Important News About The Fairy Fair and The Real Halloween

(text from a newsletter sent to the Fairyland Trust update list) 4 June 2024

Putting You In The Picture

If you came to the Fairy Fair, you might be in some of the pictures now at our Photos page – why not have a look?  We got great feedback at the Fair and hope you had a good time, and that you will save the date to come along to The Real Halloween at Bradmoor Woods on 26th and 27th October!

Sad News

The sad news is that was our last Fairy Fair, and this will be the last Real Halloween, at Bradmoor Woods.  It’s a great site but Sarah and I simply can’t continue organising these events.  We are the founders of the Fairyland Trust and have been running the Fairs and Halloweens with a few short breaks for 23 years.

For some years, we’ve been trying to find new, younger people to take on these popular events, and spent a year training up some of our most committed crew to take on the overall responsibility in future.  We hoped and they hoped that would work out but due to other commitments, it didn’t and 
shortly before the Fair it became clear that we’d have to end our lease with Bradmoor Woods after The Real Halloween. 

Each event takes many months to organise and involves low-paid freelance working, and taking responsibility for managing over 100 volunteers and other freelancers, and a budget of over £50,000. Understandably, particularly in times of financial insecurity, that’s not very attractive.  Sarah and I had to step in  too many times to make it work, and we are just too old and tired to do it all again.

The Fairyland Trust charity will continue its work to engage children with nature. This summer we will be running Workshops at the Norwich Lord Mayor’s Show, Latitude Festival, Glastonbury Festival and Boomtown Fair. We would like to attend more events with our travelling Workshops, so if you are in a position to help get us hired, please do get in touch.

But to take on the Fairy Fair and The Real Halloween requires a combination of skills, confidence, festival experience and availability which we think is more likely to be realised if the event moves away from Norfolk.   Only a third of our attendees are from the County, and although we are reluctant to say so, we think basing the events in a more populated part of the country, nearer to a larger pool of both potential visitors and crew, could help make the Fair and Halloween more sustainable.  (Many crew already travel long distances to volunteer at the events) .  
A number of other factors have also combined to make it more and more challenging to run such events. The costs of putting on outdoor events is going up all the time and the ticket buying public is less willing to go out and more last-minute, which makes promotion stressful as it is so unpredictable.  

Ironically, for an organisation committed to engaging children with nature and promoting sustainability, climate change has also made it harder to run both the ‘May Fair and the October ‘Halloween , as weather has become more extreme and unpredictable.  Over the last few years we’ve been rebuilding our audience with numbers going up from Fair to Fair but this year unfortunately we didn’t manage to sell out. We usually see a huge rush to buy tickets in the last fortnight but it this time it was notable that sales never quite picked up enough. One factor was certainly the appalling rain. 

So we are sorry for the disappointment which many will feel, and we hope that it will be possible for the events to be rekindled elsewhere in the country at some point in future, if there are people to organise that.  

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all the crew volunteers, the freelancers, visitors, Trustees, performers and traders, and most of all, our Supporters, for making it possible.  We’ve reached over 300,000 children and families with nature since 2001, which is what it’s all about, and their creativity, spark, hard work, inspiration and kindness is what’s made that possible. 

Without our Supporters, who give a small regular donation, the Trust would have not been able to run the Fairy Fair or The Real Halloween. To give it better chance of being able to do so again, please become a Supporter.

On behalf of everyone at the Fairyland Trust, if you did come to the Fair, thank you for your support, and do come to The Real Halloween. Tickets will go on sale in September. 

best wishes for a great summer

Chris Rose and Sarah Wise


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