- Josh Graham
Fuelling content: Hydrogen at Glasgow Coffee Festival
Content Executive Josh Graham describes his experience working with Glasgow Coffee Festival...
At the start of May, we were lucky enough to see the culmination of months of hard work from our client, Glasgow Coffee Festival (GCF). We say months, but as anyone who’s ever organised any kind of festival, the event itself and even the preceding campaign are just the tip of the iceberg, and this is particularly true given the circumstances of this year’s festival weekend.
Without a physical event since 2019 (for reasons we’re sure you can guess), it’s only natural for a level of uncertainty to creep in. Despite sell-out attendance in years past, so much has changed in terms of how we engage in our hobbies and interests since, and so spreading the word to the right people was a key part of ensuring the festival’s success. To this end, Hydrogen was brought into the picture!
Having enjoyed a great working relationship with GCF founder Lisa Lawson in her day job as the mastermind of Dear Green Coffee Roasters, we were brought in to devise and implement the festival’s social media approach to promoting the event itself, alongside the subsidiary ‘To The Streets’ event that runs parallel.
The festival weekend itself brings in a number of sponsors and stallholders from local roasting talent to household names like Oatly and KeepCup, while To The Streets celebrates 50 of Glasgow’s top coffee shops. Because of this, ensuring that content accurately reflected the incredible scale of the event while making room for broader themes such as sustainability and community was the primary challenge in creating content in the run GCF22. We might be biased, but we think it went pretty well, and we were fortunate enough to see the festival achieve sell-out status ahead of the weekend itself. Woohoo!
While of course this was cause for some celebration, it wasn’t time to put our feet up just yet. Just as with the lead-up to the weekend, the festival itself was all systems go, with a huge variety of stalls, talks, tastings, and more to enjoy, and it sure was a task and a half to make sure we didn’t miss any of it!
As observers, one thing that was very clear was that Glasgow’s coffee scene was alive and well. What with it being a sell-out, there was an undeniable and infectious energy in the air that while we suspect could be in part accredited to the high caffeine intake, was also a lot to do with the innate human need for social, face-to-face activity and interaction.
What was also clear both from our estimations and stallholders alike, a notable shift in audience had occurred since years past. We can only hypothesise, but with a sharp spike in coffee hobbyists as a result of lockdown, those who have gotten comfortable with the idea of homebrewing speciality coffee arrived in their droves this year to sample delicious brews from roasters farther flung in ways that generally wouldn’t have been able to before.
Enjoying coffee may appear a very singular and subjective experience on the surface, but in reality, it’s a hobby that is built and sustained upon decades of knowledge and experience. Sure, you can go your own way and have your own tastes, but to give yourself the tools to do this, there’s no substitute for experiencing it first hand with like-minded enthusiasts.
What made this year’s festival extra special, was the fantastic cause it supported. Did you know that Glasgow Coffee Fest is a not-for profit event? That’s right, year after year, the coffee fest team have donated all proceeds to a whole host of worthy charities and organisations such as World Coffee Research. This year, however, GCF have pledged to donate 100% of event profits to Deanston Bakery’s incredible fundraiser for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. This fantastic appeal helps to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and protection to families who’ve been forced to flee their homes with only the items they were able to carry. We stand with the people of Ukraine, and applaud the GCF team for their incredible fundraising efforts. We know this support will be greatly welcomed by those who need it most.
So, if the festival is growing and its selling out, where exactly does it grow to? From a social media perspective at least, there are lots of exciting ways to engage new audiences, from growing the community beyond the time immediately around the festival, to taking the festival beyond even the UK through livestreaming, and there’s always the challenge of selling out the festival even faster. Whatever direction the GCF team decide to take things for 2023 and beyond, we can’t wait to see what they do next!