Campsite open to public noon Thursday 28th May until noon Monday 1st June 2020
Box office open between 9:00am & midnight
We followed the classic trajectory in forming and becoming a festival - the unwitting group of friends who put on a party only to see it grow and grow. Way back in 2009 a group of friends who played and shared a love of Folk, Old Time and Bluegrass music began to visit the farm, brought together there by a certain Fiddle Player who used to live on the farm. We had many a fine evening jamming and sitting by the fire. The farm is owned by an amazing woman called Marianne. She has lived on the farm for over 25 years, and before that lived in the Felin down in the valley. In her more active years, Marianne ran a riding school at the farm, and still has many horses on the farm - this is the primary function of the farm.
It had been a while since the farm had been used as a riding school, and as a consequence, had fallen into a less than perfect state of repair - mainly problems with roofs of some of the outbuildings. Spurred on by their love of folk music and outdoor activity, and seeing potential in a farm not used to it's full potential, and with the blessing of Marianne, a plan was concocted to hold a small gathering to raise some money and get volunteers together to help get the farm into better shape. It began with an April "work week", where 20 - 30 vounteers came together on the farm to begin the journey of a big tidy up and clear out. In return for their efforts, and to raise funds (oh how we laugh at that now!), bands were booked, ale was ordered from local breweries, and invites sent out. In wanting to be "above board", some bright spark thought it necessary to get a license... and so we did... and then, we needed a name, and we chose "Fire in the Mountain", suitably named both in fitting with the location and after an old time Appalachian fiddle tune.
Here we are today. Through the efforts of countless volunteers and 5 festivals, we can safely say that our aims to renovate and maintain the farm have been a success. There is still work to be done, and still ideas to be brought to fruitition. Future projects on the farm include installing a permanent compost loo, wood fired shower and "bunkhouse", to allow groups of volunteers to visit and help out on the farm. There are plans for woodland maintenance in the "planting". Perhaps the occasional wedding or yoga retreat?. And of course, an annual small gathering of the finest folk musicians in the world.
We have recently undergone some exciting changes as an organisation - indeed, it can be said we have finally had the space and time to try and become an organisation. We have been highly influenced by the work of Frederic Laloux, and have been discussing and implementing principles of Self Management. None of the volunteer organisers are drawn to nor keep giving their time to this project to have just another "boss", so it was only right that we explore new methodologies in how we organise.
Currently we have a core team of 25 people who are actively involved in the planning and running of the event and the ongoing works on the farm. Instead of centralised departments we carried out a role based analysis of everything that needs to be done to complete the yearly work. These roles are then chosen by the crew, largely depending on their time available, their skill set, and inclination to do those tasks. Therefore, anyone has the right to take on different roles in different years. There is no centralised "financial department" - instead we draft an open source budget in a shared document. Here, it is up to the people involved to decide what wages, expenses and materials costs they have. Everyone can see how much income the festival can potentially generate, and has to budget accordingly. This all has to be done in consideration of all the relevant legislation too: Health and Safety, CDM regulations, Food Hygiene, The Licensing Act, etc.
Fire in the Mountain Festival LTD is a registered Not For Profit Company. This means we do not have a share capital, and all and any profits after modest wages (not yet!) can only be used to further the aims and objectives of the company. Our aims and objectives are simple: "to hold a folk music festival on a farm in return for maintenance and repairs to the farm on which it is held". We can not sell all or any of the festival to corporate companies. We can only give the festival to another organisation with similar aims and objectives.
Core Crew members come and go over the years. We do need people to vounteer and help out. Please contact us if you would like to get more involved, or come to the festival forum noon on Saturday for a meet and greet with the organiers firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's probably a first, and counter to all prevailing economic models, but we've lowered ticket prices for the 2017 gathering. This is down to all the amazing volunteers who work tirelessly all year round, and all the amazing volunteers who come to the event in the weeks before, during and after the festival. Wages are given sparingly to essential roles that are time consuming and very boring.
Where does the ticket money go? You lot must be rolling in it! The costs are stacked against the promoter and event organiser - ask anyone else mad enough to do this. "Profit" generally lies in the last 1-2% of ticket sales. The costs are astonomical. If we paid everyone involved market rates for their labour all year round, we'd have to quadruple ticket prices. Festivals just can't happen without volunteers, and some group of people with enough vision and foresight to care enough to dedicate themselves to making it happen. We've had the extra work to do in trying to renovate an old farm as well as building a safe event.
We can say whatever we like here, however, the proof is in the pudding, which is why, in an unprecedented step for a festival, we have decided to publish all our accounts!
2016 Predicted Expenditure
Campers. Why is there a charge for campers? Answer: People who bring their vans tend to bring all their own food and most of their own alcohol. We need this income, and thus there should be a charge. They are also costs associated with campers coming and going. We need to pay wages or professional parking stewards to ensure that people park sensibly and everyone can fit in. In 2015 we invested over £8000 in "trackway", special and bloody expensive (and heavy) stuff we put down on the grass to stop vehicles getting stuck in the mud. The festival is in Wales right? It'd be gross negligence not to!
Are the repairs to the farm any good? Answer: We have embarked on substantial building work such as repairing and re-slating roofs, restoring stonework, and works to the land. A lot of time and effort goes into the maintenance and upkeep of the farm all year round. Most of our volunteers can only come for 3 - 4 days before the event to help out. We have made do with very limited budget in this project and tremendous works have been achieved. If there are any multi-millionaire benefactors out there who want to bottom line a 10 year plan, please get in touch!.
None of your bands are that famous, why the expensive tickets? Answer: In our opinion, we book some of the best Folk bands in the world, and loads of bands that are not represented on the bills of more mainstream festivals. We have a strong artistic vision and have been praised for booking the best in up-and-coming and emerging folk bands, as well as established folk artists. We are not a pop festival. We strive to pay decent wages to all booked musicians who play, regardless of their chart hits or re-tweets. We at least aim to pay MU Rates to the bands we invite to play. There is no reason why we should not aim to pay a living wage to musicians we respect, just as we would any other labourer. In addition, we have about 1000 applications for 40 slots, so some bands have to play for free.
Is there a local discount? Yes! The best way we could think of to fairly administer a discount to locals was to sell them locally to the festival. Andy's Records was nice enough to help us sell tickets, in Aberystwyth. They are sold in person only (not on the phone please).
Only big festivals charge over £100. Why do you? We still have huge overheads just like any other festival. This is why we've published the budget for all to see. We could sell twice as many tickets for the same infrastructure, but we prefer a lovely small intimate festival. This was a decision we made long ago - not to grow. Ever. We've seen too many festivals we love grow and grow and then turn into something else. We aim to be a sustainable small local event and stay the same small festival everyone has come to love. Please support and respect the festival, and we hope you understand that the ticket price reflects everything we need to make the event safe, fun and accessible for all.