Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the Straw Bear Festival. I am a huge fan of what the organisers have achieved with the festival, but, over the last year I have also become increasingly aware of a feeling from the organisers that the festival is becoming increasingly difficult to organise. A large part of the responsibility for that is being put on increasing bureaucracy from local authorities and, to a certain extent, policing.
If we are to guarantee the future of the Straw Bear and create an environment that encourages volunteers and helps the festival to thrive, we need to listen to this message. For that reason I will be writing this week to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Fenland District Council and the Highways Department at the County Council to ask for senior managers to sit around the table with the Straw Bear organisers and some of our landlords so that some frank discussions can take place about how the public sector can reduce bureaucracy and make life easier for everyone.
I am sure this bureaucracy is all well intended and much of it will revolvs around concerns about alcohol - but that doesn't mean to say that we can't try to simplify things.
Of course the problem in the evening that was reported at the Ivy Leaf Club don't help to find solutions to this problem.
The organisers of the straw bear are always looking for willing volunteers - if you would like to play a part in making this amazing festival happen, please drop me a note and I'll put you in touch.