Having decided at our first planning meeting in March 2014 that we are going to continue for another year in Blondin Park (which is an Ealing park but is edged by housing that has the Brentford postcode) I still find myself having to explain to people whose paths I cross why this decision was made.
In truth, I had the deciding vote and the decision was not taken lightly. Firstly, following last years event we asked all participants (stall holders, caterers and attractions) how they found the event, whether they would wish to return and if so did they have a preference to the location.
Caterers and attractions unanimously opted for Blondin (guess they all had a good day) but the response from the stall holders was a mixed bag.
Out of 100 stalls two people did not wish to be re-invited. Participants that originated from the Hounslow area generally opted for the park in their own borough as did the Ealing participants but most said that they did not mind.
After all the Brentford Festival provides an opportunity for them to showcase their works and get their name out into the public realm.
When it came to the committee meeting when all this information was put together the intention was for me not to vote. However, as there was an equal split I had to caste a vote so in the end opted for Blondin.
It was definitely easier to put on the event in Blondin last year, the support from both the park management, the local councillors and in particular the number of volunteers that came forward to help to make it work (never been seen before) and the simpler layout all helped towards this decision.
It also has to be said, whilst I have regularly heard that Hounslow would like the event back in their park, there have been no positive moves to work with us on this.
We do not always get things right and one thing we soon realised when setting up the event in Blondin is that the site is bigger than we had imagined and in one area in particular we had too much space.
The event team have now re-jigged this so hopefully everyone will see an improvement.
I am pleased that most of the event team from last year (Dave Whitty, John Chesters, Sara Ward, Virginia Fassnidge, Natasha Epstein, Rob Russell, Carol Lamb, Jan Jones and Keith Davies) are on board. Dave Viney, who was the musical director for several years had too many commitments this year and has handed over the baton (or is that only for conductors) to Elaine Samuels a musician.
Elaine is well known to us in that she performed at several of our festival events in the early years and is known by many musicians because of the open mike sessions she organises.
More details on the following link http://www.elainesamuels.co.uk/Brentfestmusic.htm but in particular, those musicians still wishing to apply to perform (it is not a done deal, slots are limited and if the 47 applicants who applied last year is anything to go by, we are always over subscribed) then this has to be done by the end of May.
We are also pleased to welcome our second new recruit Jacqueline McBeth who has an Event background whom I am sure will teach me a thing or two.
Lauren Walsh is also new on board who wishes to contribute to the youth element (being only 16 years old herself) and has already made some great suggestions which we are developing. Almost new (recently retired and has worked in the background over the years on the bar run by Friends of Boston Manor) is Mike Smith who will be taking the lead on the bar.
As an Event Manager it is always important to get people on board as early as possible so I was particularly delighted when Ben Madden, the MD from Thorgills the letting agents agreed to sponsor the printing publicity for the event www.thorgills.com in the form of flyers which are delivered directly to homes within both boroughs.
I am particularly excited that funding offered by Pathways http://www.yourpathways.org.uk, a charity working in both boroughs, we will be able to provide seating and tables for 400 people.
Might have to think of a rota system to ensure that everyone who wants it gets a chance to rest! Mind you, if we have the sunshine we had last year (can someone make this happen please?) then the grass is a good option.
Acknowledgement must also go to the Hounslow Chronicle and Ealing Gazette for agreeing to publish Diary of an Event Manager which will be written monthly from now on up to the event with a full programme of events prior to 7th September 2014.
So, who is on board already? We have written to all participants from last year. Stall holders have already started applying (39 in all at this moment in time - we have space for 100).
The dog show organised by S.I.T. Dog training is already well organised and the programme for the day already set. We are trying to get police dogs to attend but know that this might not happen if they have an operation in progress on the day.
The enormously popular Red Routemaster buses www.redroutemaster.com that thrilled so many have agreed to come back. They will provide two buses to ferry people back and forth to the event and also provide a display of vehicles within the event. Please note however, that although they are offering all of this to the event for free, we are currently looking for sponsorship to help towards a TFL licence for operating a none fee route on the public highway!
So if you can offer anything towards this please do not hesitate in getting in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org
John Wells a local enthusiast will be leading two walks, entitled A CLOSER LOOK AT NATURE around the wildlife area on the day (meet at main gate to wildlife area - where the start times will be shown - likely to be 12.30 and 2.30)
We have our second planning meeting on Thursday May 22 and will therefore be in a better position in June to provide up-to-date information about the event. So, if you wish to take a stall - charity or commercial, be a food vendor or provide an attraction to enhance the event or volunteer your time, we would love to hear from you via the website www.brentfordfestival.org.uk
So your diary date is 12 noon - 6pm, Brentford Festival, Blondin Park, W5 Sunday September 7 2014 (behind Boston Manor Road, Swyncombe Avenue and off Northfield Avenue)
Until next month