Discussion Forum
Suggestions for Big Green Weekend 2009

From Jason Elliott
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Now that the dust is settling on what seems to have been a successful Big Green Weekend, it would be good to get some feedback and suggestions for the 2009 event.

At this point it should also be mentioned that when we moved to Hebden in September 2005, I was completely unaware that there had ever been such a thing as a Big Green Weekend (or week) in Hebden Bridge. As nothing similar happenned in 2006 or 2007, when the idea was floated that the Big Green Market could come to town, after getting positive feedback from many people, I just decided to extrapolate that and get a series of other events going across the area that would complement the market and create a "whole" Big Green Weekend.

At the time of this decision, May 24th was just 10 weeks away, so I'd like to take the opportunity to thank those people who helped pull it off at such short notice, particularly Abby at the ATC who, although this wasn't an ATC event, rolled up her sleeves and really got stuck in.

As such, if anyone has any gripes about this years event, they should be directed at me and not the ATC as they had nothing to do with the overall organisation, outside of the fantastic work that they did at their own centre.

The buck stops here. (Well, not literally, as obviously I did it for love not money! Info about who paid towards the event, how much, and where it went, will be published in the next few days.)

Looking ahead to next year, below are some of the ideas that are currently being chewed over. It would be good to have your views on them, together with any other ideas you might have.

1. One of the aspects that caused the most concern was the arrival of traders from outside the Yorkshire/Lancs area. Rather than
getting the Big Green Market (an commercial independent travelling operation) to organise the market next year, it would seem to be preferable to get Calderdale Markets to organise it within a strict criteria that all stalls must be selling sustainable products from within a maximum radius of 30 miles, i.e. no further than Leeds or Manchester.

2. Veronica, the 7 foot tall big green llama/dragon/feather duster, was hugely popular as she wandered around the town on
Sunday. Unusual street entertainment sprinkles "magic dust" on an event and it would be great to see much more next year.

3. Greater involvement from children would be a good thing. Apart from year 5/6 at Hebden Royd School who made some fantastic T-shirts that were on display in Spirals and the Old Town Brownies who sent some poster artwork, none of various kids groupings, Woodcraft Folk, Cubs, Scouts, Central Street School, Riverside School etc, were involved.

As an ex-primary school teacher herself, Janet Oosthuysen has volunteered to co-ordinate this whole area of engagement.

4. The Hebden Bridge Times provided fantastic support, particularly with the 8 page supplement/programme that went out with all of their papers and the Todmorden News to 10,000 people, and many hundreds of people looked at the programme online, yet there were still many who were unaware of what was going on. This being the case, a central point/kiosk needs to be established for next year where advice and printed information can be given out.

5. With the exception of the film night at the Trades Club on Sunday, there were no evening activities. It would be good to see entertainment on all three nights, hopefully in more than just one venue too.

6. Next year it would also be good to have some live music going on. Possibly in the form of an acoustic stage in St. Georges Square on the Saturday and Sunday and then a full-on series of fully amplified local bands in Calder Homes Park on the Monday. There are wind/pedal/solar powered P.A. systems available for this sort of event and their involvement would be essential.

7. There has also been the suggestion that Tordmorden be included next year and that the event be across the Upper Calder Valley, rather than just Hebden Bridge, or Hebden Royd. What do you think?

These are just a few ideas that are booting around at the moment but, at this stage, all suggestions are invited!

Posted by Jill S
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Well, my starter for 10 would be collecting and disposing of your own rubbish after the event instead of leaving it to fester and disperse around the town. So much for the Big Green Weekend - more like the Big Green-wash scam (AKA, how many more times can we get free mentions of our 'day' business segued into any promotion of this 'inclusive' and 'ethical event?)

Posted by Christine Bampton-Smith
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Congratulations on the event - in the end the weather was kind!

Thanks for all the hard work.

Thoughts for 2009 - there is a venue in Luddenden, a grassed area infront of the Church and the local pub might be interested.

The Church halls in Mytholmroyd and the Community Centre (which has a huge car park) might also be worth investigating.

From Jo Beacroft-Mitchell
Friday, 30 May 2008

Hi Jason and well done on a superb event - Hebden Royd Town Council were more than happy to support this event and I hope we can look forward to a closer working relationship for next year.

One thought I did have - HEADS as part of World on your doorstep are organising a 'home made parade'in July working with locals to create carnival costumes - perhaps something similar could form a part of next years festivities with costumes etc being produced from recycled materials and engaging the local schools/youth groups/community groups ?

I was so fed up we couldn't pull off the neighbours day event in Mytholmroyd (buck stops with me on that one I'm afraid - Bronchitis got in the way of organising) - I hope next year we can look at a range of street parties to celebrate our communities and would welcome any input from other parts of Hebden Royd.

Well done for organising the event at short notice, I know that had you had more time there could have been more local input - with such a short timeframe you sometimes have to rely on the existing infrastructure of outside organisations but with a bit more time and preparation next year we should be looking at a truly local event.

From Nick Totton
Friday, 30 May 2008

To start with, Jason and others did a fantastic job. It's good to know a little more about the context from Jason's email.

Yes, the Big Green Market was good fun and good quality but something more local would definitely be preferable. Also - this may be controversial, but I don't think that meat is a suitable item to sell at a green event. Giving up eating meat would be the biggest single thing we could do to mitigate climate change!

Given that this was put together in ten weeks, if planning starts now for 2009 it should be spectacular. Yes to music, yes also to all forms of art: the Arts festival seems to be congealing into a much more conventional event, maybe the Big Green Weekend could become a sort of Fringe festival... How about open gardens?

And yes, let's include Tod and Mytholmroyd, why not?

How do I get involved?

From Kevin Hogan, Hour Car Scheme Manager
Friday, 30 May 2008

I'm very impressed by how the Big Green Weekend was organised as such a professional and attractive event in just 10 weeks. Anyone who has organised such an event will realise what an incredible effort this is.

My suggestion for future years is that stalls should be encouraged to have more child orientated and/or family orientated things happening. Unless you can keep under 9s happy, you can't spend much time with their parents.

Being more local is a good idea - but let's not chuck out the baby with the bathwater; I think a few organisations with a bigger remit can help give a bigger picture.

I also suggest that Jill S gets involved with the event. Come on Jill, you clearly have some ideas for improving it, why not help out?

From Kate Dakers
Friday, 30 May 2008

In response to Jill T's post. . . whose rubbish are you referring to Jill? The traders who ran stalls at the market? Locals who attended the market? Perhaps it was the visitors that came to our town to see the market and attend the events that dropped litter?

The Big Green Market is an independent entity that has a site manager who was there for set up and break down of the stalls and throughout the event. If the rubbish you are referring to was in and around the marina then perhaps an email to them would help rectify this in the future? This is the contact email address on their website jane@thebiggreenmarket.co.uk

If however you are referring to rubbish left around and about the town - the Calderdale Council (Street Cleansing) are responsible overall for keeping our roads and open spaces clear from litter. They also assist with community clean ups so maybe you could champion that next year? You can count me in to be on your team.

As far as greenwash goes, out of interest, here's wikipedia's definition:

"Greenwash is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service."

Green Refurb is a local company offering services and products that improve energy efficiency and minimise the environmental impact in the built environment. They sponsored this event by way of providing man hours, staff skills and resources and as such, are fully entitled to get their name published in relation to the event.

If you investigate, you'll find my 'day' business is in ethical marketing. I spend a lot of time investigating and challenging companies that take part in greenwash, I also advise those who provide ethically or environmentally sound products or services on how to avoid being tarnished with the greenwash brush.

This is my primary reason for responding to your comments but I also helped out with some of the promotion for this event – distributing flyers and posters and posting event details online. Done on a voluntary basis because I believe this event is a good thing for the town, its traders and its people.

Incidentally, Jason happens to be my partner and I've been doing his share of the washing up for the past 10 weeks so I was hoping for a succesfull event to make it all worthwhile!

From Joseph H
Friday, 30 May 2008

I’d like to echo what others have said. Well done Jason. It was terrific. Here’s my few thoughts for next year.

  • Yes, we should provide opportunities for local traders, but surely such an event should also be a chance to see (and buy) things from other parts of the country/world we might never otherwise see in Hebden Bridge.
  • There should definitely be a presence in George's Square and around the centre of town - although it was great to see the Marina being so well used.
  • Of course, it would be good to see similar events going on in Mytholmroyd and Tod. But I am sure they wouldn’t wish Hebden Bridge to do the organising for them. Perhaps something similar could happen in these towns, strongly liaising with the Hebden Bridge BGW.
  • Our area is ripe for exploiting micro generation and alternative energy. Let's have some real live examples on show.
  • How about some controversial debates with named speakers? Subjects which spring to mind are climate change scepticism; turbines on our on our hills; nuclear power.

Once again, well done and thanks, Jason . . . and Kate

From Dave H
Friday, 30 May 2008

Firstly, well done to all those who organised and participated in the Big Green Weekend. It was particularly good to see the Marina being used, precisely because everything else Hebden does seems centred around the Square. The Marina is a fabulous location, and gets people from outside the town to realise there is more to Hebden Bridge than Innovation. And why do we have to wait for the once a year Green event? Why can't there be regular craft fairs, or food fairs like the one they now do in Bingley?

Great start, but please build on it.

From Andy M
Tuesday, 3 June 2008

I enjoyed wandering around the Marina for a while but I couldn't help feeling that the big green message would be more relevant if it lost some of it's 'alternative' cadre. As long as environmentalism, recycling and fair trade remain inexorably associated with some sort of twee hippydom they'll be seen by the wider public as some pc middle-class pursuit.

Don't get me wrong, I like buying a few beads and wearing hemp as much as the next citizen (in fact I bought myself some Thai fisherman's trews to do the recycling in) but I think the appeal needs to be broadened to reach a bigger audience.

Perhaps it needs to be held somewhere else - after all, you're largely preaching to the converted here!

From Anne H
Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Well done to the organisers. And as this request for feedback comes from the organisers themselves, well done for being open to suggestions.

I thought most of the events, especially those at the ATC, were great and it was clear to see the environmental message, but many of the stalls on the marina were spreading different or confused messages - fair trade, international culture, or as Andy says 'twee hippydom'. Not that I have anything against any of them per see and I really enjoyed the stalls. I'd even like to see a separate Fairtrade market if that could be arranged. But if the overall message on this particular weekend is greenness, then we should have more local producers, and stalls that sell or demonstrate sustainable products, renewable energy, growing your own food, etc. Where were all the organic gardeners?

Jason Elliott
Wednesday, 4 June 2008

I just wanted to say thank you all for your suggestions. I will respond fully and in depth to all the points raised in a few days so keep your thoughts coming folks!