This review is based on my own opinion, I’ve attended a lot of family festivals over the years either in a working capacity or that as a mother.
Yesterday saw what was billed in the local new paper as Nuneaton’s biggest music festival in 30 years and was aimed as being a show case for “diverse local talent and raise awareness of youth culture” for me it sounded like a lovely family friendly festival, a little like the ones we are use to in our part of the country such as Godiva Festival and Leamington Peace Festival
From looking at their Facebook page there has been a mixed response but I’ve found that trying to read the posts is a little frustrating due to my own issues with ‘Text language’ I have also noticed that any criticism seems to of been taken as a personal attack on the event or its organisers and has ended up in what i consider a rather immature response or am I the only one who thinks name calling and bad language takes all back to the school playground? For me this seems a little odd but as its Facebook what else can we come to expect these days?
The event had used 3 types of media advertising: Flyers/posters, Facebook and press releases.
The flyers and posters had been around town and in venues for about 8 weeks before the event. This is how I got to know about the festival but being a mum to a very hyper child just glanced at the date and price.
Facebook, I think I received an event invite but relying on this to get the message out isn’t the most reliable. Most people are losing interest in the social networking site because of the drama or simply don’t have time to pay real attention to the event notifications as you tend to get bombarded with so many your brain just switches off.
I didn’t see the press releases due to the fact i do not buy news papers or get the free ones but have looked them up after deciding to write this review
So lets start with the basics
The price:The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t free entry! Something that seems to of caused a lot of contention.
The flyers stated the prices as £4 adult ticket £3 child ticket and £10 family ticket. This was also the same as the prices stated in the local press, the only place where it stated that it would be more on the gate was on their Facebook page yet no where did it say that family tickets would not be available on the gate or how much extra it would be. It turned out that on the gate the price was £5 per person regardless of age. In fact what I did notice was that the Facebook page was the only place where all of the information regarding the festival was set out in the Info section. There was a link to their site but no information could be found on there at all.
tickets at the stated flyer prices had to be bought from a pub and were available for about 8 weeks before the event giving some enough. time for some to get a ticket, however I feel that the fact most people are living hand to mouth at the moment wasn’t taken into consideration or the fact that some are not able to go into a pub. Not to mention the fact that no where did it state how much the price would be on the gate, or that family tickets were not available. I can not see why the event couldn’t be free, most family festivals of this scale are because then it opens up the event to people who may not be able to afford even the family ticket price of £10. As this festival was supposed to encourage acceptance of youth diversity and culture felt charging people the privilege quite hypercritical. Yes I am fully aware it was for charity and to raise awareness of something i believe strongly in, just like many other free festivals out there that are run over a few days and to a much larger and more diverse capacity. The ” it’s for charity” defence doesn’t work for me at all.
The venue: Our lovely local public park, it’s not very big especially considering the maximum capacity was for 3000 people. It was essentially split into two fields as you can see by the site map
The entertainment was spread between three stages and to be honest as I am not a fan of live music wasn’t really my thing. Don’t get me wrong I love music and found solace in the Wonkey tent with my hoop.
The line up: A good range of mainly mainstream style music and performances by local dance schools, karate groups, performance and art groups. There were some awesome alternative bands though that rocked the stages.
Mixed with on field music tents and entertainment that you would expect at any gathering such as this. Bouncy castle slide and a few other little fairground rides. These though we’re at a cost.
The Rules: There are always rules, with things like this there needs to be rules some I found odd and others acceptable
Facilities: There were 4 portable toilets one of which disabled….. Seriously 4 between an estimated 3000 over an 11 hour period isn’t enough with many deciding to use the bushes and anywhere else they thought was secluded. As I’ve noticed from some of the photos published today online these may not of been secluded enough.
The Bar: prices seemed very fair, a lot less money than some festivals I have been to. A small bottle of water was a pound which again is about the price of most festivals but gets annoying when that’s your only option.
My experience …
I didn’t agree with the entry fee as I have already mentioned, if you are going to charge then at least have free entertainment for all ages of children and abilities. I didn’t like the fact you were not allowed to take you’re own food and drink in. I have no issue with you not being allowed to take in you’re own alcohol as the prices were not bad and far too many people having access to alcohol is never a good idea. After spending £15 for me and my two boys to get in having to find extra money for over priced food was not ideal. If you are going to put such limitations into the festival then you need to cater for everyone. There was nothing there I could eat and giving the public no choice but to eat from them isn’t acceptable. Yes there was space out side of the event to sit and have a picnic BUT as you were limited to how many times you were allowed back in despite having a tight wristband on and already paying the entry fee this wasn’t practical, you were also NOT told about this in advance and it was not until i went to exit that I found this out. Another misleading thing was that on the site map it clearly showed the play area already in the park stating that this was free entry. Now to me at the time of receiving my programme it just looked as though that area was part of the festival. My huge main gripe of the day was when it came to having small boy with me. I had gone down in the morning and paid my entry fee so that I could assess whether or not it would be a suitable thing for him to attend. I noted a few sensory issues and so asked the man in charge if there was any chance we could be exempt from the limited entry. I explained that there was no way my son would be able to cope with being there for long periods of time, this was given the ok so i went home to fetch him. We got back to the festival and I’d assured him it would be ok for him and me to nip in and out when needed, we paid for him and I was given my second entry. Unfortunately I was then informed that the policy had changed for reasons out of their control and it was now a ” once you’re out you’re out” let me just say that I am by no means blaming anyone for this as I know how these things work and are not meant in a vindictive way, the organiser was nice about it but his hands were tied. It transpired that he could only cope with being in there for about 15 minutes until it got too much. I essentially paid £8 for him to have chips and a bottle of water. He decided to go and play over at the sand play area so I could have a bit of fun and me time. My goodness fun was had, I found the Wonkey hifi tent and just hooped to the tunes. For an hour or so I didn’t have a care in the world, i shall be searching these guys out in the future. Yes I have gripes about it but I wanted to at least have my money’s worth….or as close to it as I could. My eldest got a lot of enjoyment out of it, I did pay for his entry and food as he has a low income and lives hand to mouth on a daily basis. He got to hang out with his friends and experience things not usually found in our little town. I’m not sure I’d class it as a full family festival though, it had more of a young person and above type of event. My day there ended helping a young lady take a beautiful little boy to hospital who had fallen unwell during the day but that wasn’t anything to do with the actual festival. I am glad I left when I did though as it was already getting quite full of people excited for the ‘adult’ part of the festival, which really isn’t my thing unless I have a spot to myself to hoop and poi in.
As I mentioned earlier I know some critics of the festival have been slated so I want to clarify again that this isn’t an attack on the event. I fully understand how hard these things are to organise especially as its the first one in 30 years. The policing and security was spot on, I believe there was some trouble but you expect a certain amount in these situations as you get idiots in every town who seem to be just out to cause aggravation but this was dealt with quick and effectively. The stewards and other members of staff were lovely as were many of the people I met, I even made new friends. If I had known beforehand what to expect then I could of been more prepared but feel those odd few little surprises could of been better explained before hand.