It’s Vegfest Brighton this weekend and I’ve had so many people over the past month or so ask me “Are you going to Vegfest?! and are shocked when I reply “No.”. Some people have then gone onto asking me why that is. So I thought I’d share it with the world why I won’t be going this year. There are many reasons, so let’s begin…
A Previously Bad Experience at Vegfest Brighton
Entrance and Accessibility Woes
Before I’d made the decision to cut out animal products from my life, I went to Vegfest 2015. Unfortunately I had a bad experience. Despite having a press pass and being told there was a certain entrance for press and disabled attendees, when myself and a couple of other people who fell under those categories (myself and another kind lady falling under both) showed our passes and requested entry at this specific entrance, we were refused entry by security and told to go around the the front entrance “and queue with everyone else”. Now I’m not being the “I’m a blogger, let me in, do you know who I am?!!”, but when you’re told there’s a specific entrance, you’d imagine that would go ahead, especially if you have proof that you’re both press and disabled.
Consume, Consume, Consume
Consumption may be in the blood of the public now, but I try to steer away from it when I can… even with food. When an event is held so close to payday, but there’s loads of awesome products all in one place, you’re faced with choosing to say no to each an every stall holder and just having a £7/£10 window shop feels a bit… crap. And yes, I know credit cards exist, and I do have one, but I couldn’t put food on it unless I was really desperate. I feel that there’s such a pressure to buy in these kind of places, and combined with other factors it just ruins me.
Vegetarians and Vegans Aren’t Always Nice People
The pushing, the shoving, the tutting and lack of manners from other members of the public attending the event goes to show that not everyone in the vegetarian and vegan community is nice. You’d think that some of the nasty and holier-than-thou people in some of the online communities would just keep that kind of activity online, but unfortunately they don’t.
Lack of Space to Sit Down and Rest
Like I mentioned before, I was lucky enough last year to have a press pass, so had access to the press area where there were seats to relax in a certain part of the event. However, this year I wouldn’t be press, and the only seating area would be in the food area, which gets super packed and so at times I’d have to sit on the floor, which I then wouldn’t be able to get up from without help. It would be really nice to have a space where those who have disabilities, whether it’s mobility issues, anxiety issues, or something else, to sit and relax, similar to the press area but a wee bit more calm.
It’s Bloody Awful for My Anxiety
I live with anxiety and have done since I was a pre-teen. The pushing, shoving, noise and lack of space to relax made me rather unwell and I had to leave early, missing some of the talks I wanted to attend.
The Good Bits of Vegfest Brighton
It’s not all bad, and if you’re attending any of the Vegfest events, make sure you keep these great things about the event in mind.
The Volunteers are Bloody Lovely
After my experience with the ‘dedicated entrance’, the rest of my day with event staff was very pleasant, they were all lovely, so I’m putting down the whole ‘entrance debacle’ to the security staff provided by The Brighton Centre.
The Opportunities Given to Small Businesses
I’ve got some great friends and contacts who run small vegetarian and vegan businesses and events like Vegfest gives them exposure to a market who may not know about their shops and websites.
….oh, the food! There’s so much to buy and enjoy. And if you’re into food and don’t mind mass consmption and buying pressure (not by the staff, mind, just overall peer pressure) then there’s lots for you to enjoy!! Including vegan cream cakes, kebabs, Thai food, fruit skewers… there’s vegan junk food beyond your wildest dreams!
The Activism Areas
A big part of the vegan community is activism, and there’s some great educational talks to attend while at the event. Despite my anxiety taking over, I managed to go to a great talk in the Hemp Expo by Clark French from UPA and Norml UK. I’d wanted to go to some of the other political oriented talks, but I’ve managed to educated myself away from Vegfest on some of the issues I wanted to know more about. If you want to know more about vegan activism, then make sure you check out YouTube! There’s some great channels such as The Friendly Activist, my friend Damien Does, Plant Based News, Compassionate Living, Vegan Revolution, and Bite Sized Vegan.
Have Fun and Enjoy Vegfest!
So if you’re going to Vegfest, please do enjoy! I’ll be living vicariously through Instagram and Twitter, that’s for sure. But I won’t be going, and I think my reasons why help others understand!