Vandals have threatened the future of a popular free West Devon town summer event enjoyed by hundreds of families.
The Tavistock Feastival last Sunday (June 25) was an overwhelming success, showcasing street food on the famous Meadows, but it could be the last one after the vandals struck on Sunday evening after the festival closed.
The unknown offenders untied the marquee and awning and pushed over the temporary portable loos. The marquee blew away and was damaged in the high winds and had to be thrown away, while the organisers were forced to clear up gallons of sewage from the loos. Festival organiser Miss Ivy Events said it was ‘very disappointed’ and could not afford to return unless it received extra support from the community and other businesses to meet the extra costs arising from the attack.
Joanne Macaskie, of Miss Ivy Events, said: ‘I’m very disappointed at what happened on Sunday.Although it was a very successful event at the weekend, both in the town and then on the Meadows on Sunday, it leaves me very sad and with a bad taste in my mouth from the actions of a few vandals. We attracted more than 2,000 visitors, maany of them families relaxing on the grass in the sunshine in a relaxed environment enjoying workshops, professional cooking demonstrations and quality local produce cooked on the spot (pictured right).
‘But I’m not sure we can bear the extra costs of replacing the marquee and awning and then paying for security on two nights to prevent it happening again. The trouble is that the loos can’t be collected on Sunday and they obviously need protecting along with the tent and other items which are needed because there’s no infrastructure in the Meadows, like electicity. I can’t believe this happened. It’s come as a shock because Tavistock is the last place I’d expect this. I live not far from Tavistock and it’s never happened, which is why I didn’t have security. This is our third year, but the first on the Meadows where it was perfect with people able to chill out on the grass after we outgrew the Bedford Square because it’s become so popular.’
The festival included master classes by chefs, said Joanne: ‘It’s not just us as organisers who suffer, but the traders and the chefs, it’s their living. Also, the public will lose out. But it’s very heartening to see the huge support I’ve had online with people on local groups saying they want us to come back. That’s good for morale.’
She asked for help from traders and the community in general after fearing she has to bear the cost replacing the marquee as well: ‘I’d really love to come back, I organise events region wide and don’t want my local town to miss out and I want to keep it free, So, if anyone, including local businesses and the community, can offer any support with security, tables and chairs, a generator and anything else, it would help with holding a future event.’
Joanne can be contacted on 07739 033476.