Street food fest's disappointing turnout at Newby Hall

The Gardner family at Newby Hall last weekend at the StrEat Food & Family Fun Festival. (1709242AM7).
The Gardner family at Newby Hall last weekend at the StrEat Food & Family Fun Festival. (1709242AM7).

After a disappointing crowd, the organisers of a new food festival at Newby Hall near Ripon at the weekend have said they will learn lessons.

Running from Friday to Sunday at the stately home, the car parks were quiet for much of the timr, especially on Sunday afternoon, as were the trade stalls.

Independent Harrogate businesswoman Cathy McConaghy, director of the StrEat Food & Family Fun Festival, admitted things could have gone better.

She said: “As the big sister to our hugely successful free festival in Valley Gardens, the Newby Hall event was our first ticketed festival and as such we recognise there are things we could have done differently to make the festival experience better for everyone. “

One of Yorkshire’s top tourist attractions, Newby Hall near Ripon and the River Ure is more used to welcoming royal visitors than holding events of this nature.

The 18th-century country house and its lovely gardens are newcomers to the world of live rock bands, top dance DJs and street food vendors.

But ticket sales mean there was no danger of the Grade I listed building being rocked to its foundations.

Even acts of the calibre of BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills, chart-topping boyband 5ive and Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman and stalwart of BBC Radio 6Music, Huey Morgan failed to create the sort of buzz anticipated by organisers.

But Cathy McConaghy said everyone who had turned up had told her they had had a great time.

She said: “We are delighted that the majority of festival goers thoroughly enjoyed the eclectic mix of food, film, entertainment, headline acts and family fun on offer and thank everyone for supporting us. “

Car park attendants had an easier weekend than expected, though coach parties from further afield arriving to visit the gardens as normal were reportedly surprised.

But traders who hoped to do better were thanked for their patience by the main organiser.

And she said she hoped to bring the festival back next year - with changes.

Cathy McConaghy said: “We fully appreciate the support of our loyal street food traders and the general public alike, who came along to the three- day event.

“We would like to thank Newby Hall for hosting our StrEat Food & Family Festival over the weekend in their beautiful grounds, they have been amazing to work with.

“We promise to come back bigger and better next year and will take on board feedback we have received so far.”