Back in 2014 I got to know a bit about the Vegan Festival UK and this year I spoke to Louise Pinchen again about the 2016 edition and all its changes. Besides supporting the event I’ll be also speaking in all events about Raising a Vegan Child. Looking forward to it!
It’s being two years since I’ve interviewed you about the first edition of the Newcastle Vegan Festival. Tell me the main changes from that edition to this year?
Yes, our first ever vegan festival was held in 2014 which was Newcastle vegan festival, our first festival was an amazing success and from then till now we have two more festivals expanding into Sheffield and Edinburgh. This year we have three festivals over four days and looking to continue to expand next year. Newcastle vegan festival is being held on 7th may, Sheffield vegan festival is held on 23rd July and our two day Edinburgh vegan festival is being held on 20th and 21st August 2016.
Vegan Festival UK now happens in three different cities in the UK: Newcastle, Sheffield (first edition) and Edinburgh (second edition). What made you expand the event?
Newcastle we decided to continue as this event was an amazing success in the first and second year, and this year we are holding the third annual Newcastle vegan festival. Last year we held Edinburgh vegan festival which was the first ever large scale vegan event to be held in the whole of Scotland, the reason we decided to branch into Edinburgh was because at our first Newcastle event a lot of people had travelled from Scotland as we were the nearest city to Scotland to be holding a vegan festival and a lot of the visitors asked if there would be a possibility that we could hold an event in Scotland and so we did. After the first ever event we held in Edinburgh last year it was an outstanding success and this year we are holding a two day event due to last years success. A lot of people attend our events from all over the UK and some further afield, we are always looking for new places to expand and Sheffield had been mentioned a few times as there is not a vegan event in Sheffield, after a lot of planning we decided to hold an event in this city, the feedback we have had so far has been amazing and we are looking forward to holding an event in this great city in July.
Organising a festival requires a lot of work, what are the main difficulties in your opinion to set up a vegan event like this?
There are a lot of difficulties along the way it is never straight forward and there will always be challenges you face along the way. There are many different challenges as you have so many different people that you are responsible for from exhibitors, volunteers and visitors. As I run this festival myself it is very hard work and making sure everyone knows what they are doing and that everything runs smoothly. There are many unforeseen challenges that go on behind the scenes and something like these events take months and months of planning, however in the end it is all worth it to have a amazing event and a great day for everyone to come together.
The festival in Edinburgh is the only one that happens in two days. Why?
Due to demands of our first event last year in Edinburgh a lot of the feedback we received from visitors was that we should make it a two day event as a lot of people travelled to this event and were in Edinburgh for the weekend. We took on board all comments and then went from there. This is not saying that we will not have any other festivals over two days this is something we are definitely looking into.
What are the most positive aspects of Vegan Festival UK in your opinion?
There are many positive aspects of running vegan festivals, something I have said previously that one of the great outcomes is just seeing it all come together, having everyone under one roof together promoting veganism and having a great day out with their friends and family the atmospheres are always great and upbeat. Another positive aspect is our festival has gained attending from celebrities such as Wendy Turner Webster who is actually a special guest at our Newcastle vegan festival this year. We have also had interest from people such as Joanna Lumley and Antony Worrall Thompson, you can find the quotes these people and many more have left for us on our home page of our website.