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Hop Festival Blues

Posted on: September 12th, 2013 by Jules
Whitstable Times 120913

This article appeared in the Canterbury Times series of newspapers.

Last month I took interviews on Whitstable’s Oyster Festival from the traders whose stall fees finance the event. You can listen to them on www.pressupgroup.com SCOFF & QUAFF  September 3rd show. The feedback was less than positive from stall holders complaining of a doubling in fees, chaotic organisation for loading and unloading and a narrower range of artisan stalls.

I’m sorry to say the view from Faversham’s Hop Festival was no better. “It used to be our biggest and best festival of the year but not anymore,” said Corinne Goodman, owner of Corinne’s Creative Kitchen, which supplies home cooked curries and Indian meals .

So what’s changed? Here’s Corrine’s perspective:

  •  The cost is a bit high and prohibitive to some of the local businesses.
  • There were a lot more people selling food and fewer people buying, so takings have dropped drastically compared to three years ago. It is still worth us being there, but only just. It does not help that we are in a different location every year and we get people looking for us and some never find us.  I tend to use the event to talk to people and get new people to sample our products.
  • A lot of other festivals, such as the Chilli festival that we do, keep growing year on year but the Hop festival seems to have plateaued out. We will be at Challock on Sunday the 8th. This is a very big event with quite a large footfall. Even so, the costs to traders have stayed down,  (unlike the Hop Festival which doubled their prices in a year), plus Challock keeps a map of the traders and every year you get your same pitch so people know where to find you, and as a result your takings can grow. It’s difficult as we know that the festival is organised by volunteers & so we don’t like to criticise , but improvements could be made

What’s your business perspective on the Hop Festival in Faversham? Tweet me: @JulesSerkin. Tune in to The Business Bunker 1-2.30pm LIVE every Tuesday www.channelradio.co.uk  or attend a Tweetup www.KentBusinessTweetup.co.uk  Canterbury, Whitstable, Faversham or Ashford. Listen to The SCOFF & QUAFF show Live Tuesdays 11-12 – food news for Kent.

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