I felt uneasy, the minute I read the words “Somerset's Festival Town”. I know that we are in desperate need of revitalisation, and the people pushing for this have the best intentions, but something about this doesn't feel right. We certainly should have had a public consultation. Without the majority of the community supporting the idea, it's not going to work. People are a bit angry to be honest. We moved our family to Shepton Mallet the 'Historic Market Town'. I don't think we would have even considered somewhere called a “Festival Town”- there are just too many negative connotations. Only one town can handle that reputation, and it's not us.
Glastonbury is the festival town. It has a hippy, eclectic vibe ( even though it's not the closest geographically to Pilton ) the festival spirit runs though it's mystical veins. Incense, tie-dye clothes and falafels, that's a festival town. Shepton needs investment in it's market, especially with the quirky suitcase sellers becoming so popular. The council should be promoting it's historical & iconic architecture. It's connection to the Cider Mills, Babycham and Wool. We could have a permanent market produce / farm type shop in the centre like John Thorners, or a tie-in with Kilver Court. We need colourful postcards and new brochures showing our revamped high street with hanging baskets, our chic & cheerful market, abundance of crafty coffee shops and Collet Park. Let's celebrate Shepton Mallet's heritage. Be proud of what we are, instead of trying to be something we're not.
As published in The Shepton Mallet Journal 23/07/15
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)