Wool shows and festivals are known for having a rocky first year. The first of any event is a test to find out what works and what doesn't so the fact that Wool@J13 was such a well organised and smooth event was testament to the great team behind it.
From arrival to exit every moment of this festival experience was considered and it showed in the faces of those who attended. Spotting the gap in the market for a wool show in the Midlands, Wool@J13 crafted an event on a working farm that was part festival, truly family friendly and above all wool-focussed. Tagged with 'celebrating all things woolly' it certainly didn't disappoint.
Taking place on Lower Drayton Farm in Penkridge, Staffordshire, festival goers were welcomed with a red-carpet at the car park taking them onto a Tractor-shuttle to the festival ground where beer, food and music awaited.
There was a play-farm for the children, plenty of open space for them to run while those who were textile-inclined could shop, take workshops or see one of the many exhibitions such as sheep shearing, stash swapping or having a go at spinning.
Wool@J13 hand picked some wonderful traders for the Shop Til You Drop tent. Sue Stratford Designs quite rightly won the Best Stall award as chosen by the attendees and there was a wide selection of stalls covering all the fibre-based crafts.
The real difference this festival had was its welcoming atmosphere which was brought about by how much all the little things were considered (what to do with a bored 6 year old when you want to fondle some wool?) but also by the location on a working farm. It felt open - both figuratively and literally - and welcome. It was most of all a relaxed success.
This is one festival that we hope to see again bigger and better next year.
Check out the website here
(Photo credit: Ingrid Wagner- all rights reserved)