AWP launches Goffin Land Weddings

Goffin Land is a 96-acre hidden valley, a peaceful haven on the edge of the bustling city of Exeter. Operated as a community farm and home to the Biophilia Project and Off Grid Festival, Goffin seeks to be an oasis for social and ecological change, providing access to land for those in need and nurturing mind, body and soul.
With nearly a hundred acres of meadows and woodland to enjoy, yet easily accessible from Exeter and major transport routes, Goffin Land is the perfect location for those seeking to get married in a unique, natural and eco-friendly way, surrounded by the beautiful outdoors.
Goffin can easily host up to 250 guests including overnight camping for those wishing to go for the full wedding weekend experience.The events team at Goffin can help plan couples’ special day and ensure it is made as easy for them as possible – we particularly specialise in creating a ‘festival’ feeling to weddings and making bespoke, magical environments to explore and enjoy.

The centrepiece of the venue is a striking 2-storey timber frame barn that provides a fantastic space for wedding receptions and meals, with a fitted stage available for music and dancing into the evening. Upstairs is a chill-out lounge replete with cushions, low tables, atmospheric lighting and rugs.  We provide rustic tables and seating, wedding decor, plus a PA system for wedding bands and DJs to use. Compost Toilets are provided onsite along with a disabled loo and wood-fuelled showers in a kitted out shepherds wagon.

There is a special area in the woodland, alongside the babbling Pin Brook and a specially created amphitheatre available for ceremonial use. This wedding venue is very child-friendly and activities can be laid on – from big games to bushcraft to archery – for all ages through our partnership with Sylvan Adventures.
Wedding Packages vary in price from around £4500 upwards including use of the barn, amphitheatre, woodland, camping and more. Catering and bar packages also available.
So if you’re looking for somewhere eco-friendly, fun, festivally to get married, why not consider Goffin Land your home for the weekend?
Visit our Venues page for more information about weddings at Goffin Land. Or visit the new Facebook Page.
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Jan 16, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AWP launches Goffin Land Weddings

Festivals in Transition

This article first appeared on the website of Virtual Festivals in May 2011 written by Daniel Hurring, one of AWPs Directors. It reflects accurately our beliefs around festival sustainability and steps needing to be taken to embrace the principles of movements such as the Transition Network.

Festivals in Transition

By Daniel Hurring

The principles of Transition are laid down by Rob Hopkins, the founder. A Transition Initiative is a community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this question:

“For all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

As temporary communities, festivals experience many of the same issues as their more permanent counterparts. Issues such as water, waste, food and energy with large populations to house, administer and entertain. As the UK prepares for a Transition to a low carbon society, the festival scene must do the same.

Sunrise does not necessarily subscribe to the ideas of man-made Climate Change and Peak Oil. It does not reject them either. We try always to practice balance and reject dogmatic thinking, accepting that human knowledge is limited and flawed and that we only ever know part of the picture. We do however believe that this is a time of Transition, that things are changing rapidly and in a way as yet unforeseen. That great challenges await us, and great opportunities, perhaps the dawning of a new paradigm, perhaps an evolution of what already exists. We believe this is happening on a spiritual as well as physical level but that the length of this process is not yet clear – Universal Cycles can be quite large!

Whilst our view may differ from Rob Hopkins in some fundamental aspects, the principles of Transition remain just as relevant for us – community resilience and localisation of resources are two things we subscribe to entirely. Festivals are ephemeral communities, reflections of their static counterparts. Over the course of a week, festivals will encounter many of the same issues that permanent settlements do in a more intensified fashion, so many of Transition’s solutions also apply here.

Festivals have historically been celebrated at key points in the year, in connection with key alignments and turning seasons. They have acted as gathering points for tribes, communities and cultures. They are places where peoples have gathered, met and shared, where skills are passed on, where trade is made and ideas disseminated. Festivals still are all these things. They are more than the sum of their parts and their value is immense and intangible.

When we look at a festival, we cannot judge it just on its carbon, but on its ability to create change, to inspire and heal, to act as a cultural hub bringing people together. That is how we look at Sunrise. Nonetheless, the sustainability of an event is still important – those events which are most in harmony with the Earth are those likely to last through these days.

It is said that festivals are by nature sustainable. People attending festivals, by and by, use a lot less energy, water and so forth than they would at home. However, at the same time, the infrastructural production of an event can be massive and costly and, in the likely near future, unfeasible. Modern festivals have been built squarely on the shoulders of cheap oil and like all communities and businesses festivals must adapt or die!

Festivals need to transition away from the status quo whilst there is still time. The reliance on heavy industrial process in production is in contradiction to many of their stated aims. An obvious candidate for change is the reliance on generators and the demands on these from ever growing PA systems and stage equipment, fuelled by the music industry’s egoistic desire for Bigger and Brighter productions. However, beyond that are the massive waste operations and the vast level of waste produced, the consumption levels of attendees, the wastage produced from packaging, the unregulated use of water, the cheap disposable camping items and so much more…If anybody has ever seen the build of a large festival, it takes away a little of the glamor knowing that it was built over weeks with cranes, forklifts and tractors working around the clock. A new paradigm is necessary in the way we produce events and what we expect from them.

More sustainable ways are possible. Transport options can be widened, alternative energies can be used. Supply streams can be localised – From infrastructure to food through to the audiences themselves. There is perhaps the need to change the paradigm of festivals entirely. Off-Grid, our sister event, is a small gathering with a localised audience and a localised resource base – from the content through to the infrastructure. We use recycled materials, we crowdsource our presenters from local networks. There is an argument that large festivals are unsustainable, as large cities are, and that perhaps Small really is more Beautiful.

Sunrise has an ambition. Our aim, over the next few years, is to transition to a new form of event. We wish to have a permanent site where we can develop infrastructure that stays, rather than shipping it in once a year. We aim to plant reedbeds for waste water, build permanent compost loos and showers, provide food from our own permaculture gardens, compost food waste onsite, harvest rainwater, collect our own energy. We see a live-in community, organic farming, community energy generation, a social enterprise hub, crafts units, education centre, sustainable housing and much more. With a permanent base, festivals can successfully make a Transition to something more harmonious to the needs of our planet.

My belief is that change is necessary for all of us. Sunrise has always taken steps to being a true ‘Green’ event, but we still have a long way to go. I am working on a project to provide a Transition Manifesto to festivals, where organisers commit to making changes and moving to a goal of resilience and sustainability. Its important that festival organisers are engaged in the principles of Transition and apply them to their events. Festivals have always inspired change and are a great way to show whats possible to a large audience who can take it home with them. Festivals should be a powerful voice for change. However, change can only come by being the change we wish to see in the world. We, as festivals, need to take seriously our role in society, understanding that often we are cultural leaders. Festivals have always been at the forefront of consciousness – exploring the fringes, celebrating the grassroots. The culture experienced at many festivals is utopian, a model for the wider society. Adopting the principles of Transition is one way we can take this further.

Jan 3, 2015 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Festivals in Transition

The Importance of Community Liaison

This blog article was first written for RHEnvironmental’s Licensing Forum. RHEnvironmental are one of the UKs leading bodies for regulatory information, including that around Premises Licenses. I wrote a guest blog for several months in 2013.

This was first published on the forum in April 2013.

The Importance of Community Liaison in a Premises License Application for Music Festivals and Other Outdoor Events

Community Liaison is an area of licensing that is often overlooked by inexperienced applicants but the significance of which can never be underestimated. When one is looking to bring a large outdoor event into a particular area, be that rural or urban, the potentials for disturbance and impact on local residences should not be underestimated. Given this, it is vital that an applicant spend a suitable amount of time in consultation with permanent inhabitants of an area, taking into account their views and, wherever possible, balancing them against their own need to produce a viable, attractive and safe event.

In preparing for a Premises License application for a music festival or similar event, it is of value to see local residents as vital stakeholders in the project, in the same way that the Responsible Authorities, ticket buyers and crew members are held to be so. Though residents often have a limited impact on the result of applications it is important that any potential applicant be willing and ready to change their event management plan to accommodate the more reasonable and addressable areas of resident concern. This should be built into contingency planning.

Often, residents of a community can provide highly valuable local information, sometimes things unknown to an applicant, especially if they’re from outside the area as is often the case with the producers of outdoor events. Finding friends within a community can also be a vital line of information about how other residents are viewing the event as well as providing the opportunity of unofficial spokespersons representing the other side of the coin, should there be a lot of local opposition. Similarly, identifying key members of a community at an early stage is also important, as these should often be approached first.

In my experience, support often comes from those you least expect to find it from. In our most recent license application, we were warned of a gentleman on the access road who would inevitably prove a massive thorn in our side. Yet, upon first meeting, giving him the due respect to hear his concerns and meet him on a level meant that he quickly became one of our surest allies. Appearances – and hearsay – can often be deceiving!

Lets be honest, it is sometimes difficult to take seriously the views of some local residents. Some opinions expressed are deeply uninformed and anybody familiar with licensing multiple music festivals will know that the range of representations against an event emanating from any community will often take a few particular forms. The primary representations revolve around:

Noise Levels: Concerns that the event will cause large-scale disturbance across a wide area by the creation of excessive levels of music-noise. Suspicions that Environmental Health Officers are conspiring with the festival organisers to fix decibel levels at unacceptable heights in order to reduce the population and cause grievous damage to buildings, livestock and people. Unwillingness to believe that noise levels can be controlled or that they will be.

Crime & Disorder: That the event will lead to increased levels of off-site crime, particularly burglary, alcohol- and drug-fuelled violence and – of slightly less magnitude in law but of often deep concern for residents – unauthorised parking. The latter subject includes concerns over shaggy haired travellers, trapped in an anachronistic vortex emanating from Stonehenge 1985, marauding over local fields with their endless wave of carbunculous caravans and mechanically-unsound buses.

Traffic: That the roads will be filled with unskilled – and largely intoxicated – drivers aiming to score points by knocking over local residents, crashing into their vehicles, ignoring road signs and generally lacking in common decency. Concern that other traffic will ignore said road signs also, leading to mass devastation and loss of life.

Alcohol and Drugs: By their nature, festivals are considered to be – as Obi Wan Kenobi once put it – ‘wretched hives of scum and villainy’. Here, smiling but conniving bar managers will ply their – likely underage – visitors with dangerous levels of alcohol before pushing them out into the night to face the unending temptations offered by shady drug pushers lying in wait between every marquee. Once drugged, these victims will soon find their way out of the festival, over security fences and through the inevitably inadequate perimeter security arrangements, and into the local community. Here they will seek their pleasure by terrorising the local victuallers establishment, biting victims and attempting to stop cars on local highways by the power of their minds.

Whilst the above descriptions are meant to be taken in good humour, they each hold a nugget of truth as to where concerns can expect to be raised and where an applicant must be ready to show best practice through their event management plan and through their willingness to listen and respond. Its best, when meeting these objections from a local community, to recognise that these will always exist in the face of a new event and are to be treated as genuine feeling. The good news is that licensing committees are generally made up of experienced members of Council who have usually heard it all before and are able to make discerning judgements between representations with value and those without.

Our recommendation to any event organiser is to ensure that you have plenty of cards up your sleeve when setting out on your community liaison. Consider the value of a Community Liaison Officer and/or community safety patrol. Offer a resident hotline where they can reach you or a suitable deputy/office through the event. Develop a proper noise management strategy with a qualified acoustics consultant that ideally offers realistic and achievable conditions on music noise levels. Use marshals in the local area to dissuade unauthorised parking as well as raise funds for local voluntary groups. Hold local meetings with residents and the parish/borough/town council – these groups can feel excluded from the official licensing process and you approaching them willingly can only be perceived as a good thing.

During the last consultation period for licensing reform, ‘Rebalancing the Licensing Act’, much was made of the need to give local communities and interested parties more influence over licensing decisions that were likely to affect them. Though little has changed in essence, these areas of consultation mirror the real and perpetuating concerns that a need isn’t being met for those who can be impacted by events such as festivals (and other licensable activities – from clubs to pubs to late night caterers). By taking positive steps towards engaging communities, identifying stakeholders and taking a constructive approach to dealing with emerging issues, event organisers show best practice and ensure that they will be looked upon in a better light when it comes to the Premises License decision.

Nov 17, 2014 | Posted by in Uncategorized | 1,803 comments
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