FishFest on the back burner for 2015

Published on: 01 Apr 2015

AWARD-winning FishFest is to be put on the back burner for 2015.

The Fishponds festival started as a small neighbourly get together six years ago but quickly snowballed into a huge affair.

Last year FishFest changed format into a series of mini events across the area over a two week period but now organisers say they are taking a break while they re-evaluate the festival’s future.

The event, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors, is organised by a core team of just five people, headed up by resident Kate Brooks.

Kate, 48, said: “We started off in 2009 running a few community events for families in the area and it got to the point where we thought we would hold an annual festival. That went really well and it just got bigger and bigger every year.

“It’s been really good fun to organise and it gets everyone in the community together but obviously it’s a lot of work and is pretty time-consuming. It’s quite a responsibility and I tend not to sleep for a week before! On the last big FishFest, we stayed up for 21 hours - we were up at 5am and went to bed at 2am the following day.

“We have to think of all the health and safety implications, portable toilets, organising all the stall holders and making sure all the activities work together.

“As we run on donations and have to apply for lots of different pockets of funding, it takes a lot of work getting the money. The funding is getting increasingly difficult to get hold of so we couldn’t guarantee we would have the same amount of funds available this year.

“Because it’s only a small band of neighbours who organise it, and because we all have lives and kids, we thought we would have a break and focus on small events again. It will be like going back to the old days for a bit.”

Originally held in the grounds of All Saints Church, FishFest moved to Fishponds Academy where the grounds were bigger and could hold the 1,000 plus visitors it attracted.

In 2013, FishFest won the Thriving Bristol award as part of the ‘Voscurs’, Bristol’s voluntary and community sector awards.

Last year FishFest diversified from one huge festival to a series of smaller events held around Fishponds from September 13-27. The aim was to allow people to hold their own events across the area and included a scarecrow trail and family fun days.

A few community events will take place this year including a 1940s night and GroveFest, a mini festival run by Grove Road Youth Club. 

Later in the year organisers will look at options for how the festival will take shape next year.

Kate said: “We would like people to tell us what they think - whether we should  hold it as one big day or whether we do it as a fortnight or week of smaller events across Fishponds.

“Some people told us it was great to have it over two weeks as if they weren’t around for one of the days they could go to other events on other days but others said they really missed having a big day where everything was in one. There are pros and cons to both.”

People can register their thoughts via the FishFest Facebook page.

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