In recent weeks we've had some big questions about our events, that we feel it is now time to address publicly. Today we want to set the record straight... Vevolution Festival 2017 - is just 9 days away and will see people come from all over the world to share important ideas and stories to make the world a better place. It's a place to make friends, eat great food but also learn and understand each other. What it is not is a place for one type of dogmatic worldview. We need to be open to the world, warm and understanding, we need to create spaces people can freely discuss their points of view, even if they disagree. Below we will directly answer some questions that have been asked of us through Facebook groups and various social circles.
What is our view on inclusivity and diversity in the vegan community?
In the short amount of time Vevolution has existed we have made significant inroads to promote diversity in the vegan movement, and we think we have been part of bringing that change forward.
Vevolution will always ensure that our events are inclusive. At all times. Judy (Vevolution's Co-Founder) has been involved in many of non-vegan events and when she started to go to the vegan meetups in the UK she was struck by the lack of diversity in the vegan movement in London and wondered why and how can we change this. This is something that is important to us both and we are working hard to include this in everything we do. We can’t promise to get it right every time, but we are working on it.
As a result of this at our festival last year we had a panel specifically focusing on how we can make the vegan movement more inclusive and diverse. The brilliant and erudite Christopher Sebastian hosted the panel with the following people being the panelists - Jez Kaur (Hipster Veggie), Lamar Ita (The Master Of I.C) Esme Carr (London Afro Vegan). Christopher Sebastian also then did a 20 minute talk on the main stage which you can watch below.
Vevolution Festival 2017 has a line up we are proud of with people from all different backgrounds and an equal ratio of men and women as well as there being a good representation from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Last year we were invited to appear on the Animal Rights Zone Intersectionality podcast with Carolyn Bailey and Christopher Sebastian McJetters.
In this interview you can hear our views on creating a more diverse and representative vegan community. Listen to the interview here:
Addressing concerns about a particular speakers views
Vevolution was created to give people a platform to share their stories and ideas to create a better world. We are in the business of shifting the world towards veganism, we want animals to be saved, people to be healthier and our environment to be protected for future generations
Vevolution isn’t a political organisation. That means that not every talk will be representative of the views of the founders and sometimes they may be controversial in nature.
We want to encourage debate and make our events intellectually challenging, we don't want our events to become a vegan echo chamber. Our research shows that 30% of people coming to next week's Vevolution Festival 2017 don't identify as being vegan.
This week some people raised concerns about some old Facebook posts by one of our speakers, who was due to appear at our festival next week. Posts that have thrown the speaker's political stance in to question.
We opened a dialogue with the speaker, and after careful consideration we all decided that it was best for him to step down, to avoid negativity surrounding the festival.
The speaker understands these concerns and he feels sorry about any hurt his posts have caused.
So to be crystal clear Vevolution doesn't support racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism and other types of discrimination.
What about the price point Vevolution is placed at?
We appreciate that our ticket price is higher than some other vegan events but there are simple reasons for this. Firstly we are putting events on in creative venues that are more costly than say a community hall. Judy is from the events world and has organised events in the music, arts and tech world - both of us realised that there was a gap in the vegan events world where there wasn't a creative vegan event that could attract non-vegan people. As a result we invest all the money made from the event back into the event itself - the venue hire, the venue production, filming the talks among other things.
At our events we don't make money from charging stall holders (presently all the caterers and stall holders get their spot for free) unlike other events where they rely on the income from charging stalls.
It is important that there is a diverse range of vegan events - we don't want to be like the ones that already exist as we want to create something new and different. We support all the other amazing vegan events out there but just don't want to replicate what is already being done as they do it well.
London is one of the most expensive cities of the world. Our events attract 150 to 500 people and hiring spaces in London is extortionately high. Our ticket prices reflect what it costs for us to produce the event and to pay for our time. For Vevolution events to continue they need to turn a profit, if they do we will be able to keep help inspire people.
With our festival we offered concession tickets with a 25% discount for recipients of Universal or Pension Credit, full-time students and those aged 16 and under. We also film all the mainspace talks at our festivals at great expense to us and MOST IMPORTANTLY make these freely available online so anyone, anywhere in the world who can't come to the festival can still be involved by watching the videos online at www.vevolution.co/videos for free.
We also held an event series at the beginning of the year called Vevolution Topics where the price to come was £10. We plan to hold this series again next year among other events so that we have a diverse amount of events.
With Vevolution Festival finding a venue for 500 people is a big challenge which is why the price is more expensive than our Topics series. But with this ticket attendees will get free coffee the whole day, a goodie bag with amazing products in worth over £30, free breakfast and lastly but most importantly all our talks, panels and workshops for free, forever.
We want to build a sustainable company that can help inspire people in their lives. We want to create jobs for people where they can promote veganism and living life with purpose and love. We believe our events offer value for money and Vevolution Festival 2017 sold out over 4 weeks in advance.
Are we hurt by the Facebook comments?
We are human beings and care deeply about what we do. We both have dedicated our lives to this cause. When people gossip about us and Vevolution in facebook groups and we find out, of course it hurts. We have sacrificed a lot to create Vevolution.
In order for the vegan movement to be strong we need to be united and not be aggressive with one another. As we said we attract a lot of non-vegan people to our events and if they got wind of some of the in-fighting that happens in our community they would run a mile.
Let us please be united and support one another, we are such a small group of people. How are we supposed to face the mountain together if we are constantly trying to tear each other down?
And as we have said before if you really do have any burning issues with us or our events please just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com we are more than happy to talk, listen to concerns and criticisms.
We really hope this post has cleared a few things up.
With love and gratitude,
Damien & Judy