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About the Hop Festival

About the organisers

Faversham Hop Festival is run by a not for profit company called Community Heritage Events Ltd, which is limited by guarantee and organises the festival under contract from Swale Borough Council. Many of the current team have been part of the festival in some form for the last 10 years and it consists of 11 members, most of whom combine the festival organisation with full time jobs and families.

The directors of the company are part of that team and take an active role in the festival’s creation.

John Payne – Chairman, accounts & stage manager, Colin Jones & Jodi Crush – fundraising and media, Pat Bacon – volunteers & 150 Club, Chris Oswald Jones – Statutory information co-ordinator, Alison Reynolds – fundraising, 150 club, Hannah Perkin – volunteers, Josh Rowlands – event programme.

The 3 non board members of the team are

Wendy Simpson Brown – Stalls booking and organisation, Bill Fowler – Professional event manager, Rachel Wynn – Company Secretary and administration.

During the few days before and the festival weekend itself we work with a group of volunteers who help with tasks such transport, selling merchandise, marquee assembly, selling programmes, walking the festival with collection buckets and distributing hop bines. We are always looking for more people to assist over the weekend in short 1-2 hour shifts.

Apart from providing a fantastic weekend for all the visitors to this long running event, the main aim of the organisers is to make the Hop Festival a family friendly event and as safe and secure as possible. Under the direction of the council’s Safety and Advisory Group the team ensures that all services at the festival are supplied by professionally certified contractors to meet the high standards expected of an event of this size.

Our vendors also meet high standards, being required to carry public liability insurance as well as level 4/5 hygiene certificates and TENS where applicable. We are also introducing as many green measures as we can into the festival in conjunction with Swale’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Project Officer and Plastic Free Faversham, which includes use of recyclable packaging and encouraging our visitors to use public transport, but we know there is much more to be done on this issue.

Funding

The contract to run the festival is zero value so there is a lot of money to be raised each year to cover the costs and maintain its “free to all” policy. Fortunately, we have two mainstays of support from our principal sponsors, Shepherd Neame and Swale Council, but we are very aware that they cannot justifiably fund the entire cost of the event which is now around £100K. So, each year we embark on a fundraising mission to raise as much money as we can simply to cover the cost of the festival. Most years the event breaks even but it is our goal to form a sustainable longer term relationship with a larger spread of sponsors which will enable us not only to have a small fund ready for the following year but to be able to contribute to local causes. We are in the process of applying for charitable status which should help this effort and the company’s accounts can be viewed at www.companieshouse.gov.uk. It is also worth noting that outside of sponsorship contributions from those businesses mentioned on our sponsorship and donations wall, we receive no share of the revenue generated from festival trading either during or after the event from visitors.

Where?

Finally, a word on the festival itself. There is much confusion about what is part of the festival and what isn’t. The official Faversham Hop Festival covers the area of Preston Street, West Street East Street and the central car park and runs a festival camping village and parking facility at the Abbey School. All stalls in those areas are placed there by the festival. Faversham Market runs its own area over the Saturday and Sunday of the festival and Shepherd Neame pays for and runs its own stage and bar in Court Street, although we do supply the music for that stage. The festival’s own stages are in Preston Street, the Market Place, West Street and the central car park alongside the children’s area and food court. The official festival runs from 10am to approximately 5.30pm and the team has no input into or control over any music or vending practices in any of the town’s public houses or traders whether inside or outside either that footprint area or the times mentioned.

The event is very much a community effort with input from Faversham Markets, Faversham Town Traders, Shepherd Neame, Faversham Town Council, The Faversham Society and Swale Borough Council along with assistance from local musicians and other town businesses.

If you would like information about any aspect of the festival that you feel has not been included here, please contact us on 01795 700132 or email adminsupport@favershamhopfestival.org

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