I write this at the dawn of VF's second decade of existence.
I write this at the dawn of VF's second decade of existence. Its first ten years of life have seen the festival scene grow and improve beyond all recognition as all the parts, and people involved have become connected into a big online social huddle of creative collaboration. As a direct result, the industry is now enjoying its most vibrant creative and economic state ever.
Originally, VF was just me in my bedroom; now it consists of an internal team of very special full and part time staff, interns and volunteers plus 2 million festival fans and even a few smart festival promoters who are getting involved and contributing to the cause. It's worked out well, considering we've never had any financial investment, but there is a lot of work still to be done.
Behind the scenes, I can testify that getting VF to this point has been a more epic, illuminating, terrifying, soaringly high, crushingly low (but never for too long), gruelling, wonderous, frenetic and action-packed journey than I could possibly have imagined when I first decided to chuck in my job and do it.
Over the last decade, my companions and I have chased rainbows, battled giants, weathered tsunamis, fought like braves for our financial survival against impossible odds and encountered a more colourful and comedic cast of characters than any writer of fiction could dream up.
We've drunk with our heroes, crossed swords with villains, danced with freaks at sunrise, penetrated the most inner machinations of the fascinating festival world, seen and heard a lot of things we were not supposed to know about - some awesome, some dark - and, of course, made our fair share of mistakes along the way.
It's been one hell of a story, I can tell you. But, a decade in, there's still a long road ahead of us, one that no-one has trodden before. Where will it take us from here? How and when will it end? Who can say? What I do know is that it will be drama-packed and very exciting to follow. Even more incredible to be a part of. And that's what I want you to be.
Our quest remains to connect every festival-goer and festival in the world. People shudder dismissively when I tell them that, but to me it feels a slightly easier task than taking VF from ground zero to where it is today. We'll see - raw optimism has got us a long way so far.
But your help will be vital to the success of our crusade on this next stage. I'll be sharing our continuing adventures with you on this blog. You can choose to either read from a safe distance, hopefully learn a thing or two from our triumphs and blunders (there will be a few). Or you can get actively involved and help us push this thing forward. If enough of us do this, we can create something truly spectacular.
If you love festivals, whether you go to them, organise them, perform at them, sponsor them, write about them, photograph them, film them or work at them, you have a stake in what we're trying to do here. So our arms are wide open to you.
For some specific ways you can get involved: fans click here, writers and photographers click here, festival promoters click here.
And if you think the festival scene has come on a long way in the last 10 years, I really believe the next five will blow all our minds!