water issues

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2006 awards


Having beaten Nestle, we're having a rest

With Perrier having pulled out of the Fringe in 2006 following public pressure and key resignations from their judging panel in protest of their parent company Nestle's aggressive marketing of products in the third world, The Tap Water Awards team are taking a well earned break from campaigning against corporate wrongdoing. Everyone knows there is plenty more corporate wrongdoing going on in the world, however the Taps Team, being entirely voluntary, have disbanded in the absence of an obvious enemy in light of this victory.

Discussions have begun with the World Development Movement who are interested in teaming up with the Tap Water Awards to create a higher profile event in the future focusing on water issues. This seems entirely appropriate given that it is widely recognised that access to clean water is going to be one of the most important issues for the people of this planet in years to come.

Meanwhile, this website remains effectively out of date, and we recognise this isn't ideal, but the team having dissipated it's difficult to get new copy written and the site updated.

Please return to this site periodically to be updated as to progress

"I believe that the Tap Water Awards provide a vibrant alternative to the more commercial aims of the Perrier Prize. They are nurturing comedy talent for the future in a less competitive format, as well as drawing attention to important issues of globalisation and consumer choice."
Mark Wilson (Deputy Arts Editor - The Independent) was on the panel for the Perrier Awards in 2000

What are the Tap Water Awards?

In their sixth successive year, the Tap Water Awards, unlike many other Fringe Festival Awards, do not reward performers offering slick, profitable, easily palatable, made-for-TV shows.

Instead these awards celebrate Fringe performers who also use the arts to educate and encourage critical thinking, rather than solely to entertain and earn.

The Taps aim to be anything but elitist and therefore do not have an overall winner. Awards are not limited to comedy and any form of performance can be considered for an award.

The Taps are a response to the increasing criticism aimed at the Fringe and the Perrier Awards in particular that it is increasingly commercially focused, promoting the same sort of material year on year.

The Taps seek out the genuine fringe performers with something original to say, who are being increasingly sidelined by the commercial nature of the Fringe.

To find out more about the Tap Water Awards nomination process click here.

"Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic commodity" (UN Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social rights).

Perrier back out of the Fringe, 14th June 2006

The Tap Water Awards are delighted to hear that Perrier (and their parent company Nestle) have bowed to public pressure and withdrawn their sponsorship of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedy awards.

Criticism of the awards has snowballed since Perrier’s takeover by Nestle in 1992, due to the many thousands of people who have been campaigning against Nestle and their obscene business practices. The Tap Water Awards have protested for the past 5 years because of its aggressive marketing of baby foods. Nestlé and Perrier are also implicated in the growing threat posed by privatisation of water and sanitation. The Tap Water Awards have since highlighted focus the bottled water industry and private utility companies’ control of access to clean water and discourage of government investment in the public water supply.

Mark Thomas, comedian and activist, said:

"Perrier's decision to back out of the comedy awards is to be welcomed. Neither Perrier nor Nestle mentioned the negative publicity that the Perrier award in Edinburgh has attracted in recent years as a factor for their withdrawal. However, the work of campaigners and activists (highlighting Nestles aggressive marketing of powdered baby milk in developing world and the consequences of this) must be a factor in the company's decision to quit the festival. The question to ask the company is, if everything is going so well why pull out? I believe that the work of the Tap Water Awards and Baby Milk Action has played a significant part in Perrier/Nestlé’s decision. Well done to them!"

The associated negative publicity of the Perrier awards has done their brand much harm, with pickets outside the event for five consecutive years and high profile denouncements of the awards by Rob Newman and former winners such as Steve Coogan, Emma Thomson. Nestle Waters operations have also recently caused the rallying of water activists around the Perrier Award, while this year’s takeover of the Body Shop by Nestle saw demonstrations at outlets all over the country.

Patti Rundall OBE, Policy Director of Baby Milk Action which coordinates the international Nestlé boycott said:

"This is fantastic news…The organisers will have found it increasing difficult to justify sponsorship for an award that is meant to make people feel happy from a company - the world's 'least responsible' - that brings so much suffering and pain to mothers and babies."

The Tap Water Awards will continue to exist as an ethical awards ceremony and as a means of celebrating all original artistry from all genres, not just comedy.

While we celebrate the disassociation of the Perrier from the word comedy, both Perrier and Nestle still exist unreformed. The operations of Nestle Waters in Brazil United States, Switzerland and Hungary are continuing to have a damaging social an environmental impact. The Tap Water Awards will continue to campaign on this issue through an event called ‘Water for Life-Not for profit’ on the 26th August at the Theatre Workshop, and the Tap Water Awards event at the Bongo Club on the 27th August.

Water for Life, Not for Profit

Saturday 26th August 11 am-1pm Theatre Workshop, Hamilton Place, Edinburgh

Accessing clean water is a life or death issue globally. Join scientists, NGO’s, authors, artists and water justice activists for an inspiring breakfast debate on what happens next at this vital stage in the campaign to stop the corporate takeover of water. Hear success stories from Edinburgh to Brazil in this timely and important event that will enable activists, artists, and the public to bring a touch of clarity to one of the world’s murkiest problems.

Accessing clean water is a life or death issue globally. Millions of people have no access to clean water and many regions are threatened with water scarcity. Privatisation is clearly not the answer.

This event offers insight to all, through much needed dialogue with scientists, NGO’s, authors, artists and water justice activists, including those who stopped the environmentally damaging water bottling operation of Nestlé Perrier in Brazil.

This inspiring event hosted by the Tap Water Awards will enable activists, artists, and the public bring a touch of clarity to one of the world’s murkiest problems.

To purchase tickets for The Tap Water Awards click HERE

To purchase tickets for Water For Life - Not For Profit click HERE

For further information please email
info AT tapwaterawards DOT org
(replacing "AT" and "DOT" with "@" and "." - spam reduction measure)

Article on BBC website Perrier ends Edinburgh comedy tie, 14th June 06
Article in the Times Tragedy of the comedy awards, 11th June 06


Why do we still need the Tap Water Awards?

The Tap Water Awards aim to raise public awareness of issues about globalisation and consumer choice whilst entertaining audiences with quality shows, snippets, stand-up & song.

The Tap Water Awards grew out of one statement in the festival 2001 mail out from the Bongo Club: "The Bongo Club - Out of the Blue will not be participating in the Perrier Awards. Perrier is a Nestle product, for more information on why this matters, please contact Baby Milk Action".

For a more detailed history click here.

The 2003 Awards coincided with the UN International Year of Freshwater. This initiative aimed to highlight the looming water crisis facing the planet and to ‘focus our attention on protecting and respecting our water resources as individuals, communities, countries, and as a global family of concerned citizens.

Since then the Tap Water Awards have continued their role in highlighting the crucial issue of access to drinking water, focusing on the problems caused by the increasing privatisation of the water industry. For more information on this issue click here.