Sunday, 18 November 2012

Folkestone Zombie Walk 2012, Interview with Event Organiser Terri Marsh

Zombies take over the Old High Street Folkestone

Saturday 3rd November saw Folkestone Zombie Walk return in style for its second year. Zombies descended on the town and staggered from the Leas Cliff Hall to the Harbour, with a stop off in the town centre for a flash mob Thriller dance. We caught up with Folkestone Zombie Walk founder and co event organiser, Terri Marsh, to discuss the highs and lows of the world of zombie walks.

We at the Evil Eye really enjoyed the day. 
Thanks for coming, glad you could make it.

How do you feel the event went? 
It went really well. There was a large improvement on last year. We had over double the turn out of year one, so the interest is growing. We think we had around 200 zombies, and lots of spectators and photographers came along, so there was a lot of interest in the day. We attracted people from other parts of the country, including London and Birmingham. And we managed to freak out plenty of bystanders, so job done!
Event organisers Becky Buttigieg, Terri Marsh, Vicky Gladwin and Jo Gray outside Home Ground
Did you get much support from the town and its businesses? 
Yes, we did eventually. Quite a few of the bars, when approached, where more than willing to be zombie friendly, and found it amusing. A few places like Totally Jazz laid on a special zombie cocktail for the day, Home Ground designed a special set and turned themselves into The Winchester for the event. 
When we approached businesses we didn’t come across anyone who had a problem with the event, so hopefully for next year it will make things easier to get them involved earlier and make the event bigger. We definitely had more people in the town talking about the walk, so there was a zombie buzz around the town in the run up to the event. 
One feature of this year is we managed to pull off a Thriller dance, all thanks to the K College students. Having approached other colleges, K college stepped up and took on the task of choreography and rehearsals, led by Olivia Duggan. And they turned up and did it on the day! 

What inspired you to start organising zombie walks? 
It all came from me and the other co founder, Vicky Gladwin, when we had a Halloween party to go to and I had no costume. A zombie costume was the easiest thing to do. And when we looked up ideas for zombies on YouTube, we saw all these links to zombie walks. The main ones that grabbed our attention were Glasgow and London.  
We were fed up with going to rubbish Halloween parties and we thought it would be a unique event and were amazed with how many people were already doing this in the UK. But nowhere seemed to be doing it in our neck of the woods.  
When we set up the event, the wonders of Facebook allowed us to put it out there as an event that could happen. We had no idea if it would take off, but it sparked quite a bit of interest and we had about 80 people in our first attempt.
Terri Marsh at Academy Radio Station

What were the highlights of the day for you? 
Seeing everyone turn up initially. The people just kept coming. Seeing spectators milling around to watch us walking, I found it quite bizarre that it sparked a lot of interest – not only for people to take part, but to come and watch it.  
Two spectacular moments that stand out are the Thriller dance, thanks to K College and Folkestone Academy Radio Station for playing the music for us. But also coming down The Old High Street. This is the moment I looked back and realised how many people were there.

Looking back over the first two events, what have been the difficulties? And what have you learned from the experience? 
In terms of difficulties, there was a lot of pressure for one person. Everyone loves the idea in theory but at the end of the day, it’s all about people turning up. So you are never going to know what you’re going to get until the day, even if you have lots of interest on the Facebook pages. On that basis, the difficulty for me was deciding on the route. Obviously, the more people you have, the longer the route you need. 
I have learned to delegate more. But this year, there have been a few other people that have come on board and helped. There has been a huge involvement from Becky Buttigieg, Jo Gray, Billie Hoyle, Lisa Richardson, Suzanne Winfield, Gemma-Marie Everest, Shelby Fuller, Charlotte Day and Claudi Mende. Now we have a zombie crew ready for next year, which means we can get a lot more done. Our photographer, Freddie Lee Thompson came to some of the behind the scenes meetings prior to the walk, and make up artist, Billie invited us into her home for make up tips and was available all day for transforming people into zombies. 
From the very beginning Zachary Cooke from Folkestone Film Factory was on board, not only for the free showing of Shaun of the Dead on the day, but also in spreading the word around the town and offering support and advice along the way.  
Learning from this, get as much free help as you can and share the responsibility that running an event like this brings to make it a much more enjoyable event for all involved. From this second walk, it definitely opened up some more contacts, both personal and event related. And moving forwards, that will only improve the event for next year. Lots of people got in touch after the event and have asked when the next one is, so that’s a good sign. 
 (Left) Clare Bowers, winner of 'Best Make up' (Right) Zombies, family style! 

Can you tell us about any future plans and events?
There will be a Folkestone Zombie Walk 2013, with a possible date of October 5th. There are lots of zombie walks coming up in October, so it will be good to start off Zombie Month in Folkestone. It would be nice to go to a walk that we haven’t organised after our own event. 
It would be good to grow zombie support on the South Coast for potential companies such as to be attracted to our part of the country to stage one of their zombie apocalypse events. We already know that it’s not possible to do one in Brighton because of the residential setting, which is a shame as they had 6000 zombies for their walk this year.  
Starting next year, we would like to do the zombie walk as a fund-raiser, so we’re trying to find a charity that would be willing to be represented by us, and hopefully that will encourage more people to get involved. We are always open for new people to join in and help organise the event if they feel they have anything to contribute or have any ideas. 
We are also in talks about a possible celebration on national Jedi day – May the 4th be with you!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Terri, and we look forward to future projects and, of course, Folkestone Zombie Walk 2013!
THE EVIL EYE TEAM (Left) Adam Cutler (Evil Eye Founder/Owner, Editor and Chief) (Right) Lisa Richardson (Evil Eye Co-Owner, Chief Writer......and not forgetting Folkestone Zombie Walk Team Member/Organiser!!)

For more news on the event and news on next years check out these links:-

For more amazing zombie images from Folkestone Zombie Walk follow their Official Photographer here:-

Interview by:-
Lisa Richardson

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