Report on Bristol VegfestUK, 25-27 May

Report on Bristol VegfestUK, 25-27 May
Claire & Daniel on the stall, Saturday

A report from Peter Simpson, the Club Secretary:

The 2012 Bristol VegfestUK was a 3-day event but there were options to book just 1 or 2 days so from previous experience we thought the Saturday and Sunday would be the best days for attendance. The cost for a stall on the Friday was not lower and with additional costs it would not have been an expensive extra day. The previous two years we have arranged our own gazebo but conditions were far from ideal at times and the organisers decided for the 2012 event to add a further large marquee for the smaller stallholders so we booked our stall here. We were fortunate to back onto the perimeter of the marquee giving us potential display space. It was however close to the music stage so with concerts scheduled for late afternoon / evening we had to bear with it.

Trade started slowly on both days probably because the main marquee was closest to the festival entrance. The interest in our stall picked up later and sales were brisk for a period. We focused on compiling a list of potential local runners for training and events with Daniel our main contact and Jenny our North Somerset contact. Both Daniel and Claire covered the stall early afternoon, both having knowledge of the local area which was useful. I was grateful for the assistance of Alison (a regular from Edinburgh) who kept me company from 3pm until the end of the day at 8pm, enduring the loud music later. Not to forget the contribution from David Arnold giving publicity for the club away from the stall for most of the day.

I was not in the best of health leading up to the event, catching a cold after overdoing the training so hopefully did not pass it on. The long first day was exhausting. On the 2nd day there was some improvement and we had lots of volunteers with Daniel returning for another 3-hour slot, also Helen & Cedric and Jenny were all there for the afternoon and Dave Arnold was on hand for most of the day and helping to pack up. Trading was again slow for the first few hours followed by a brisk period of sales. Thousands of people visited the event on both days mainly for the evening concert, a small number took time out to browse the stalls. On both days there were many other members who visited the event, some meeting us for the first time after joining recently.

We also had a presence on our stall for the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary run by our honorary member, Fiona Oakes who was visiting the festival this year, in particular the Sunday. Fiona was taking the opportunity to publicise her achievement at the Marathon des Sables in April when she completed 154 miles over 6 days in the Sahara Desert. A talk was arranged at short notice supported by VRUK but in the end thanks to the interest shown by the audience with lots of questions, Fiona covered the allocated one hour slot. Maybe next year VRUK will arrange a talk with assistance from our members.

The hot weather led customers to buy vests with 11 purchases over the weekend otherwise some sales of most items. The takings for the event were similar to previous years although with a marquee stall the costs were higher than a gazebo. Recruitment of new members was a little disappointing but on the back of a record membership at this time of year it was acceptable. There were also some renewals. Given the sales of kit to non-members and the large number of contacts compiled, there is the potential for new members later from our stall at Bristol VegfestUK.

Thanks again to all of our volunteers who make it a special visit every year not just for the business end.

Peter Simpson
Club Secretary