AEFES is an annual, community run alternative and home education festival that allows people to develop and share their experiences and skills in a democratic and environmentally friendly setting.
AEFES emerged from discussions that took place in the wake of the demise of the long running home education festival, HESFES, in the spring of 2016. While most of those involved with developing AEFES have a background in the home education community the name of the festival recognises, and wishes to encompass, many other alternative forms of education.
The first AEFES took place in Bodiam, East Sussex in July 2016. The festival was attended by over 250 people and, despite being organised in just three months, was an amazing success. Several years later, AEFES has established itself as a community of adults, teenagers and children all working in unity to create a festival where all voices can be heard, all opinions considered and where all decisions can be made in a democratic and magical setting.
AEFES is an amazing experience for people of all ages. A variety of workshops, discussions and debates take place every day followed by a full evening of entertainment. Everyone in the AEFES community is encouraged to learn and develop skills, both in terms of running workshops and getting involved in the running of the festival. AEFES also offers a platform for people attending the festival to develop their performing arts talents during the evening entertainment programme.
AEFES is a child and family friendly festival that provides a safe space for everyone who chooses to join us. AEFES want the festival to be inclusive and offers one affordable ticket price for all with the option to make an additional donation. The festival also has a green ethos and strives to promote sustainable living. Where possible we use renewable energy, environment friendly supplies and local recycling facilities.
HOW AEFES WORKS
AEFES is run entirely by volunteers. We are a membership organisation and everyone aged 8 and over who buys a ticket to AEFES gains automatic membership status.
Regardless of how much they contribute, everyone who attends AEFES buys a ticket – we do not give out free or reduced price tickets to volunteers (with a very few exceptions – see our FAQ for more detail).
We organise the festival through a Facebook group and Facebook chats; people take on different areas of responsibility (e.g. booking bands, hiring marquees) and work to budgets set by the finance team.
We try to have people of varying experience levels working together so that everyone has the chance to learn, and to turn no-one away from a role based on their experience level. In this way we've had people learning skills such as sound engineering, and encouraged young people to take on roles of responsibility on site.
We hold our AGM at the festival every year and have an elected Committee, accountable to our membership; any member aged 18 and over can run for election as a Committee member. We are governed by a constitution which is viewable to and agreed on by all our members.
From our Constitution:
The Committee are not in charge of the festival and any member of AEFES can be involved in the organisation of the festival – sometimes non-Committee members are more involved than Committee members. The Committee exists to hold legal/financial responsibility, to facilitate organisation and decision-making, and to make routine and minor decisions, or major decisions in emergency situations.
The current Committee roles are as follows:
Meetings Chair - chairs both general and committee meetings and manages online polls and online meetings.
Secretary - is responsible for the taking of minutes, the distribution of all papers and for keeping records of members, accepting nominations and general administration of the Online Platform and festival feedback.
Treasurer - is responsible for maintaining accounts, overseeing setting budgets, and management of costs and sales.
Legal Liaison Officer - is responsible for ensuring AEFES works within the law and complies with any relevant laws and regulations, takes out suitable insurance and ensures the Committee fulfil their duties.
Protection Liaison Officer - ensures a Safeguarding Officer and Health & Safety Officer are appointed and the relevant policies and procedures are put in place.