20 years run-up and they can't even organise decent toilets

Ian Robinson, 6 September 2012

This session was prompted by the fact the nearest toilets to the DandD event were on a slope overlooking the bar area, and were cheap and nasty in a lovely park, but was supposed to cover the entire organisation of the Preston Guild from an outsider, user's point of view.

The low turnout for the DandD event, combined with poor signage and the fact it was in a different venue than originally planned also made us feel the Guild festival has been thrown together at the last minute. With 5 years to plan, shouldn't it be a bit better? I would point to Edinburgh and Buxton as examples of festivals running better but they have more money. Has the recession and Government cuts affected the Guild's ambitions? Would it be better if Preston Council hadn't cut staff?

A volunteer suggested it's the strength of the Preston Guild (that it happens every generation) is also the problem: the people in charge for one are unlikely to be around to pass on their experience 20 years later.

However, the volunteer did admit to frustrations: the brochure is very poorly laid out and lots of people keep asking her for information (eg when are the fireworks) that is hard to find out. No thought has been giving to the users of the Guild Festival.

Additionally, volunteers are currently wandering around with little to do as main venues are being refitted in the lull between events last weekend and the next (despite this only being a 2 week event). DandD is not the only event to have moved venue, and there has been poor attendance.

It was noted that some people who wanted to attend DandD were also at Preston Tringe events that were happening at the same time - should the Council have more co-ordination? A separate Arts Festival is also running.

In conclusion, we think Government cuts have affected the Festival. Should the Guild Hall management team take more of a lead on the city's cultural activities… or is no-one bothered?

Sorry to be a bit negative. I wonder if the Guild organising team themselves will have these questions or will there just be a lot of back-slapping at the end of this?


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