’d not be happy, assuming the second list people have only just been informed, but as wag food have now put in a £5k limit then maybe they’d question why bother for the amount of paperwork they have to complete. But perhaps that’s just wag food being clever. If wag food continue to be slow to award any funding, perhaps festivals will either decide to stop their event or decide, somehow to do without any funding. As wag food want festivals to be self-supporting maybe this is their plan to achieve it. But will that help Welsh food and drink producers?

I’m aware that Abergavenny have not been pleased that their offering from wag food used to be £52k and now the maximum is £5k. So as this list doesn’t show funding to festivals such as Abergavenny, Conwy and Cardiff, where are they getting their funding from? These festivals have obviously decided against going to wag food for funding so have they gone to Visit Wales and the Major Events Unit for their cash offering? I’ve asked a Freedom Of Information request to get that information and when I have the answer to that one, I’ll let you know. My other query is as I was told this year’s food festival budget  was £160k but adding totalling this list it accounts for £85, 068. So what happens to the remainder? Meanwhile here is the full list of wag funded festivals:

Welsh Government Supported Food Festivals 2016
Food Festival Festival Date Grant
Cowbridge Food Festival 29th  / 30th  May £5,000
Newcastle Emlyn Food Festival 11th June £2,581
Hay Summer Food Festival 1st July £2,351
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival 3rd  July £5,000
Cardigan River and Food Festival 6th August £5,000
Big Welsh Bite 6th / 7th August £3,075
Menai Seafood Festival 20th August £5,000
Newtown Food & Community Festival 3rd  / 4th  September £5,000
St Fagans Food Festival 10th /11th  September £4,960
Gwyl Fwyd Beaumaris 10th /11th  September £5,000
Narbeth Food Festival 23rd / 25th  September £5,000
Margam Country Park Food Festival 24th / 25th  September £5,000
Newport Food & Drink Festival 1st October £5,000
Brecon Beacons Food Festival 1st October £4,750
Llangollen Food Festival 15th / 16th October £5,000
Llandudno Christmas Fayre 17th / 20th November £5,000
Hay Winter Food Festival 26th November £2,351
Portmeirion Christmas Food and Drink 2nd / 4th December £5,000
Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink 11th December £5,000
 
 

Food Festival Funding

20 Jul

I’ve totally lost count of the number of emails I’ve sent to the press office asking for a list of food festivals that wag have funded for 2016. It has got more and more time consuming over the years to get this information from wag food. But why you might ask, as I obviously do? Well I haven’t a clue, it’s something I struggle to understand. Wag food have an obligation to provide this information as they are spending public money, but they have no obligation at all to be helpful and professional about doing so. Obviously I can only relate my experience, but I can say that it is annoying and disappointing.

Apparently this year the most festivals can ask for – and sometimes get – a maximum of £5k from this budget. But now I understand that festivals can ‘officially’ apply for funding from other wag budgets. Something which in the past wag food has said never happened, as festivals could only go for one source of government funding. Regular readers will recall my trying to find out which festivals got funding from the Major Events Unit, more information which was touch to getand ended up with my having to do a Freedom Of Information question. Festivals can now apply for funding in full of for ‘selected’ areas such as waste management.

The first batch of festivals being funded as of 20th June wag are:

Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival, Cowbridge (29/30 May)

Newcastle Emlyn Food Festival, Newcastle Emlyn (11 June)

Hay Summer Food Festival, Hay-on-Wye (1 July)

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Aberaeron (3 July)

Cardigan River & Food Festival, Cardigan (6 August)

Narberth Food Festival, Narberth (23-25 September)

Llangollen Food Festival, Llangollen (15/16 October)

Hay Winter Food Festival, Hay-on-Wye (26 November)

Christmas Food & Drink Fair, Abergavenny (11 December)

This is the first funding tranche as the official closing date for festival funding is 14th July. Festivals should then know two weeks later, around the 28th if they have been successful or not. As to when I’ll get details of this second tranche, I wouldn’t even hazard a guess.

Each year I say things can’t get worse getting information from wag food, but I’m constantly proved wrong, so thanks wag for a lack of communication, yes even to the press. All I want to know is which festivals wag food are funding, how much they are getting, which festivals have applied and not been successful. I like to know this information and I say early because we often put information on welshcountry.co.uk and welshfoodbites.co.uk. As a company we always also send this food festival information to all our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, firstly because wag food don’t do so and secondly because our producers are interested to know who gets what, which is fair enough as it’s our money. So I get this list last week of nine festivals that have been funded and four of them have already been and gone!

Food festival funding was a question I got asked about on Monday at the RWAS, but I could only relay the info. I’d got however did suggest producers could ask wag food staff. Of course I was being silly as it seems like me our producers have little idea who wag food staff are.

Wag food must have their reasons for changing the food festival funding again, but they are reasons they are not sharing, purely because they don’t have too, rather than no-one would be interested. But to only get the first list of festivals mid July is not a great deal of use. Yes of course it makes me cross when Welsh Country magazine set out its stall – sorry poor pun – to promote Welsh food and drink. I don’t know which festivals applied and got rejected. I still don’t know how much the likes of Abergavenny, Cardiff and Conwy festivals have been funded this year either. Perhaps wag food think I haven’t a right to know this information, but if they don’t tell me then I’ll have to send through another Freedom Of Information question. But why should this be necessary?

I was further insulted by wag food last week when they didn’t even send me the press release relating to food festival funding, although it was sent to other Welsh media! This is despite their promise that Welsh Country magazine would receive all food and drink press releases. Welsh Country magazine, the pan Wales magazine that has supported/promoted Welsh food and drink for over a decade is left off wag food’s press mailing list, who would believe that?

Do you think I should take this latest insult personally………………….?

 
 

Food Festival – Approval Of First Applications

06 May

I asked the Welsh Press Office again yesterday for the first list of food festival funding and have been told – again- that I’ll get a Press Release when they issue one. But as I keep explaining, it’s the facts and figures I’m interested in, much more than Welsh Assembly spin in a press release.
So follows is the first list I’ve received:
Tier 1
Approved
Caerphilly Food Festival 09 May £5,000
Wrexham Food & Drink Festival 16-17 May £5,000
Welsh Perry & Cider Festival 22-25 May £5,000
Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival 24-25 May £5,000
Hay Summer Food Festival 27 June £1,701
Cardigan River & Food Festival 08 August £4,995
Menai Seafood Festival 29 August £4,634
Narberth Food Festival 25-27 September £5,000
Mumbles Oyster & Seafood 02-04 Oct £5,000
Newport Food Festival 03 October £5,000
Llangollen Food Festival 17-18 Oct £5,000
Hay Winter Food Festival 27 November £1,701
Portmerion Food Festival 5-6 December £5,000
Abergavenny Xmas Food Festival 13 December £5,000
Tier 2
Approved
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival 05 July £9,335

All I can say at this stage is that if anyone knows how to make one of their own systems more complicated, it has to be wag and wag food. Welsh food and drink is supposed to be high on wag’s agenda but if that’s the case why is this system now so comlicated? I’m interested in knowing how much these festivals applied for but as I’ve not been able to get the facts and figures I require, I’ve sent in a Freedom Of Information question. My response is due 20th May and after that the reply will be posted on welshfoodbites. I do though wonder if getting £1,701 in funding is worth all the paperwork and box ticking wag food require, but seemingly it is for some festivals.

 
 

Food Festival Funding 2014

16 May

Funded food festival list from wag.

20th April Broneirion Food Fair, Llandinam

£1,889

26th April Gorseinon-Swansea Food Festival

£7,500

10th May Caerphilly Food Festival

£8,264

17-18th May Wrexham Food Festival Guild Hall

£8,000

23-26th May Welsh Perry & Cider Festival

£6,271

14th June Gwyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn Centre

£3,938

28th June Hay Summer Food Festival

£2,117

11-13th July Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival

£10,000

13th July Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival

£9,560

26th July Lampeter Food Festival Lampeter

£6,653

2-3rd August Big Welsh Bite Rhondda

£8,079

16th August Cardigan River & Food Festival

£6,617

6-7th Sept Newtown Food & Drink Festival

£4,900

6-7th Sept St Fagans Food Festival

£9,300

20-21st Sept Abergavenny Food Festival

£10,000

20-21st Sept Mold Food Festival

£9,000

26-27th Sept Feastival Bridgend

£5,500

28-28th Sept Narberth Food Festival Narberth

£8,730

3-4th Oct Neath Food & Drink Festival

£9,952

4th Oct Brecon Beacons Food Festival

£3,265

4th Oct Newport Food Festival

£6,289

11-12th Oct The Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Produce Festival

£2,941

18-19th Oct Llangollen Food Festival

£5,000

23-27th Oct Mumbles Oyster Festival

£5,000

25-26th Oct Gwledd Conwy Feast

£10,000

29th Nov Hay Winter Food Festival

£1,746

5th – 7th Dec Gwyl Fwyd a Chrefft Portmeirion

£6,300

14th Dec Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair

£7,500

Wag this year have only funded 28 festivals and as you’ll have already read on a previous post, funding has been cut – again. But never mind the Minister, Alun Davies,  is still saying or spinning, he’s for Welsh food and drink – well that’s good to hear but I’ve yet to believe it.

I’m not sure how much paperwork is entailed when a festival has been finished for the organiser and the committee, but as this is for wag food to tick more European boxes then it will be a fair amount, that’s for sure. But if I’d only been offered £1,899 or £1,746 I’d be so tempted to look for funding and support from elsewhere, bearing in mind wag food insists on recycling, and everything  bi-lingual, which of course doubles print costs. and so it goes on. Food festival organisers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but what in my mind is most hurtful is that there’s really no genuine support for them, bearing in mind that many of these super people are volunteers.

I expected, as in previous years, that I’d be sent from wag food a full list of food festivals, including the dates, the amount offered and also the amount asked for. Well, as you are aware wag food cannot communicate to me by email or telephone, but this year it has taken many, many emails to get as much information as is posted above. The missing link is how much festivals asked for and if any festivals applied and were turned down. But to get that info I’ve had to do yet another Freedom Of Information question and to wait for 20 days for a response. Now who said things were improving in wag food under the new regime? Oh yes, I remember, it was a member of the wag food team…………………………….what a surprise ………………………………………

 

 
 

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.  

 

 
 

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.