Sun. May 22nd, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

VECTIS VIEW: The Garlic Festival Team Madeleine, Laura and Zoe

3 min read

Wow! The photo above was taken in February 2020; the three of us were so looking forward to getting stuck into the show that year. Of course, we know what happened next!

After such a long break it’s really good to be back, even if, as ever, there’s lots to do. August might seem like a long way off at the moment, but now the days are getting longer, lighter and brighter it makes summer feel a lot closer.

When you’re organising a summer show, it all seems to happen very quickly from here on out. We’re a small team, each of us with pretty full-on jobs, but here we are organising trader bookings, bands, entertainment, site plans, production, social, press and sponsorship to keep the show on the road. Not to mention crafting signs, tepees, bunting and whatever else you see around the site over the weekend.

For us, the next few months will completely consume us until the festival is in full swing! At that point we become marshals, makers of cakes, bakes and teas, photographers, sign-makers, people-herders, production assistants, basically whatever needs doing!

There is a lot that goes into making a weekend like the Garlic Festival happen. And we certainly couldn’t do that without a great team of volunteers, friends, and family, who all descend on that field in Newchurch in the middle of August, come rain or shine (please, please may it shine this year!).

The Garlic Festival is now in its 38th year, and our 2019 show was one we were really proud of. Over the years it’s morphed into a pop festival, a food show and country show. That said people still say they’ve never been because ‘they don’t like garlic’ – not realising you don’t have to like garlic to have a good fun day out with the family.

As restrictions eased earlier this year, we took the decision to return and, so far, we’re really excited about what we have in store for visitors. The Island’s amazing garlic, grown minutes away from the site, will always be centre stage, of course.

Over many decades, the show has raised tens of thousands of pounds for good causes, and it’s these local groups and charities who’ve really missed out for two years. Charities like The Way Forward Programme, or The Wave Project, who run our sweetcorn roast, raise thousands every year.

No show survives as long as ours without providing top class entertainment, and already we’ve booked some brilliant bands including The Liverpool Echoes and a Foo Fighter’s tribute. As ever, both days we’ve got some of the finest local bands too.

What we really want, when we are making plans, is for people to visit and have a really nice day out. If that means plonking yourself on a straw bale with a pint of cider in the sunshine, that’s fine by us.

As ever, we are looking for support and sponsors. This really helps the festival thrive and continue for many more years. We are also taking bookings for trade stands and exhibitors. So if you know anyone who wants to be part of a festival that is a heady mix of country fair, pop festival and a vampire’s worst nightmare, then tell them to get in touch! Just e-mail hello@garlicfestival.co.uk.

Oh, be sure to put the weekend of August 21-22 in your diary – the Island’s biggest summer show is going to be fantastic this year!