March of The Mermaids / Q and A with Hannah Chilton

I had a brilliant time at the March of The Mermaids, as a photographer there is nothing that makes me more happy than a load of people that look cool and want to be photographed. Hannah Chilton (pictured below) organised the event so I caught up with her for a Q & A.

Hannah Chilton – She mer-made it happen.

NWS – Tell us all about the March, where did you come up with the idea? What can you tell me about the charity element of it?

Hannah – March of the Mermaids is completely inspired by the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York. This takes place every June and is now in its 31st year, it is the creation of the lovely Mayor of Coney Island, Dick Zigun. I have forever been obsessed with mermaids and all things related to the sea, I always wished that the UK could have an event celebrating mermaids and sea creatures too, so I took it upon myself to make it happen!
I always wanted March of the Mermaids to raise money and awareness for a charity, and the Marine Conservation Society is a very worthy cause, they do a wonderful job of protecting our seas, beaches and marine wildlife here in the UK.

NWS – How did you promote the event?

Hannah – March of the Mermaids has largely been promoted via social media and making networks with related companies who could feature our event, we have also had an amazing artist on board, Paul Garner, who designed our flyers and posters which we distributed around Brighton and surrounding towns. I think the artwork and design we’ve created had a lot to do with capturing people’s interest in the event. We also distributed our press release out far and wide, did radio interviews and blogs all of which helped massively with our promotion.

NWS – The Stay Sick lads played a wicked set at the after party at Audio. How did that collaboration happen?

Hannah – Yes, we love Stay Sick! They are well known in Brighton for their regular DJ nights, playing awesome rock n roll, surf and exotica sounds. They have excellent taste and I knew straight away that I wanted them involved with March of the Mermaids and they are very happy to be involved! They also always wear Tiki attire, so they look the part too!

NWS – What would be your advice to someone who wants to start their own event like this?

Hannah – Making March of the Mermaids happen took around a year and a half from the initial ideas on paper to it becoming a reality. Being extremely organised is essential and you need to be able to handle the stress, pressure and long hours of admin that come with organising an event. I could not have made it happen without having an amazing team working with me and also dedicated volunteers and helpers. Make sure to plan some fundraising events and work out a budget, but also find sponsors for as much of the costings as possible first. The first thing to do depending on the nature of the event, is to speak to your local council and present your proposal so you can get the go ahead, then enjoy making it happen and watching it grow!

NWS – What is the future for the march, do you see it becoming the next Beach of the Dead?

Hannah – We are so happy with how our first year has gone; we are very much looking forward to watching March of the Mermaids grow! We’ve had a great response and Brighton is the perfect place for such an event. Our aim is for March of the Mermaids to be an annual family friendly event that will get bigger and better every year!

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