I have now led the Belper Goes Green teams through 5 years of planning, doing, tweaking, reviewing and making every effort to make our festival the best it can be.
The first in 2013 was hurriedly put together and was much smaller than the event it has become. It was chilled, peaceful and wonderfully enjoyable. Burn out followed in 2014 with insufficient volunteers feeling the stress of an expanded event. Still, it was another huge success. We vowed to widen the volunteer base of those doing the organising and working on site over the weekend. There were successes again coupled with steady growth in 2015 and 2016.
The growth has not been in leaps and bounds but has almost imperceptibly crept up on us. Volunteer numbers have gone up but the ultimate responsibility has largely landed on the shoulders of one person.
Responsibility for the festival needs to be devolved to a wider group and shared out. That could not practically happen with me being part of that team. So, I take my leave of organising Belper Goes Green although I will assist the Transition Belper trustees in assembling the right team to organise the 2018 festival and beyond. I will also put together an operational manual so that newer members of the team do not feel the need to reinvent the wheel.
One thing is clear though – if a sufficiently committed core team cannot be gathered together then there will be no Belper Goes Green next year.
If you would like to be involved either email firstname.lastname@example.org or come to the next Go Green cafe at No 28, Belper Market Place on Saturday 24th June between 10 am and 1pm.
All that is left for me now is to thank everyone who has helped Belper Goes Green especially as we have grown:
- All the artistes and performers who have given their time and talent so freely.
- Tom Stone and the team at Node 56 who have provided staging, pa systems, lighting, sound engineers, gantries, storage for tents and umbrellas, lots of running around and responding to multiple requests, sometimes though they conflict.
- Tom Dixon and V3 Power who have enabled us to run two stages with renewable energy as an example of what can be achieved with a few solar panels and a couple of bikes.
- Belper Rugby Club who have bent over backwards to be a positive partner in working towards the smoother operation of a growing event.
- Amber Valley CAMRA for running the beer festival that helps our popularity no end. And the beer! Also for helping to deliver thousands of flyers and hundreds of posters.
- Ann-Marie McMillan and the Derbyshire Toy Library who have helped our growing reputation for being proactively child and family friendly.
- Our super creative community from Emma Parkin’s junk flowers and willow bee hive to Carole Beavis’s willow sculptures and stone balancing to Christine Thomas leading the collective effort to produce the Station mosaic.
- Anne Clark who organised the Fun Palace and everyone who has given up their time to run workshops, give talks, lead discussions or be a book in the Human Library.
- Those who have freely lent equipment including John Nelson bringing a lorry, tents from Veggies, Northern Green Gathering and Kim Kerry, access steps from the Village Inn at Marehay, builders bags from Buildbase, chairs from Friends of Belper River Gardens, staging from Belper Arts Festival and, of course, Belper Town Council for their market stalls and gazebos plus the help to erect and dismantle them.
- Lynne Henley and the Site Decoration Team who produced the decor circles, willow flag trees and the greenery and creatures to decorate the solar stage. You brightened up the festival site.
- Our sponsors and particularly Central England Cooperative who have given us steadfast support over the years. This year joined by Tribe Holdings to replace previous sponsorship from Glow Worm or Vaillant. It would have been difficult, this year, to have asked them again whilst vocally opposing their plans for housing at Bullsmoor.
- The team who started organising in September and kept going to the end; Richard Bett who took on organising the entertainment in its entirety after Mike Jones dropped out (and thanks are owed to Mike for all his previous work), Mick Hepworth for doing all the stall and camping admin, Jo Kirk for taking notes, Mark Creed for being Mr Health and Safety, Tony Cooper for tweaking systems and looking after the money, Dick Watson – Mr Recycling – for organising the rubbish end of things and volunteering to clean the portable toilets, Ed Sills for looking after the merchandise, Tony Webster for organising films, talks and human libraries and Adrian Rochford for being our builder in wood and everyone else who contributed.
- All the volunteers who came and put it all together – too many to list but thank you all.
- Transition Belper’s trustees and their unstinting rock solid support and confidence.
- You, the public who have turned up in your thousands to make all the hard work worthwhile.The individuals and organisations who don’t quite fit a category above; Pete Castle, Foundation Derbyshire, Nailed, the Queen’s Head and many more.
- My partner, Lynne for tolerating the time I’ve spent in front of my pc, being a bouncing board for ideas, helping getting organised and generally supporting me.
It is a long list that, apart from showing gratitude, demonstrates the huge range of people and organisations involved in putting on one of the best weekends to be had in Derbyshire.
Now, I’m told, my only other job is to set the dates for next year. Well, someone has to order the weather!