Festival of Thrift Interviews-John Orchard

Well, I promised you interviews with the people behind the Festival of Thrift, so here goes….

Today, my Jeremy Paxman style questions are being directed to John Orchard-owner of the Festival venue Lingfield Point, and co-curator of the Festival:

John Orchard Photo credit: The Festival of Thrift

John Orchard
Photo credit: The Festival of Thrift

1) Can you tell us a little bit about you, and your involvement with the Festival of Thrift?
I’m a Director of Marchday, the company who have upcycled the wool factory buildings at Lingfield Point Darlington into these cool workspaces. I met Wayne and Gerardine (Hemingway) a few years ago, they loved the place and the Festival of Thrift was born!

2) The Festival of Thrift seems to have really caught people’s imaginations and last year’s inaugural event was hugely successful. Why do you think it has such appeal?
I think Thrift is relevant to everyone, whether out of necessity or lifestyle choice. I think there’s a feeling among younger people that rampant consumerism isn’t for them – to them, make do and mend is another way to express themselves.

 3) What was your favourite part of last year’s event, and what are you most looking forwards to this year?
The whole thing just knocked me out. My lasting memory was thousands of smiling faces looking on in disbelief that something this good was happening in their town!
This year I’m hoping to get along to a couple of the workshops and I cant wait to see Ida Barr the rapping Music Hall act.

Ida Barr Photo Credit: The Festival of Thrift

Ida Barr
Photo Credit: The Festival of Thrift

4) Thrift can mean many things to many people-what does it mean to you? And how important is it as part of your everyday life?
I was brought up in a very poor household so thrift was just part of our lives. My Mum always bought cheap cuts of meat – we ate a lot of stewing steak!
I try to live thriftily and as I get older I get a lot of pleasure out of being thrifty. I’m no Guru of Thrift but I’m getting better. I love keeping favourite clothes alive by patching and reinforcing – they just get better with age.

5) Do you think Thrift is just another passing fad, or is it here to stay?
And how do you think Thrift in the 21st Century is different from the post-war era?
Well, post war there wasn’t a choice. For many people today they can at least choose.
This is a mainstream movement which ties into to the whole Vintage movement, people who want to live sustainably and people who love to make and grow things. When people have discovered the pleasure those things can bring to their lives I don’t think they’ll want to give them up.

6) I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times before, but can you give us your top Thrifty Tip?!
I usually say ‘keep chickens’! They’re fun, low maintenance, they kids love them and the eggs are better than any you’ll buy.
But instead I’m going to pass on a great upcycling idea I saw recently – turn the drum of your old, knackered washing machine into a firepit like this –

The Festival of Thrift is happening this weekend (27th and 28th September) in Darlington. It’s FREE to get in and looks A-MAZING! Do go along if you can, and let me know what you got up to 🙂


10 thoughts on “Festival of Thrift Interviews-John Orchard

  1. I wish I’d thought of this first! I’d love a Festival of Thrift nearer to me, even if I had to organise it myself. Not that it’d be a patch on this venue and team. 🙂

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