I recently did a couple of events for Lowdham Book Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Nottinghamshire.
I won't be surprised if you've never heard of Lowdham. It's a medium sized village about midway between Nottingham and Newark, and it's a bit too easy to pass through it on the A612 and not notice it at all. But the book festival is 10 years old, and it's been growing in leaps and bounds. It even has spin-offs in the form of a film festival and a winter weekend, in addition to the summer festival.
This year, 6,000 people attended a total of 54 events in and around Lowdham. Every venue in the village is used, from the Women's Insitute to the Methodist chapel, and a series of tents set up behind the village hall. The village is also lucky enough to have its own independent bookshop, The Book Case.
Lowdham isn't really like any other book festival I know of. It has music, as well as books. And on the last Saturday it becomes a cross between a book festival and a village fete, with allotment holders selling their produce, and local people turning out in their thousands to support "their event". Every session on the last day (and there are lots of them!) is free. The atmosphere is buzzing.
One of the tireless organisers of this festival, Ross Bradshaw, has been blogging about Lowdham , and book festivals in general. His view is that many festivals become indistinguishable, with a similar line-up of 'celebs' promoting their latest books, and no real connection to their location. Lowdham does have its big names, but that's certainly not what it's about.
Read Ross's take on festivals here: