Saturday, 15 August 2009

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST


My post on Broadstairs Folk Week attracted a lot of comments. I am pleased my correspondent Matt was correct that there may be plans afoot to move the festival. The Isle of Thanet Gazette picked up on this and in Friday's paper wrote:

Jo Tuffs, Broadstairs Folk Festival Director said: 'The festival committee would meet in September to...decide whether it is viable to continue to hold the festival in the town'. 'Rumours this could be the last Folk Week in Broadstairs have not been ruled out'

Interesting that neither myself as a councillor nor Cllr. Chris Wells who is far more familiar with Broadstairs had heard of this. It shows the value of being able to blog as a councillor. I am grateful to Matt for the story. My picture is of the Hobby Horse Club which went down a storm with the children all week I am told. Thanks to Louise for the picture.

I had the nice experience as a blogger of several of my non-politically minded friends asking about this story, many had heard about the proposal on this blog via word of mouth. They all wanted the Folk Festival to stay in the heart of Broadstairs. I agree. I visited on Friday and the town was buzzing. I had heard reports that Thanet Council was struggling with the rubbish collection. There were several employees trying to keep up with all the waste being generated. Bins were overflowing and people were leaving empty cans, bottles and bags of rubbish next to the bins.

This is a difficult thing for Councils to manage as good weather increases crowds and can overwhelm the best laid plans. I think there should be plans to cope with this. I have seen the same problem happen in Ramsgate. Every time this happens it means visitors go home with a negative piece of information in their memories.We cannot blame the minority of people who are thoughtless. We have to manage what happens when tourists come and spend thousands of pounds.

Trying to find a place to eat many of the restaurants were booked up all night long with several sittings. I ended up booking in at Porto Vecchio (Pulcinella) Pizzeria in Harbour Street. The food was fine but the serice was dire. We were pushed to order as soon as arriving. The waitress would not just take a drinks order whilst we considered our food choice, three times we were hovered over to have our drinks and food order taken together. Then the food started to arrive piecemeal as it was cooked, rather than altogether as you would expect, and we were having to ask if they had remembered this or that.

The whole experience was rushed, forced almost, and not what you expect from a restaurant. It was only half full but clearly the priority was to get people in and out as quick as possible to increase turnover.Perhaps they thought we were just visitors for Folk Week, but as locals we will not be back.

7 comments:

  1. You'd think running a restaurant would be easy - it certainly ought to be simple enough but for some reason it isn't - things can get out of control pretty quickly and the day turns to sh1t. That you enjoyed the food ought to be measure enough and certainly a good reason to return, perhaps at a quieter moment.

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  2. The trouble is so often, inadequately trained staff who can't cope. Restaurants in holiday locations tend to use local youngsters who whilst they may be willing to learn, often lack the right 'people-skills'.

    With an excellent catering college up the road it should be easy to find good staff.

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  3. I have been informed by a local trader whose business has been in Broadstairs for many years that some of the traders are fed up being asked for more and more money each year to support the festival. Their feeling is that in August the town is busy (as indeed it was this morning), so if there is to be a festival then it should be better-financed by those who actually want it. This links in with what Chris Wells said on the earlier posting that there are too many free events dependent on collecting tins being waved in people's faces.

    There is a strong feeling that businesses are being 'blackmailed'into supporting the committee.

    This business person may not be a true representative of the town's chamber of commerce but it does show cracks in the edifice put up by those who organise the event.

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  4. A few years ago, not that many really, I was on the Folk Week workforce mainly at the Pavilion for late-night events. At the time the team behind Sidmouth Folk Festival was interested in getting involved with the one here.

    The main person came to the Pavilion one night with a clipboard to ask some questions like, 'How many in? How many paid? Who got the bar takings?'

    The answer to the last one was the pub landlord but to the other two -can't remember how many now, virtually no-one had paid, all were season ticket holders so in effect it was a free event despite the performers having to be paid.

    That was the last heard from that company so far as I know.

    He wasn't impressed that virtually all events were open to those who'd paid for the week's season ticket so could go to any event and, in fact, some ticket holders got turned away as the venue they wished to attend was full of season ticket holders.

    Don't know if there have been changes since that date but I expect someone will let you know.

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  5. Shame you wont be going back but a lesson to all those establishments out there SERVICE IS THE KING

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  6. Good for you for making the comments you're making. In a recession, the public vote with their feet and if a shop or restaurant has bad service, or silly prices, then people will go elsewhere.

    That is not disloyalty as the Tories will spout, but simpley the customer wanting value for money.

    It is the same with Moores and the Cabinet. Anyone saying a word against them are 'disloyal' to Thanet. Rubbish, we pay our taxes and want value for monry. I don't want to be entertained by an air show. I want my bins emptied!

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  7. As someone who has been a member of workforce for a long time I feel I must say in defence of the festival to the person who said "I have been informed by a local trader whose business has been in Broadstairs for many years that some of the traders are fed up being asked for more and more money each year to support the festival" that I have been led to believe contributions from local traders are totaly voluntery and that most traders don't give any money to suprort the festival. So they are not "being 'blackmailed'into supporting the committee".

    And to the person who said "virtually no-one had paid, all were season ticket holders so in effect it was a free event despite the performers having to be paid" surely it's got to be better to be paid in advance, which in what buying a season ticket is doing!

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