General ramblings

Festival of Thrift Interviews-John Orchard

September 23, 2014

Well, I promised you interviews with the people behind the Festival of Thrift, so here goes….

Today, my Jeremy Paxman style questions are being directed to John Orchard-owner of the Festival venue Lingfield Point, and co-curator of the Festival:

John Orchard Photo credit: The Festival of Thrift

John Orchard
Photo credit: The Festival of Thrift

1) Can you tell us a little bit about you, and your involvement with the Festival of Thrift?
I’m a Director of Marchday, the company who have upcycled the wool factory buildings at Lingfield Point Darlington into these cool workspaces. I met Wayne and Gerardine (Hemingway) a few years ago, they loved the place and the Festival of Thrift was born!

2) The Festival of Thrift seems to have really caught people’s imaginations and last year’s inaugural event was hugely successful. Why do you think it has such appeal?
I think Thrift is relevant to everyone, whether out of necessity or lifestyle choice. I think there’s a feeling among younger people that rampant consumerism isn’t for them – to them, make do and mend is another way to express themselves.

 3) What was your favourite part of last year’s event, and what are you most looking forwards to this year?
The whole thing just knocked me out. My lasting memory was thousands of smiling faces looking on in disbelief that something this good was happening in their town!
This year I’m hoping to get along to a couple of the workshops and I cant wait to see Ida Barr the rapping Music Hall act.

Ida Barr Photo Credit: The Festival of Thrift

Ida Barr
Photo Credit: The Festival of Thrift

4) Thrift can mean many things to many people-what does it mean to you? And how important is it as part of your everyday life?
I was brought up in a very poor household so thrift was just part of our lives. My Mum always bought cheap cuts of meat – we ate a lot of stewing steak!
I try to live thriftily and as I get older I get a lot of pleasure out of being thrifty. I’m no Guru of Thrift but I’m getting better. I love keeping favourite clothes alive by patching and reinforcing – they just get better with age.

5) Do you think Thrift is just another passing fad, or is it here to stay?
And how do you think Thrift in the 21st Century is different from the post-war era?
Well, post war there wasn’t a choice. For many people today they can at least choose.
This is a mainstream movement which ties into to the whole Vintage movement, people who want to live sustainably and people who love to make and grow things. When people have discovered the pleasure those things can bring to their lives I don’t think they’ll want to give them up.

6) I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times before, but can you give us your top Thrifty Tip?!
I usually say ‘keep chickens’! They’re fun, low maintenance, they kids love them and the eggs are better than any you’ll buy.
But instead I’m going to pass on a great upcycling idea I saw recently – turn the drum of your old, knackered washing machine into a firepit like this –

The Festival of Thrift is happening this weekend (27th and 28th September) in Darlington. It’s FREE to get in and looks A-MAZING! Do go along if you can, and let me know what you got up to 🙂


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  • Reply silverbells2012 September 24, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Seriously thinking about going to the festival although we will have been for a long day out in Knaresborough on Saturday…..

    • Reply Jen September 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Oooh, go for it! And let us know if you do go and what you get up to!

  • Reply lindaswildlifegarden September 24, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:

    • Reply Jen September 24, 2014 at 6:50 am

      Thanks Linda, and thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Rachael September 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I wish I’d thought of this first! I’d love a Festival of Thrift nearer to me, even if I had to organise it myself. Not that it’d be a patch on this venue and team. 🙂

    • Reply Jen September 24, 2014 at 6:48 am

      We need to start a campaign for a Thrift Fest South..! Or maybe one in every town 😉

      • Reply Charlotte Clark September 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

        We definitely need something further South. I’d love to go to a lot of these types of festivals, but they’re too far away for me.

        • Reply Rae Hodgetts September 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

          If there was one in Bath, I think I’d try to have a weekend break there. Perhaps Jen could ask the organisers if they’d thought of replicating it elsewhere or if they’ve any objections to others organising something along a similar format. Imitation being the best form of flattery, and all that!

          • Jen September 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

            Oh crikey-there’s a challenge!

        • Reply Jen September 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

          I know! I will certainly be passing on everyone’s comments 🙂

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