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The Growing Relationship Between UK Music Festivals and Charities.

Andy Robertson

The involvement of charitable organisations and the music festival industry in the UK has existed for decades. What are the key relationships between music festivals and charities and what benefits do they bring to the festival and charities involved and how are these changing over time.


There are a number of festivals that have been created purely as fundraising events where all profits are allocated to that organising charity. In addition, there are commercial festival organisers that, for a variety of reasons, over time have converted their legal status to a registered charity, that in itself can make their relationship with other charities more complex. Finally, there are the commercially focused music festivals that work closely with selected charities to either a lesser or greater extent.

It's one thing that festivalgoers have come to accept over the years, that their festival of choice will promote an element of fundraising and support to selected charities. The relationship between some festival organisers and specific charities may have a long history and this can make it difficult for other charities to build any kind of relationship with that festival. Other festival organisers are more open to having a relationship with multiple charities and will consider working with new organisations.

In these, sometimes complex, relationships each party wants to get value. For the charity it's about using branding and gratis on-site pitches to help raise awareness, build a support base of new donors and of course raise funds. For the festival organiser it's about selecting to support a charity that is going to resonate with their ticket buying audience. The festival should gain great PR from the relationship too resulting in better customer loyalty from ticket buying festivalgoers. 

Other initiatives in the festival/charity relationship are organisations like 'mycauseuk' (Itself a registered not for profit organisation) who supply armies of volunteers to multiple festivals in the UK. Volunteers register, select the festival they want to volunteer at and nominate their preferred charity. The festival organisers make a donation to mycauseuk to access registered volunteers and the donations are passed onto each nominated charity. This provides an alternative volunteer recruitment method for music festivals and has been reasonably successful to date with donations of £150k made to over 750 charities already.

Irrespective of a music festival's size, legal status or overall objectives the relationship between the music festival and charities is set to continue. The exact nature of those relationships may vary and change over time but charities and fundraising are a core element of every music festival and it is highly likely that initiatives like mycauseuk will increase as organisations get more creative about fundraising and building on existing relationships. 

For any event organiser planning their music festival using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival logistics including their charity relationships. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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