The equality for women movement has existed for a long time in this country. Logically there isn’t a viable argument to be made for not treating them as equal. OK, there are some niche items, usually involving brute strength where an average man is stronger than an average woman, but I can’t really think of much else.
On the fairground however, things are very different. Women have pretty much been the equal of their men folk, well, forever. Heck, who am I kidding, most of the time they are leading from the front. It’s one of the few industries where the business is usually a genuinely equal partnership between the sexes.
As you will see, his was illustrated perfectly when the Covid-19 crisis struck.
Funfairs, like much of the entertainment industry was closed down, and received little in the way of government support.
A few showmen managed to provide some local funfairs, but in many cases, even though the government gave the go ahead for this, the local authorities refused to play ball and promptly closed them down.
True to form, the showmen (and women ) immediately pivoted into a myriad of other lines of work. From delivering parcels to baking cakes to making garden furniture, they needed to feed their families and so just got stuck in.
Our trade organisation the ‘Guild’ as it is popularly known, has come in for a lot of flak during this time. It is commonly felt that they have neither done enough, nor been seen to be doing enough.
For the former, it’s a debatable point. I am sure that plenty has been going on behind the scenes. However they haven’t done a very good job of communicating this to the members.
When it comes to pushing our case to the wider world, it has to be said that our industry hasn’t been particularly visible either in the traditional media, or just as importantly, on social media.
Step Forward The Ladies
In an attempt to remedy this, a group of ladies from within the industry have decided to step up and take the matter into their own hands. Forming a campaign group known as “Future 4 Fairgrounds”, they have began a PR campaign to try and focus a spotlight upon the plight of our industry.
They have made excellent use of social media, which, in this day and age is just as important as the traditional media outlets. From regular Facebook posts, to some professionally produced videos on Youtube, there has been a marked increase in our industries online presence.
Coupled with this have been regular appearances of the F4F banners, at various events around the country. Many street fairs have been cancelled due to the crises. At a few, a token children’s rides have attended to maintain the link to the fairs charter. Quite often the ride has proudly sported a banner publicising our plight to the public.
A range of car stickers were also produced and have turned up in some surprising places.
Their campaign has been a brilliant addition to publicising our industries plight. The Facebook page at Future4Fairgrounds is fast becoming a valuable resource. Showing just what is happening around the country regarding the funfair industry. The ladies appear to be building some valuable links with M.P.’s and other influential organisations.
Like many traditional industries, ours is going to look very different coming out of the crisis. It’s arguable how much longer we can deal with being totally closed without any help. A lot of showmen may well never get started back up.
Initiatives like the F4F group are going to be more important than ever as we enter the second year of Covid. So good luck ladies, and keep flying high.