West Midlands Vegan Festival 2009 - Wolverhampton, October 24th, 2009
By Shari Black Velvet
The West Midlands Vegan Festival took place at the Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton on October 24th. With the doors opening at 11am the festival was busy throughout the day. The main room in the venue was where the majority of the stalls were situated. After giving the small £1 entry fee you were given a free program showing what was taking place and at what time. The program also gave a list of the caterers and stalls and info on the various workshops, talks and demos taking place. Stalls featured campaign groups such as Animal Aid, VIVA!, CAFT and Greyhound Action, product companies such as Lush, EthicalWARES, Arbonne International and Lucy Rose, there were stalls from a variety of other vegan outlets - Vegan Runners, Yoga In Daily Life and Off The Hoof Magazine, organisations such as the Green Party, The Vegan Society and Campaign for Eco-Veg*nism and of course various food stalls such as Blue Lotus Products, Amazon Herb Company and Amaru. Almost everything you could possibly want was there. I took nearly 2 hours going around the stalls, taking a few photos (see below) and checking out the products - and that was me being fast! You could sample various food and drink items. The aloe vera gel was nice (did you know you could get aloe vera in drink form? It has a lot of healing properties) - and the chocolate and cake samples were tempting to many. Many of the stalls featured sale items so you could grab a bargain (some T-shirts were only £4 for example, and some cakes were half price just for festival-goers). Whether you were interested in vegan cosmetics, vegan body care, vegan clothing, vegan footwear, vegan accessories, vegan food, vegan literature or vegan anything else it was all there.
In the bar area you could chill out and eat and drink vegan food and drink, while upstairs were a couple of rooms hosting the entertainment, speakers/talks and cookery demos. Entertainers included Martin the Livewire, a political/socially conscious mc/rap artist, and Pieces Of Beth, a Birmingham based band, performing an acoustic set. There was even a yoga workshop which saw many people learning how to do yoga and discovering how it helps in life. The talks began at midday and ran until just before 5pm - seeing a range of subjects covered such as vegan nutrition, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society speaking about what they do at sea, vegan and animal rights campaigning and 'The Power Of Living Foods'. There was also a raffle to win a variety of goodies donated by many of the organisations/companies on site.
Although the main part of the festival ended at 5pm, the evening session began at 7pm with more entertainment, with Chris Butler, Hello Big World, Jobo Hobo and Martin the Livewire (again!) all performing sets in the Wulfrun Bar.
Whether you were vegan, vegetarian or even a meat eater, this was a great event to experience. Everyone was welcome and everyone was (as always on vegan/animal rights events) super-friendly and nice. If you didn't go, why not check it out next year? Kudos to Kevin White and everyone involved in organising a great day. More info can be found at: http://www.veganmidlands.org.uk/festival/home.html