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Decision announced on the future of Woolfest
The Wool Clip co-operative has decided that members will not be organising any future Woolfest events. This follows an announcement in January that the group was exploring ideas for a change of emphasis in 2023.
"We've been giving the future of the event considerable thought for well over a year now," says Ruth Strong, current Chair of the co-operative. "It's a complex situation and we've listened to lots of feedback from Woolfest regulars. What we have learned is that, regardless of our new ideas for a different sort of show, Woolfest had such a huge personality and style of its own that expectations would always be high. It feels like the end of an era but we need to retire it for us to be able to move on."
Member of the Wool Clip, Jean Wildish continued, "Look at what Woolfest started! There are now so many wool events across the UK, including several that are organised by professional event companies. We have achieved every one of our original aims but feel that our volunteer-led approach is not really sustainable in the long term. We would rather stop now, leaving our loyal friends and followers with great memories of Woolfest, the first and the original festival of wool."
Woolfest was first held at Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre near Cockermouth in late June in 2005 and continued as an annual event until 2019. An online event was created under lockdown in 2020 and was repeated in 2021.
"We are certainly keen to celebrate our original ethos by supporting and attending other events," says Ruth, who was at The Farmer's Yarns near Ulverston at the beginning of July.
"And we can't help but continue to discuss and develop new ideas for the future," added Jean who also took a selection of The Wool Clip's stock to the North Pennines Wool Summer Wool Event in mid-July.
Members of The Wool Clip would like to thank everyone who has contributed so much to Woolfest and to its reputation as a friendly and memorable event.
"We know that many of our stallholders and visitors - as well as the community in Cockermouth and the huge team of volunteers who have been so supportive over the years – will be disappointed," says Ruth. "But we hope that our renewed focus on The Wool Clip, its Caldbeck shop and other activities will carry on our tradition of celebrating wool for many years to come."
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