It was with deep regret that the organisers of the inaugural Arran VegFest have had to postpone the event at the 11th hour. The festival, sponsored by Bute Island Foods and due to start on 14th March, has been hit by troubles totally outwith the organisers’ control. It was therefore with a very heavy heart that it was decided to postpone the event.
Aside from concerns about Coronavirus, the main issue was technical problems with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry operating on the main route to the island. As a result of these problems, the ferry could not berth at Brodick, on the Isle of Arran, during periods of high winds and turbulent waters. Therefore many services have already been cancelled and, as the weather is due to take a turn for the worse, the situation is unlikely to improve in the lead up to the festival.
Organiser Jules Lee, of Stonewater House Vegan Bed & Breakfast, had been in constant touch with ferry operator CalMac, and had previously warned visitors to the festival to keep an eye on the CalMac website for updates on the route. But with the deteriorating weather the difficult decision had to be made. In a statement to local newspaper the Arran Banner, Jules said:
“The withdrawal of so many participants and visitors has been attributed to a number of factors, but largely the uncertainty as to whether they will be able to cross to Arran or back with their vehicles. This is due to the continuiing uncertainty as to whether particular sailing will take place as a result of CalMac’s ongoing technical problems.”
“In addition, we have concerns over the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to Arran by visitors to Arran VegFest. Opinions indicate that a fast spread of the virus is likely to cause an NHS crisis, and we do not with to be contributors to such a situation on our island, or to put any Arran residents at any unnecessary risk.”
“This decision,” Jules continued, “is a heartbreaking one, after the many hours of preparation by so many people that have gone into organising the festival. It is intended that Arran VegFest will be rearranged for a future date when transportation to and from the island can be better predicted, and Coronavirus is no longer a threat.”
Being similarly based on an island, all at Bute Island Foods can entirely sympathise with the organisers of Arran VegFest for issues totally outwith their control. We hope to offer similar support once the event has been reorganised later in the year, and send our very best wishes to Jules and his fellow organisers.
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