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Summing up – Jimmy Doherty, 43, and Nichola Adams, 39

Summing Up
9 July 2018
Jimmy Doherty
Jimmy Doherty achieved national attention when a BBC series documented him setting-up a rare-breed pig farm in Suffolk. With Jimmy’s Farm now a successful visitor attraction, Doherty launched his Sausage and Beer festival in 2009, alongside Harvest at Jimmy’s, re-launching as Jimmy’s Festival in 2016 with director Nichola Adams. It attracts around 8,000 people, with headliners this year including The Happy Mondays and Paul Young.

What prepared you for the task?

JD: “The festival is all about the farm. The Sausage and Beer festival started in 2009 in addition to Harvest at Jimmy’s, run by a promoter who used the farm as the venue. Our event started as a celebration of great food and beer, but became a bigger music event in 2013 after Harvest had finished. It was great having acts like Athlete and Badly Drawn Boy at the farm, so we wanted to keep that going.”

NA: “The venue was an existing business and tourist attraction, which helped us promote it. We have added value that other events simply don’t have, such as a reptile house.”

How did you make it all happen?

JD: “I would throw a few artistes’ names in the ring and we’d try to book them. Since the festival’s been in-house, we’ve had Toploader, Dodgy, KT Tunstall, Scouting for Girls and Newton Faulkner. We have some amazing talent in our area, so we make sure we support them. I hope we helped Ed Sheeran [who played at the Jimmy’s Farm event] along the way.

“The first Sausage & Beer Festival drew about 2,000 people and we now have up to 8,000 a day, and  2,000 campers.

Nichola Adams

What has made the festival a success?

JD: “Taking on a bigger event and changing format in 2016 felt like we were entering new festival territory. The numbers had increased and we needed a solid base. We’d also expanded the farm to include a woodland walk and wildlife park, so it became more than sausages and beer.”

NA: “When I joined we needed to grow sustainably, so I made sure suppliers and contractors bedded in well. Every year we tweak this and this year we have two new stages including a third music stage. It’s impossible to pull this off without a strong team who all respect each other. They all have to be grafters, kind and able to have a laugh.

“I make sure that the festival is true to the farm’s ethos and fits with Jimmy’s values. It’s a family event with everything from den-building to cookery courses and demonstrations. Staying true to that ideal means being friendly, keeping it good value.”

 

What have been your highs and lows?

JD: “In 2015 we had a major storm and tents were blowing all over the shop. It was nerve-racking but the team pulled together and the show went on. For me the highlight is having this number of people spending time in a place that my wife Caela and I have built-up together.”

NA: The biggest buzz for me is when the first part of the build goes in and the team starts putting the jigsaw together. From then on, it’s constant adrenaline, making sure everything fits.

Key suppliers

Sound and lighting: Ethix

Production Management: EnTeetainment

Stages: Star Events

Marquees: Anglia Coastal Marquees

Security & Stewarding: Annisa Intelligence

Loos: Hallmark Event Hire

Water: Wicked Water

Power: Gofer

Fencing: Palmers

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