2014 FESTIVE FAIR? Feedback findings part 2: Improvements

With the aspiration of learning as much from the process of organising the 2014 FESTIVE FAIR? as possible I invited people to complete an online survey. Part 1 & 2 asked what worked and what would work better, the aim being findings informing and improving next years event. Part 3 & 4 of the survey enquired into ideas for future events plus other issues we’d like to see addressed. The results are fascinating and shall continue to be published in four parts over the next few days and weeks. A massive thanks to the 35 people who took part in the survey and everyone else involved. So, here’s part 2, question 2 .

2) How do you think the 2014 FESTIVE FAIR? could have been improved?

“It needed to be open for a fair while longer than it was, although I appreciate that this is down to the last minute cancellation and venue change and probably couldn’t be helped.”

6 out of our 35 respondents agreed the event needed to be longer. It ended up running from 1pm until 4pm which for many of us felt too short with many late comers arriving as we were packing down. As captured in the quote above this was due to a last minute cancellation from the West End Community Centre which left us without a venue 5 days before the event. The Polish Club kindly obliged at the last minute with the permission from the kind people who had booked the venue for a party that evening. Due to their time restrictions this was the only time slot available. It was also expressed that the main event and after party should have been closer together so ideally  the event would have ran on leaving a shorter gap before the after party began.

“The PA was really loud and meant you couldn’t really hear anyone talk. Quieter spaces to eat and chat in, or longer gaps between the music would help.”

8 survey participants articulated grievances with the sound. Mainly directed at the volume and lack of gaps in between acts. It was expressed that sometimes people felt rude if they were to walk around the stalls whilst music was on and that you couldn’t really hear anyone speak. One stall holder lost their voice shouting over it and asked for it to be turned down on more than one occasion but to no avail. There were also criticisms leveled at the quality of the sound as various technical difficulties affected live acts with Educated Madness’ debut performance being significantly disrupted. Finally, one of our respondents expressed that they would have preferred their to be less Hip Hop.

“it’s all about getting traffic who will spend money….the more the stallholders make, the more we can give back to the charity.”

9 respondents placed emphasis on the need for more people to attend and be involved and thus an improved promotions and publicity strategy which reflects that. In addition to engaging a more diverse cross section of the broader community, especially those that may not usually engage with Padley’s plight, we should aim to include more children and work with more individuals and groups to organise the event. Specifically it was advised that we needed more signage on the day pointing passers by towards the event with flyers out at least 1, even 2 months before the event.

“Stall space could of been planned a little better but was a great find at such short notice.”

The area of improvement that most of our respondents (11 out of 35) chose to focus on was the venue and it’s perceived inability to adequately  accommodate the event with a couple suggesting it should have been closer to town and one individual stating their view that the last minute change of venue may have cost us dearly losing us notable custom. The bulk of the preferences expressed desired more space for stalls, tables, seating and kids activities whilst highlighting the various problems ensuing as a result of it’s lack. When stall holders were asked to squeeze their stall smaller so others could fit in they weren’t always compliant and it felt as though there were lots of traffic jams around the room. Suggestions shared included better planning, specific measurements and maybe a limit to how many stall holders were involved. It was also acknowledged by a number of these respondents we’d all done incredibly well to hire such an excellent and relatively accommodating venue at such short notice.

“As a community we need to be more celebratory.”

Other ideas identified as missing from the 2014 FESTIVE FAIR? that may improve the 2015 event include a raffle, auction, free shop, film showing, more signage towards the food, the use of reusable plates, less smokers hanging around the entrance and something to take away with a list of all stalls/artists/performers, etc, that took part on the day. On the contrary, however, to the question in question one particularly appreciative punter responded with ‘In no way’ which was nice but with due respect maybe lacked a little imagination or application of critical thought. Thanks anyway.

So, what can all of us reading this take from what’s been expressed? What do we think are the most important lessons we can learn and what are the key questions that need to be asked? I’d personally love to know any thoughts or feelings that you have and would like to warmly encourage you to please leave any comments. We have so many experiences, skills and knowledges to share between us and the more we collectively organise, take action, reflect and grow together the stronger we become. I urge you to please get in touch, get involved and lets make 2015 our most empowering year yet.

Protect the Padley



£600 was raised by donations made on the day and deeply appreciated by the Padley Group who seriously need continued support. 100% of all funding to the Padley Group is due to be cut by March 2015 as the class war waging Tory government persists in implementing it’s entirely unnecessary and unjust austerity measures that amount to little more than a mass redistribution of wealth from the poorest and most vulnerable in our society to the wealthiest and most powerful. If we pull together, find strength in numbers, organise resistance whilst creating alternatives then we can change things for the better. If you’d like to support the Padley Group continue their invaluable work with some of Derby’s most deprived and socially excluded people then please consider supporting the Padley 4000 campaign and donating just £2 a month. You can set up a monthly online donation at the Padley Group Just Giving page here.

 For more information please visit www.padleygroup.com or contact Jan Noble on 01332 774480 or finance@padleygroup.com.

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