Woolfest to stay online for 2021

Woolfest

Popular festival Woolfest will stay online for a second year due to the coronavirus pandemic – and it is likely not to return in its previous format, say organisers.

Woolfest was set up 17 years ago and was a two-day event at Mitchells Auction Mart in Cockermouth every June.

Thousands of people usually attend the festival, but last year, due to COVID-19, organisers the Wool Clip had to pull the plug.

Instead, they arranged an online event which saw 4,000 people take part.

They have decided to repeat the online version this year.

Jean Wildish, one of the organisers, said “We’ve been asked about 2022 and, to be honest, we feel that Woolfest Online 2021 will probably be the last time that Woolfest will be organised on such a large scale and with such a diverse range of content.

“We have lots of exciting ideas about how Woolfest will change and evolve and we are considering more, smaller, themed, niche events that will stick to the “adding value to wool” ethos of Woolfest and maintain its reputation for friendliness and quality of work.

“We hope to be able to share these ideas later in the year.

“For 2021, we would really like to celebrate everything that Woolfest has been and has achieved in the past 17 years and we hope that stallholders and virtual visitors alike will enjoy being part of it.”

Fellow organiser Marion Rae added that this year, Woolfest wanted to support as many businesses as it could.

She said: “In the year of COVID, many wool businesses have developed their online skills and found ways of selling in lockdown and we’re keen to give them a Woolfest platform for 2021.

“Using last year as a template, we’re aiming to replicate as much of Woolfest as possible with local music, a raw fleece sale, charity fundraising, breeds of fleece animals and, of course, a wide range of wool craft businesses.”

A fleece sale will promote raw fleece from farmers and breeders across the UK through the Fyne Fleeces UK Facebook Page, run by Alison Hewitson who is a familiar face from past Woolfests in Cockermouth.

The Rare Breed Parade, a highlight of Woolfest for many animal lovers, will use video from breeders to create an online equivalent on the Saturday morning.

Woolfest is also actively promoting the Cumbria Way Scarf Challenge as a charity initiative to help the homeless, also providing a drop-off point for knitted scarves at The Wool Clip shop once it reopens on April 15.

Woolfest has always been organised by members of The Wool Clip and the Cumbrian co-operative will be taking part online, promoting its Caldbeck shop and online sales as well as sharing enthusiasm for all things wool.

“Our focus is very much on reopening our shop after lockdown and then getting ready for Woolfest Online in June,” says Jean Wildish, another of the organisers and a member of The Wool Clip.

“We’ve been asked about 2022 and, to be honest, we feel that Woolfest Online 2021 will probably be the last time that Woolfest will be organised on such a large scale and with such a diverse range of content.”

“We have lots of exciting ideas about how Woolfest will change and evolve and we are considering more, smaller, themed, niche events that will stick to the ‘adding value to wool’ ethos of Woolfest and maintain its reputation for friendliness and quality of work.

“We hope to be able to share these ideas later in the year.”

“For 2021, we would really like to celebrate everything that Woolfest has been and has achieved in the past 17 years,” says Jean. “And we hope that stallholders and virtual visitors alike will enjoy being part of it.”

The online event will run in four sessions, starting on Friday June 25 and finishing late in the afternoon of Saturday June 26.

Information will be available soon at www.woolfest.co.uk

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