It is with a sense of sadness that we announce that there will not be a TrailFest Festival Weekend in 2017.
We have pondered this for a long time, to determine the best course of action for a) TrailFest and b) us and our family. After much deliberating, we have decided not to hold a TrailFest in 2017.
As you all know, we have funded the annual TrailFest Festival ourselves, without any sponsorship or partnership, since 2015. This is not in any way to play down the much-appreciated support we have received from you, the TrailFest community, who have supported us so generously with your time and expertise as well as by donating giveaways, prizes and special offers – we are immensely grateful to all of you for the contributions that you’ve made.
The first TrailFest took place in 2015. With no community base nor advertising budget, it was difficult to spread the word. It happened, around 30 people came, we learned valuable lessons from our leap into the unknown, but it took its toll on us and we lost a reasonable chunk of money.
It took a long time for us to be convinced to do it again, but ‘TrailFest2’ happened in 2016. It sold out and was a resounding success. The day was packed full of inspiration and the vibe was brilliant. But the cold reality is that, despite it being sold out and the amazing feedback we received, the capacity of 50 people was not enough to cover the event costs.
Mugdock Country Park is awesome for trailrunning, on account of both its trails and its facilities – but capacity is the issue. In 2016 we were at capacity, but it still wasn’t viable.
How could we change that?
This is the question that has been running through our minds constantly since last October. Last year’s TrailFest lineup was awesome. With some string-pulling and working our contacts, we were confident we could put together another great lineup. But this time it needed to be financially viable. How could we do this? There were 4 options:
- Increase capacity by hiring marquees
- Double-up the programming
- Secure sponsorship or investment
- Change the venue
Over the past six months we’ve explored all of these options, but for different reasons none of them has provided us with a genuinely viable way forward for 2017.
As well as the straightforward logistical and financial considerations involved, we also had to weigh up the impact that organising TrailFest has on us as individuals and as a family. With a three-year-old and a one-year-old, we are chronically short of both time and sleep – and that’s before we’ve started creating a third TrailFest! We are both acutely aware of the input in terms of time, money and emotional energy that such an event demands, and we’ve concluded that to have this pressure on top of our other commitments right now would be unfair on our family.
Our monthly social runs will continue as always and we have plenty of ideas for future races, training days and events. It has always been our goal to build TrailFest into a real hub of trailrunning in Scotland – think Keswick Mountain Festival for trailrunners – something that doesn’t exist here right now.
So please consider this as partly an ‘open invitation’ to landowners, local authorities or anyone who may be looking to diversify or support the creation of a significant event on their land or in their area. The same goes to any potential sponsors or supporters out there: we like ideas and we really love making the plans that bring them to light, so if you share our vision for TrailFest and what it might become, please drop us a line. We’d love to chat – and if we can connect with the right people (or even just get a bit more sleep!) then maybe we will be in a position to organise a TrailFest or similar event in 2018.
Hopefully we’ll see you on a RunSOCIAL soon. If you can’t make it: remember to get off the Tarmac and #RunDirty!
Ryan & Jo