Silent Witness

Rise From The Ashes

This essay is written by a Community Member who is happy to be credited as the author. For the time being, I would like to keep the identity to myself. I will attempt to persuade the member to become a permanent unbias observer of each event. Do not worry about the source, consider the information and learn from it. This Community Member is not the only one who has expressed the same sentiments. A many have spoken about one or two of the issues mentioned in the essay. This is the only contribution which fully covers every matter which causes concern. We can learn from the essay, do not take it personally, many of you are not as experienced as some seasoned members of the Community. If we are to prosper take note from those who are long-term and seasoned stall holders. Many Thanks.

Hi Liz and Ian.

Thank you for facilitating such a fabulous event on the weekend.

I have read your “First the darkness” essay and wanted to make some points in an email to you, rather than comment on social media.  Feel free to quote me and edit out any comments I make that are a tad contentious/too close to the knuckle!  Forgive me if the following diatribe seems to be a collection of thoughts as they pop into my head ….. it is!!


The venue is excellent, and the room layout allowed plenty of space for stalls and guests.

There was a good mix of stalls, therapies, and readers and from what I saw during my quick walk around both mornings, all stalls and tables looked really professionally presented/decorated.  There was a real ‘vibrancy’ to the whole area.

During the weekend, I had several visitors comment on my happy nature on both days. We all have ‘stuff’ going on in our lives, but a smile costs nothing and actually has been proven to make you feel better!

Positivity breeds positivity!  I would relish being put next to a BMW (see later for the explanation!).

I am impressed and grateful for all that you both do to build and strengthen this community.  I appreciate the way you deal with problems head-on, whether it be lights not working at the venue or members whingeing about low numbers.  I attend about 70 events every year, so believe me, I experience all manner of organisers and stallholders!!  You are trailblazers!  I appreciate your integrity, transparency, and professionalism, and that is why I feel confident in giving honest feedback, which leads me to the following.


The BMWs – aka the Bleaters, Moaners and Whingers on the weekend – really do need to understand how damaging their actions or inaction can be and that it won’t be tolerated.  I witnessed community members:

•sat with their head in their hands looking bored/miserable

•not smiling (you’ve addressed this)

•not making eye contact with visitors

•not saying hello to visitors

•texting/talking on their mobiles as visitors passed by

•wandering and leaving their stalls (you’ve addressed this)

•openly discussing how poor attendance was in earshot of visitors (this happened twice right in front of my stall while I had customers!)

•holding conversations with other community members in front of other people’s stalls or blocking gangways (access to and the frontage of my stall was blocked several times by other community members chatting to each other away from their stalls/areas!)

•and finally, packing up early – which I mentioned to Liz.  It’s rude, selfish, inconsiderate and a breach of contract.  As community members, we have contracted to trade to 5pm (unless we are released from that contract by either of you).  We have advertised as trading until 5pm.  If Tesco closed their doors early because they’d had a bad day or didn’t think they’d get any more customers that day, we’d all be horrified.  I made my last sale at 5.45pm.

I have every confidence that you will remove the wheat from the chaff.  One suggestion I have, which one of my organisers does for her events, is a bullet point checklist on each table before setup, reminding stallholders of their contractual obligations in a positive, yet firm way – simple bullet points outlining dos and don’ts to help make a successful event for everyone.

My other suggestion to address the packing up early issue would be to make an announcement over the mic: e.g., at 4pm to let visitors know that the show is open until 5pm: So still plenty of time to shop/have a treatment, etc, etc..  I know you don’t announce the talks so as not to disrupt treatments/readings going on, but one afternoon announcement could pre-empt those early packers.

I think you like quotes – so do I … “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  Benjamin Franklin.

As regards low attendance, you hit the nail on the head with legacy – rebuilding a reputation takes time and concerted positive effort by all community members.  It will not happen overnight.  Our individual and collective voices and actions must all sing from the same hymn sheet, all focus on the positive, all follow the ‘rules’ – this will, eventually, drown out the bad-mouthing and rumors and quash the gossipmongers, BMWs, and dissenters!

That’s it! Diatribe over.


  1. some very very good points there .. well said
    we used to work with one organiser who used to go around the hall at 5 pm and ring a bell to let every one know it was the end of the show .. anyone seen packing up before hand would be given 1 written “reminder” about the contracted times for pack up, if they did it again they had all future bookings cancelled ! ..
    it is very disruptive for others for this to happen, esp if someone is having a treatment .. i know this from personal experience .. also we have often had some very good sales at pack up time .. from folks who have realaised the time and come back for something they had ment to get earlier ..( normally the first thing i have already packed up )

    I also agree that hearing the BMW is not a good thing and as laughter breads smiles and laughter . remember we are allowed to enjoy the event and as . moaning can bread disinterest as community members we need to rise above the moaners and remember it is NOT all about what we “take” over the weekend .. it is also about the contacts we make and looking to the future ..

    so too finish hopefully lessons will have been learnt and we can all go forward and remember any event takes team work to promote ( i was quite sad to read ONLY 39 % of the community promoted the event on social media.. surley that should be 100% ? just a thought ) ,
    team work to make visitors welcome and
    team work to make a happy profitable event for all ..
    isnt that what we should all being doing as part of this wonderful community ?

    so now looking forward to Lincoln

    Carol Wallace ( Crystal Carol )

  2. Some great points loving the BMW acronym. I do love a walk around the venue but I am fortunate to have my partner in crime holding the fort as I do so. Love soaking up the atmosphere even making a purchace here and there I get the best of both sides lucky me. I also get to hear lots of comments from visitors and I personally only heard positives

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