Big Tent is organised by Falkland Centre for Stewardship, a small charity based in the heart of Falkland Estate.
As well as caring for the A-listed House of Falkland with its arts and craft interiors and historic landscape, we are developing Falkland Estate as a place where people are learning how to live and work more sustainably. Our interests span from the value of re-skilling our communities to the impact of today's decisions on climate change for future generations. We are adapting old ideas of stewardship to the needs of our modern, fast changing world with an organic farm that is starting to produce affordable food for our local town, by upgrading miles of paths to strengthen our connections with neighbouring communities, planting thousands of trees and considering plans for allotments and wood fuel production.
As well as hosting the Big Tent, we are also home to various projects such as the Woodland Learning Programme and the Zero Waste Programme for Fife. We frequently run smaller activities and courses so look up our website for what's happening.
The original proposal for Big Tent was for a "festival of stewardship" at Falkland was conceived on the steps of Falkland Upper Town Hall at the end of the first stewardship forum meeting held by Falkland Centre for Stewardship on August 31st 2004. The prompt was the forthcoming G8 summit at Gleneagles in July 2005 - we imagined an event (following the G8 summit) which would act as a counterpoint providing a venue for ordinary people to share and celebrate ideas and actions that promote good stewardship.
We saw the festival as an opportunity to make contact with and extend invitations to like-minded organisations, and thus as one way in creating the wider partnerships which would be needed for the long-term establishment of Falkland Centre for Stewardship as a national as well as local focus for stewardship.
The festival has run every summer since 2006 except for 2011 when we chose to spend the year building up our other programmes, looking at the Big Tent infrastructure and letting our staff and volunteers just take some time off! Programme content has evolved over the years but at its heart, the festival remains an environmental festival with an excellent music and cultural programme. It is not a music festival with a green makeover.
Over the last six years we have developed close working partnerships with different organisations who have helped to evolve and promote programme content. For example, WWF and Word Power Books have been partners with the Head Zone, Lapidus brings poets and an excellent poetry programme to the Big Tent every year and an array of wood organisations helped to form the newly created Wood Zone for 2009.
The festival has acted as a catalyst for other initiatives. For example, the media acclaimed Fife Diet was first conceived here and now over 800 people in Fife have joined this local eating experiment. Transition Scotland held their first ever Scottish gathering at the festival in 2008.
The Big Tent has always promoted an affordable ticketing structure. Since 2008 it has promoted free entry to children under 12. With entertainment, music, workshops and debates from 10.30am each day until at least 10pm, it is one of the best value festivals on the UK circuit.