September has been a busy month for events… we’ve just completed our third woodland festival in three weeks. All of them new venues we hadn’t been to before and yet each event couldn’t have been more different from the last!
The weekend just gone we were at Harlow Carr in Harrogate for their ‘Trees and Wood Festival’ – beautiful place but sadly it wasn’t our audience! That’s the trouble with events… you never know what you’re going to get and it can really kick you in the teeth sometimes. You put so much effort into preparing, making stock, setting up the stall and in this case travelling backwards and forwards but if people aren’t buying there’s not an awful lot you can do – except give out leaflets and live in hope that it leads to a couple of sales through the website or likes on the Facebook page!
We decided to kip in the van Saturday night to save some fuel – had a walk round the gardens, found lots of mushrooms and a decent pub for a bite to eat… and a bottle of wine later it didn’t seem so bad!
It can be easy to doubt yourself… doubt your products… and wonder why you even do this in the first place. Thankfully there are other times which make it all worthwhile.
The week before we were at Elvaston Castle near Derby and we couldn’t sell enough! This turned out to be our best weekend yet for sales but not only that, we met some really lovely people, both fellow traders and visitors, who were genuinely interested in what we do. I was demonstrating my pyrography and talking to people about my artwork. I’m always happy to share tips and techniques and one gentleman said to me “if I get nothing else out of today it will have been worthwhile!”
It was the biggest of the three events but very well organised and we camped behind our stall… which we do like to do! There were a host of green wood-workers, carvers, willow weavers and basket makers… a stall cooking wild food in the woods, fire-lighting demonstrations, story-telling by the Green Man and many hands-on activities for the kids. And it’s all free, except for a small parking fee. The sun was shining, people were happy to be there and happy to engage with the stalls. It was an exhausting weekend but so rewarding in more ways than one.
The best event for us however was the first of the three… Major Oak Festival in Sherwood Forest… And yes we got to camp in Sherwood Forest!!!!
It was a fairly small event but the stalls were dotted about in clearings as visitors walked along the main route to the Major Oak.. and being in the middle of such an iconic ancient woodland was quite a treat. The evenings stayed dry and we were able to sit outside the tent with our little fire bucket, watching the stars and listening to the owls. The noisy beggars did persist in waking me up through the night but I let them off as I’m rather fond of owls!!
For a pair of tree-huggers like ourselves this was certainly a weekend to remember.
Looking ahead, next up this weekend is something rather different… Marsden Jazz Festival!
…After which I think we’ll be putting our feet up for a few weekends!
Until next time…