Arran VegFest postponed due to travel and virus fears

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Arran’s first VegFest, which was scheduled to be held over two days this weekend, has had to be postponed as issues with travel arrangements and concerns over coronavirus intensified in the run up to the event.

The difficult decision made by the organisers has meant that the packed schedule of events, which would have comprised seven speakers, two films, children’s entertainment, live music, and 30 food and various other stalls have all had to be cancelled just days before as participants and visitors started withdrawing.

Organiser Jules Lee, speaking to the Banner on Wednesday, said: ‘It is with deep regret and sadness, in view of the fact that a number of participants in, and visitors to, Arran VegFest 2020 have had to withdraw, that the organisers have taken the very difficult decision to postpone the event. Arran VegFest was due to take place at Arran High School this weekend. A new date will be announced later in the year.

‘The withdrawal of so many participants and visitors has been attributed to a number of factors but largely the uncertainty as to whether, having already travelled some distance to get to Ardrossan, they will be able to cross to Arran or back with their vehicles.

‘This is due to the continuing uncertainty as to whether particular sailings will take place as a result of CalMac’s ongoing technical problems. There are currently two technical issues cited by CalMac, the combined results of which are causing reduced vehicle capacity, and the potential inability of the vessel to dock.

‘In addition, we have concerns over the spread of coronavirus on Arran by visitors to Arran VegFest. Opinions indicate that a fast spread of the virus is likely to cause an NHS crisis, and we do not wish to be contributors to such a situation on our island or to put any Arran residents at any unnecessary risk.

‘This decision is a heartbreaking one, after the many hours of preparation by so many people that have gone into organising the festival. Arran VegFest was to include seven speakers, two films, children’s entertainment, live music, and almost 30 food and other stalls.

‘It is intended that Arran VegFest will be rearranged for a future date when transportation to and from the island can be better predicted, and coronavirus is no longer a threat.

‘Judging of the young people’s Creativity Competition, for which many amazing entries have been received, will still take place, and prizes will be awarded. Entries will be posted on social media and the website, and winners announced over the next week.

‘We are also working with the seven VegFest speakers to record the talks they would have been presenting over the weekend, with the intention that these will be made available online.

‘The organisers wish to thank the many people on Arran and beyond for their support, help and kindness in helping to create what had promised to be an amazing weekend on Arran.’

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