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Posts Tagged ‘Narberth Food Festival’

Welsh Food Festivals

07 Aug

Welsh food festivals, give you the best of Welsh food and drink.

This is the list of Welsh food festivals being funded by the Welsh Government for 2017/18.  I have been asked to clarify my wording ‘being funded’ as the festivals listed are not being FULLY funded by the Welsh Government. The situation is that festivals are allowed to apply for some funding – the maximum this year is £5k  – and if the festival fits the Welsh Government’s criteria and wag agree that will be awarded the amount when all their paperwork has been sent into wag and verified. I’m more than happy to clarify that and sorry again for not knowing how much each festival was awarded this year.

Apologies for delay in posting this list but I’ve only just received them! Anyway better late than never!

Food Festivals 2017:

Caernarfon Food Festival

13th May

Wrexham Food Festival

13th & 14th May

Cowbridge Food Festival

28th & 29th May

Newcastle Emlyn Food Festival

10th June

Brecon Food Festival

1st July

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival

9th July

Clwydian Range Food Trail

Aug 2017 to Mar 2018

Big Welsh Bite

5th & 6th August

Cardigan River and Food Festival

12th Aug

The Denbigh and Flint County Show

17th Aug

Newtown Food Festival

2 & 3 Sept

St Fagan’s Food Festival

9th & 10th Sept

Abergavenny Food Festival

16th & 17th

Valleys Festival

23rd Sept

Narberth Food Festival

23rd & 24th Sept

Neath Food Festival

29th Sept to 1st Oct

Denbigh Plum Festival

7th Oct

Llangollen Food Festival

14th & 15th Oct

Gwledd Conwy

27th to 29th Oct

Llandudno Christmas Fayre

16th to 19th Nov

Hay on Wye Winter Food Festival

24th & 25th Nov 24

Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival

December

Knowing that Abergavenny, Conwy and Mold didn’t get Welsh Government funding last year, regular readers might be surprised that Abergavenny has both their food festivals funded this year as does Conwy. Please don’t ask me what is happening there this year as I have not got a clue! But I am told that if a food event/festival wished to apply for funding they can do so. My advice for what it’s worth is put your case forward in a sensible and professional manner  and hopefully you’ll get some cash!

I spent so much time last year asking about funding for the big three festivals, doing a freedom of Information questions, going back for more information but then still not getting what I thought was a satisfactory answer. Then I had to go to the Information Commissioners Office but then had to wait so long whilst they questioned the Welsh Government, that in all honesty you really would lose the will to live. Or in my case as a journalist, lose the will to keep asking questions, to then be blocked………………………….

 

 
 

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………………….?

 
 

Another Waste Of My Time

08 Jul

As Mike from Cwm Deri Vineyard was prepared to share his eviction from Narbeth – for update see post dated 17th June as Local Producers Don’t Get Priority At Funded Festivals – I thought you’d be interested in an update.

Both Mike and I have contacted one of his AMs and she is going to take his complaint forward, but was frnak from the outset, saying there was no likelihood that anything will chang efor Mike this year., which I understand. So my next plan of action was to ‘talk’ to wag food, although in theory I’m supposed to go through the press office. But I thought it worth a try and crafted a detailed email. I explained the back story on Mike and his long standing supprt for Narbeth. I queried the Narbeth committee’s reason to ‘vary the visitor experience’ as their justification for throwing Mike out and I suggested that variety could be achieved by the music, the street and childre’s entertainment that the event uses each year.

I still cannot accept that punters if they ARE surveyed, are saying although this is a yearly food festival, I still want the food stalls changed each year. If you bought some delicous cheese, jam, beer or wne last year wouldn’t you want to buy it again? Narbeth’s reasoning doesn’t make sense to me, but seemingly does to wag food. But in the interest of variety, Narbeth style, do you think the Devon fishcake man will be thrown out too?

I maintain as I have constantly done so, that wag food are not backing local professional producers, but instead is encouraging food miles. Which goes completely against the Welsh Government’s Policy. Wag food create their own Welsh food festival criteria, so perhaps ensuring the number of Welsh food and drink producers be raised to 90% and priority given first to local ‘professional’ producers. This would eliminate silly situations like this.

Narbeth cannot state that they are championing local producers when they have just thrown out Pembrokeshire’s local wine producer. 

The objectives of the Food Festival Grant scheme 2016 published by wag food state:

  • 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.

I am sure some of you will have seen a company called Wavehill doing some food festival evaluations, which of course we/wag food have paid for. Here’s a snippet from one of their reports:

Wavehill 14/15 food festival evaluation

  • An average (mean) rating of 3.6 out of 4 illustrates a high degree of enjoyment across the surveyed festivals. Furthermore, almost two thirds of attendees felt certain their awareness of local food and produce had increased as a result of their attendance at the festival that day, whilst a further 27% felt it probably had.
  • In addition, the FD was keen on evaluating the following elements:
  • Would the festival continue without FD support (to what extent is the festival moving towards a model that is self-sustaining)?
  • Is the event considered to be an exemplar of the Promotion of Welsh Produce to visitors in and outside Wales?
  • The quality of the event.
  • The involvement of Food Tourism Providers – are they Championing Local Producers? 
  • The number of Food & Drink Producers, who these producers are, in addition to the numbers of Welsh Producers.

Confirmation that the festival organisers had used the Welsh Government financial contribution in the manner outlined in their application.

Then I can go back to the former Minister of Rural Affairs, Elin Jones:

From Food for Wales – Food from Wales 2010 – 2020

Food is a basic necessity for us all, as well as a key industry. It creates vital employment and is critical to our security and wellbeing. It is a source of robust health and a celebration of culture. Wales is rapidly gaining a credible, national and international reputation for its innovative food and drink and hospitality sector. Thanks to our producers, our unique geography, climate and farming practices, Wales can boast of a range of high quality foods, from our iconic Welsh lamb and beef to cheeses and Welsh seafood. The food and drink industry is important to the economy and the people of Wales; the UK Agri-Food sector contributes up to 7% (£79.4 billion) of UK Gross Value Added. Through careful informed planning and working together it is vital that we increase this and I have every confidence that we can build on our success achieved so far to ensure a thriving, developing industry in the years to come.

There are complex and cross cutting issues around food, such as making sure everyone continues to have access to the food they need, which requires an economically and environmentally sustainable industry capable of withstanding global pressures and meeting the challenges that climate change presents us with. Food issues are key to us all as consumers, throughout the industry, and as a Government. Reconnecting with food and how it’s produced is a fundamental message that reaches out to all those engaged in the future of food supply in Wales. This Strategy sets the overall direction – it cannot deal in detail with every area of policy it will affect. As Minister for Rural Affairs for the Welsh Assembly Government I am keen for Wales to do the best we can to ensure a sustainable food system which meets our economic and ecological priorities. To achieve this we need to reach out to

all parts of Government to ensure we work together to share agendas and make better connections.

The food chain accounts for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions within the EU (17% of total Welsh emissions), and we all have a part to play in addressing these issues. Working together, we can look to readdress these imbalances by looking to source food locally, eat seasonally, and reduce food miles; consequently reducing carbon emissions. We also need to look to reduce our food packaging which contributes to waste and landfill and increase the creation of bio diverse habitats for wildlife.

From the same source:

This Strategy sets the overall direction – it cannot deal in detail with every area of policy it will affect. This Strategy will however act as a common framework to inform our existing food action plans, such as those for horticulture, red meat, organic, dairy, local sourcing, food tourism, and fisheries, and act as a basis for a delivery plan to implement our aspirations. This overarching Strategy is for ten years, but delivery plans will be set over shorter timescales.

From the same source:

Principles

  • Local and locality branded foods from Wales should be developed and promoted to markets in Wales, the rest of the UK, and more widely;

From the same source:

  1. Increasing knowledge about food in our communities will help to develop a stronger

food culture, which can stimulate the demand for good quality and locally produced food.

From the same source:

  1. The general principles of a low carbon diet are eating local, seasonal food, wasting less food, minimising energy used in cooking and storage, taking fewer trips to the supermarket, and ensuring that a balance is achieved on carbon intensive food such as red meat and dairy products.

From the same source:

Food and Tourism

Tourism provides an excellent example of an area of Government influence in which food can play a key role. Good quality food and food service can enhance the reputation of Wales as a leading sustainable

tourism destination. Provision of Welsh food at tourist outlets can promote economic development and boost environmental and cultural tourism. This approach can make for a tourist experience that is highly valued, encouraging the return of visitors to Wales.

The Food Tourism Action Plan encourages the use of food as a tool to increase the attractions of Welsh rural areas illustrated by the achievements of Monmouthshire and Pembrokeshire, which were the first two winners of the Food Destination Awards under the True Taste scheme.

In addition, research by the Mid Wales Food and Land Trust in 2006 concluded that, of the visitors surveyed, 82% stated that provision of good locally produced food was a very important part of their holiday experience and they would pay up to 13% extra to experience it.

From the same source:

(From Food Tourism Action Plan, Welsh Assembly Government, 2009)

CHAPTER 7

Summary of the aspirations and direction of the Food Strategy

1.Local and locality branded foods from Wales will be developed and promoted to markets in Wales, the rest of the UK, and the world.

Well the first surprise was I did get a response some two weeks later, the second surprise, well no it wasn’t a surprise, I got no help at all. Despite a few emails going to and fro, I was told my comments will be discussed with Food Festival Organisers when they meet with wag food. So that was a surprise as I’d no idea food festival organisers were still having meetings, but in fairness why should wag food keep me in the loop on that one?

Then I was told to take my individual points to directly to Narberth Food Festival. Well that was useful – not!!! Why is Narbeth going to answer my questions when wag food, the Paymaster, can’t be bothered taking up Mike’s case on the grounds that each festival is responsible for organising their own exhibiting area and food producers. This to me is a cop out, if wag food are paying, then shouldn’t food festivals be adhering to wag food’s policies? Does this not run along joined up government writing?

Wag food, the department that we pay for to promote Welsh food and drink, gives us Food & Drink policies, stating what must happen to promote food and drink in Wales, but then does little to fulfil them. These policies are only wag words, without any action. I’m stunned that wag food are telling me to talk to Narbeth.

Mike believes his feedback form might be to blame for his eviction, as he stated it should be professional producers at a fesitival and not a stand buying from the Cash & Carry and re-packaging stock. When I asked wag food if they saw the feedback forms they said no – but each event has to maintian feedback as part of their Quality-Systems and to maintain or better their producer /visitor experience in the future. So this proves that if organisers cannot accept constructive criticism, then traders must only put pleasant comments on feedback forms to ensure they get an invite back. So someone please explain how will feedback forms maintain or better their producer/visitor experience? Well obviously they’ll be another waste of time but again another area which wag food have ignored. So the outcome is that Mike has had to find another event, which is not only more expensive to trade at, it’s not local to him so his food miles are massively increased, plus he’s to pay for a hotel too!

To wrap up this post, I wasn’t sure that wag food would help, so it’s as I stated at the start, this is just another waste of my time talking to or at a food department which will not listen. Of course I’m disappointed/furious with the outcome of this scenario. But on a rare positive note from this post, perhaps I should just be grateful to have got two responses, such as they were, more like whitewash to me!

You couldn’t make this up, you really couldn’t…………………………….

 

 
 

 Another Wag Game Of Smoke & Mirrors

23 Nov

But the reply is my supposed answer to yet another Freedom Of Information question, ATISN 9881, the Evaluation of Food Festivals 2015 – 2016, yet it is another one that raises further questions. Follows is the Welsh Government’s response in full:
Thank you for your request which I received on 23.10.15. You asked for:
1. Which 6 Festivals are being evaluated and why were these 6 selected?
We do not hold any information regarding this point. To clarify, we are not carrying out evaluation of individual festivals. Those festivals visited are for the purpose of visitor surveys. The events selected this year were:
St Fagans – established event;
Narberth – well established event;
Newport – Recently established event;
Abergavenny – Large festival;
Conwy Feast – Large festival;
Beaumaris – New event.
The range of events was chosen for geographical spread.
2. Why has the policy changed in that not all funded festivals are evaluated
There has not been a WG policy in place to evaluate all funded festivals, and thus we do not hold any recorded information in response to your request.
To clarify, the previous EU funded food festivals grant scheme required the monitoring of all grant aided festivals. The EU funding for the scheme came to an end in 2012. In subsequent years a range of supported festivals have been visited for the purpose of conducting visitor surveys as part of the overall Evaluation of Welsh Government support for Food Festivals.

Now isn’t this interesting information from wag? Sorry, stop the sarcasm Kath. I meant confusing. St Fagans according to wag is an ‘established’ event. OK, but according to my records this festival first ran in 2010, without funding and then in 2011, again without funding. They did however obtain funding in 2013 of £7k. So let’s remember that in ‘wag’s world,’ St Fagans is an ‘established’ event. So let’s think about Newport which was selected for evaluation because in ‘wag’s world’ that’s a ‘recently established’ event, but according to Newport’s website their festival was 5 years old in 2015, so they too kicked off in 2010. According to my records Newport were funded £15k+ in 2011 and £8k+ in 2012.

It’s not for the first time that I’m puzzled about wag’s understanding of what’s ‘established’ and what’s ‘recently established’, but as I’m not a civil servant, perhaps I deserved to be puzzled. Wag say they chose the events for geographical spread, but with Beaumaris and Conwy both situated in the north, Narbeth in Pembrokeshire, Newport and St Fagans, both close to Cardiff, Abergavenny in Monmouthshire – is this really a geographical spread? Or has mid Wales just disappeared?

Just for further interest following more digging, in 2013 I understand Wavehill visited St Fagans, Abergavenny, Narbeth,  – can anyone see a pattern here? Then also Mold, Conwy and Hay

My next question, IF wag are correct, why did I see Wavehill at Cardigan food festival in August? Could I have been dreaming? Surely not!
For me it is so frustrating that Wag food constantly try to duck reasonable questions. My sole reason for continuing to ask them, when other more sensible people would have given up long ago, is that to Welsh Country magazine, Welsh food and drink is important. If wag food agrees that Welsh food and drink is important, then just answer the questions I ask, unless you have something you think is worth hiding, which is certainly how this appears.

Wag this is our money you are spending, so justify this spend please………………………………….

P.S.

Just heard from a producer who had a telephone call from Wavehill on Monday asking for views on food festivals this year. Proof if proof were needed for Wavehill, this food company did not trade this year and did not attend any Welsh food festivals. Now the question is, why is wag wasting OUR money paying Wavehill who are obviously not using tradestand lists supplied by festival organises this year? Second question has to be why on earth are Wavehill NOT using this year’s lists?

Now who said give up?

 
 

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.

 
 

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.

 

 

 
 

FOI 5995 – Welsh Food Festival Funding – At Last

17 May

Was it worth waiting for? I’ll await your views!!!!

It’s taken a lot of time and a great deal of effort to get this list and I had to resort to asking for it under Freedom Of Information Act, so I hope that you appreciate the effort involved!!!! I’m not sure that you’ll agree with Wag’s and Visit Wales’ decisions, but sure you will let me know by posting your comments or email me with your views.

My initial concern was that two events that run in early March Saundersfoot and a Swansea festival and will run again 2013 but still count as in this year’s budget have not been shown. So I’m asking if this is an error or if these events are running again next year. My other surprise is that Fish Week now appears in this budget taking out a whacking £31, 671. I thought that this event was funded under RDP for 2007-13 and last year received grant funding of £55,636, plus £30,711 from Pembrokeshire County Council, in 2010 grant funding was £77,157. I have also asked why Fish Week is now being taken from the festival budget.

In case you wish to know, 52 food festivals applied for the Food Festival Grant Funding Support for 2012/13  and to save you totting up, I’ll tell you that only 33 festivals were lucky enough to get funding, with some as always, appearing luckier than others. I’m interested to know if any of the food festivals got the amount of money they applied for. I’d also like to know how those in power wokred out the amounts they were going to offer each festival, but even I can’t be bothered to pursue that one!!!

I do wonder about the wisdom, or lack of wisdom, in that Newport and Neath have each been given £8k – £9k but they are  running on the same weekend, as it Brecon, though Brecon will obviously draw from Powys for producers. But do we really have enough quality producers to put on three good festivals?  Time will tell, but I do hope these three festivals, maybe more than most put some serious energy into their promotion and marketing. Traders you have been warned, please ask before you pay, because unhappy Best Of Welsh & Border producers I do not need!

Wag’s ‘Big 3’: Abergavenny, Cardiff and Conwy have all had budget reductions from last year, but 10/11 was the final year on a 3 year plan, funded under the Total Supply Chain Efficiency Funding. These all had huge increases from 08/09 – 10/11, for example Conwy went from £25k, to £43k to £41k and now this year gets £33,683.61. What continues to puzzle me is that wag has been sounding off for years that festivals must try to get to be self-funding and these three have the best chance for sponsorship, but they are still well funded as wag has now decreed that they have been awarded ‘international’ status which is an easy way of wag saying: “don’t worry we’ll keep funding you guys”…………………………..
Any further updates will of course be posted.

Name of Date Amount of
Festival Funding
Gorseinon Food   Festival 28-Apr £8,460.00
Riverside Food   Festival 20-May £2,249.00
Caerphilly Food Festival 26-May £9,753.00
Welsh Perry   & Cider Festival 1 – 4 June £5,260.00
Llyn Land & Seafood Festival 2 – 3 June £8,230.00
Gwyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn 16-Jun £7,133.80
The Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival 23 June – 1 July £31,671.00
Hay Food Festival 30-Jun £2,601.00
Llandysul Food Festival 30-Jun £5,644.00
Margam
Festival – Margam Market Day
01-Jul £9,889.20
Cardiff International Food & Drink 6 – 8 July £25,608.85
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Aberaeron 08-Jul £9,500.00
Eating Green /Cider Palooza Festival 12 – 14 July £5,000.00
Really Wild Food & Countryside Festival 27 – 28 July £11,963.77
Lampeter Food Festival 28-Jul £6,150.00
Carmarthen Food Festival 01-Aug £6,500.00
Cardigan River & Food Festival 11 – 12 August £10,400.00
Welsh Food Festival 1 – 2 September £6,225.00
Aberystwyth Food & Drink Festival 15-Sep £7,418.61
Abergavenny Food Festival 15–16 September £46,800.00
Narberth Food Festival 21–23 September £8,161.40
Mold Food and Drink Festival 22- 23 September £8,025.00
Feastival  (Bridgend) 28- 29 September £9,900.00
Newport Food Festival 5 – 6 October £8,105.97
Neath Food and Drink Festival 5 – 6 October £9,999.00
Brecon Beacons Food Festival 06-Oct £4,480.00
Anglesey Oyster Festival 13 – 14 October £3,098.00
Mumbles Oyster Fair 19 – 21 October £9,500.00
Llangollen Food Festival 20 – 21 October £4,000.00
Gwledd Conwy Feast 25 – 28 October £33,683.61
Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival 27 – 28 October £9,900.00
Hay Winter Food Festival 24-Nov £1,771.00
Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink 11-Dec £2,200.00

 

Wag’s list has now gone up on welshcountry.co.uk and of course it has been sent around our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, so at least some of the rumours which have been frantically doing the rounds, will now be quashed.

 
 

Festival Listing Received From Welsh Assembly Government

13 May

After working long and hard to get a listing of food festivals that Welsh Assembly Government, WAG are supporting this year, I’m pleased to tell you – we have now been sent it. To help all those that have been asking us for this news, you’ll find the full press release at the end of this post. For those of you supporting us as members of ‘Best Of Welsh & Borders,’ plus ‘Eating Out’ and ‘Stay Awhile’ you’ll have been emailed it this morning. 

WAG’s press release states that they are supporting 31 food festivals this year, with funding of £350,000. Last year they supported 57 festivals with a £529,125.70 budget. Although we are not suprised with a cut in  funding, this is huge reduction which has had a dramatic effect on the number of festivals going ahead in 2011/12. Visitor numbers have not been quoted for last year despite a food festival survey being undertaken.  Instead it states simply thousands, but with supported festivals down nearly 50% it’s not good new for producers who rely so heavily on these festivals as their main route to market. I find this situation worrying but how do you all feel? Please add your comments as I do enjoy your feedback, and don’t worry, you don’t have to give your real name or company, it’s private and therefore easy to be honest without worrying about any repercussions.

Interesting that after all this fuss, that WAG have sent through this year the amounts each festival is getting because if you remember last year I was told this inforamtion was not in the public domain. What rubbish. I have today got my offical response through Freedom Of Information Act – why I have had to go through all this effort to get it appears to be one of WAG Food’s games, and they have now said that this information in now IN the public domain. So yes we have made progress and I hope WAG are pleased with themselves for wasting not just my time but theirs too.  

I have been told by WAG that they wish food festivals to eventually be self-supporting, but how can this be true when many festivals are getting the same, or more funding than they have had over the last 3 years. It’s annoying especially when some of these festivals do have the means to attract decent outside sponsorship.  Does anyone understand how this festival funding sytem works?

WAG Press Release:

Welsh Food & Drink Festivals Funding List 

More than 30 food and drink festivals the length and breadth of Wales are between them to receive over £350,000 in support from the Welsh Assembly Government. The 31 festivals – large and small – feature a wide range of products and are an important showcase for producers and Welsh produce among who are many Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards winners.

Said Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, “I am delighted the Welsh Assembly Government has been able to continue to support food and drink festivals across Wales. During 2011/12 the festivals will collectively receive £368,521.36 in assistance, signifying their importance to the economy and Wales’ reputation as a producer of high quality and diverse food and drink. They attract thousands of visitors each year, and I look forward to being among them.”

Food festivals play an important role in the local economy attracting visitors and providing a showcase for producers. Indeed, it is estimated that the overall economic impact of Welsh food festivals on their host communities is annually as much as £20.3m. There is a positive knock-on effect on employment in rural areas too with around 1,125 jobs linked to food festivals. Food festivals in Wales have an important effect on developing food culture in Wales for both visitors and local people, raising awareness of the wide variety of produce available throughout the country.

Research undertaken by the Welsh Assembly Government over the last two years into the benefits of food festivals has shown a diverse range of impacts achieved not only economically, but also educating consumers about where their food comes from and the benefits of buying direct from the producer.

Food Festivals supported by the Welsh Assembly Government

2011

Gorseinon Food Festival (16 April) Gorseinon, Swansea:  £7,849.90  

Welsh Perry & Cider Festival (27 – 30 May) Clytha Arms near Abergavenny: £1,492.70      

Llŷn Land & Seafood Festival (28 – 29 May) Pwllheli Marina: £9,000.00   

Gŵyl Fwyd Castell Newydd Emlyn (18 June) Newcastle Emlyn: £5,089.24    

Hay-On-Wye Food Festival (25 June) Hay-On-Wye: £3,600.00   

Llandysul Food Festival (25 June) Llandysul: £9,074.18   

Carmarthen Journal Buy Local Food & Drink Show (June/Jul) Carmarthen Town Centre: £8,015.50   

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival (8 – 10 July) Cardiff: £37,500.00   

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival (10 July) Aberaeron Harbour: £9,500.00 

Lampeter Food Festival (23 July) University of Wales, Lampeter:  £9,516.25    

The Really Wild Food & Countryside Festival (29 – 30 July) Whitesands Rd, St Davids:  £9,800.00      

Big Welsh Bite (5 – 7 August) Pontypridd: £16,012.45     

Cardigan River and Food Festival (6 August) Cardigan: £9,995.00   

Haverfordwest Beer, Cider, Perry and Local Produce Festival (27 – 28 August) Haverfordwest Castle: £4,648.64    

Brecon Beacons Summer Fayre (27 – 29 August) National Park, Brecon:  £4,480.00      

Welsh Food Festival 2011 (3 – 4 September) Glansevern Hall, Welshpool: £7,500.00    

Gŵyl Fwyd Blas Tywi (10 – 11 September) Llandeilo: £5,612.69     

Aberystwyth Food and Drink Festival (17 September) Baker St, Aberystwyth:  £8,239.76      

Abergavenny Food Festival (17 – 18 September) Abergavenny: £52,200.00   

The Mold Food and Drink Festival (24 – 25 September) Mold: £16,100.00

Narberth Food Festival (23 – 25 Sept) Town Moor, Narberth: £9,999.00   

The Great British Cheese Festival (23 – 25 Sept) Cardiff Castle:£15,000.00   

Feastival (Bridgend) (30 Sept – 1 Oct) Bridgend: £9,950.00     

Brecon Beacons Food Festival (1 October) Market Hall, Brecon: £6,300.00   

Neath Food and Drink Festival (7 – 8 October) Neath: £9,999.00  

Anglesey Oyster and Welsh Produce Festival (8 – 9 October) Trearddur Bay, Anglesey: £2,875.00      

Gwledd Conwy Feast (20-23 October) Conwy: £41,000.00   

Newport Food Festival (28 – 30 October) Newport Town Centre: £15,171.70    

Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival (29 – 30 October) Cowbridge: £9,990.00 

2012

Get Welsh in Swansea Food and Drink Show (25 Feb or 3 March) Swansea: £8,004.00      

Saundersfoot St David’s Day Festival (3 – 4 March) Saundersfoot: £5,006.35