BodFest 2017

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I don’t know about the rest of you but I am exhausted. There was SO MUCH ON this weekend.

First things first though – BodFest. It was my first Bodfest so I can’t go down the route of comparing and contrasting it to previous years. And I wouldn’t really because each year is different at any time and this was a new venue so they would have changed all sorts of things. What I found was an impressive array of musical performances across multiple stages running in parallel with demonstrations, activities, fun fair rides, go karts, bubble football, food vendors area, and market stalls.

As I said, it was my first BodFest so I had no real idea what to expect music-wise. All I knew was the it was heavily weighted and promoted as local bands. And that could mean anything quality wise. So I must be honest – my expectations were ….middling. My goodness! I was wrong. Now, not everything was my particular style – I loved the big band and blues in particular – but there was no denying band after band could seriously play. Divide the £3 entry fee by the 12 hours of performances – and at .25p an hour, I venture a guess that there are few instances of better value in musical entertainment.

I thought it was really nice to see how many people – families and groups of friends – had set up blankets, chairs and shades (it was HOT out there) and settled in for the day. Kids were everywhere and doing everything. There’s always something super cute about toddlers dancing to all kinda of music; like they cannot help it. They’ve got – to paraphrase a saying – the music in them.

I was wondering how they would deal with performances from different stages to leaking into each other but they’d clearly thought through the details of stage and speaker placement because despite the wide open space, I never really noticed an issue with noise bleed. ModParlPhotos is much more music festival guy than I am and he was all over the music scene, taking pictures and (if my eyes did not deceive me – dancing just a little). I am more the wander around and look at stalls of food and adorable upcycled stuff kinda gal. Luckily for us, BodFest really did have something for everyone.

If I’d been the right age and height, I would have totally given the bubble football a go. Though I will say, I don’t think anyone cared about the football itself once they were in the bubble. Once you were in the bubble, the point seemed to be bouncing off other people’s bubbles and rolling around.

Now, I said I wasn’t going to compare and contrast – and I am not. But as there’s been a lot said about change of venue this year and the issues people seem to be attributing to it (long lines, additional restrictions, etc) – some perfectly valid but some based on what I see as common misconceptions about event management. I feel having attended this year and knowing something of event management, I can address that. Events like this are not just bigger versions of having people over for a BBQ. There are all sorts of official bodies that weigh in, even more of them when you are holding an event on someone else’s property. Rarely are these decisions stand-alone enough to be sorted with anything that begins, ‘why don’t they just …’

It is my understanding – and I heard this from many people over the last few months leading up to the day so i have no reason to doubt it – Bodfest grew bigger and bigger each year and at some point a decision was going to have to be made. Do they:

  1. continue with the growth and expansion, leading to the inevitable move to a larger space or
  2. try and continue with improvements but keep it confined space and number-wise?

Now, I was in event management for a long time – big multi-stage all day entertainment events with performances, rides, food, etc. – so I speak with some experience with this. As difficult as the former is, the latter is nigh on impossible. Looking at the scale of what was on offer, having seen the previous location and knowing what I know about managing these types of events – I think they made the right call. The test of an event management committee is not how well the read the future. No one can cover every single possible eventuality but how they take on board the feedback they receive and how they go about addressing those issues at future events.

I for one enjoyed it and will absolutely go back again – though I will bring my own chair this time.

And it wouldn’t be a local event if we didn’t have a gallery of pictures from ModParlPhotos. Enjoy!


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