Don't back failed Kidwelly e-book festival, council told
A KIDWELLY resident has called on the town council to disassociate itself from organisers of the UK's first e-book literary festival.
The council received a letter from Mark James, of Glanafon, requesting that it no longer backed the ventures of the Kidwell-e Festival's founder, Julian Ruck, in the wake of outspoken comments he made after the event flopped.
Mr Ruck, of New Street, publicly criticised the community, claiming the festival held at Ffos Las in July had received "zero" local support. He also declared Wales was "not investor-friendly", that the Welsh were "not very good at immediate adjustment" and that the event was "an effort to improve the literacy crisis in Wales".
Mr James wrote: "I respectfully suggest the council or councillors look carefully at any association they may have with these organisers, with comments such as these.
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"Will the council express an opinion as to disassociating itself with the organisers of this festival, particularly due to the criticisms levied against the community?"
He also urged the council to invite the organisers to change the festival's title as it "may become a blight upon the town's name", at a time when it needed to encourage more visitors and events.
It had been hoped thousands would attend the festival in July, but footfall fell dramatically short of expectations — attracting fewer than 100 visitors.
At the latest town council meeting, clerk Geraint Thomas said: "I can confirm that the council was not in support of the relocation of the event to Trimsaran and sent a letter to the organiser, Julian Ruck, stating this while asking for further information, but no reply arrived."
Councillor Ryan Thomas said: "This raises particular issues and it is quite right in saying that the council did not support it, but the festival did go ahead and went ahead with the Kidwelly name.
"It had no authority to be called Kidwell-e.
"Certain comments to the local paper from Mr Ruck were not favourable to the local community, and the council may want to disassociate themselves from these types of people. There does seem to be a lot of people popping up with limited groups."
Mr Ruck replied: "The Kidwelly Town Council has precisely no legal authority whatsoever to prevent me calling my company Kidwelly Festival Ltd, neither indeed does it have any legal authority to stop me using Kidwell-e as a brand name.
"Kidwelly Festival Ltd and brand name Kidwell-e stand. If the august and venerable Kidwelly Town Council doesn't like it, tough, I'll see them in court."
"If these malcontents enjoyed a trifle more foresight and also perhaps a disposition that allowed them to see beyond the two-mile limit of Kidwelly town, they would appreciate that the name Kidwelly will only ever be associated with being in the vanguard of the e-book revolution as being the first place in the UK to hold an e-book festival and also the first place in the world to offer a £10,000 e-book award."