The Kidwell-e Festival, a literary festival aiming to promote eBooks and self publishing, has closed its doors early after only 100 of the 25,000 expected attendees turned up.
Opening its doors at Ffos Las racecourse in Carmarthenshire last Saturday before closing early the following day, it was looking to capitalise on the growing interest in self-publishing with digital formats following the success of the Kindle and E. L James’ saucy Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
However, clashing with the Olympics opening last weekend combined with the remote, poorly signposted location, severely affected attendance numbers.
Speaking to the BBC, self-publishend Swansea author Ann Marie Thomas (one of the few festival attendees) described her experience at the event:
“Ffos Las is only signposted when you’re nearby and there were no signs saying: ‘Kidwell-e Festival this way’,” she said.
“Once inside the festival there was no signage and there was quite a dash between the venues. There was no choice of food either, just a burger van. If 25,000 had turned up there would have been quite a queue for food.”
It’s a bitter blow for Kidwell-e Festival founder and author Julian Ruck, who had hoped to inspire young authors with the event.
“I invested my own money in this festival. In my own humble way I was looking to put something into the Welsh economy,” said Ruck.
But Ruck vows to return next year:
“We are back next year. We have had a punch in the face, but we’re not knocked out.”