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Creative Funding for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

There may be numerous reasons why a music festival entity would want to raise funds and depending on those reasons certain sources may be closed. What alternative and creative ways can an organiser consider to raise funds for their music festival and retain ownership at the same time. 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused upheaval in the music festival sector with many organisers considering permanent closure or an audit to determine if the festival has a financially viable future. This has led many festival owning entities to seek funding for survival and the traditional routes to raise funds can be particularly challenging. Banks and financial institutions are usually the first source to approach; however, their financing is likely to be expensive and music festivals are considered risky investments. For festivals that have a smaller need for funds to secure survival many have successfully used crowdfunding. 

Reasons for Financing. 
Almost all potential fundraising whether it's from traditional banks or private investors will require comprehensive plans and genuine reasons for raising funds. To survive is not going to cut it in this environment. Organising entities will need to have audited accounts and records covering previous trading years to demonstrate year on year improvements in attendance, revenue and profits. There will also need to be well thought out plans and forecasting for the future to show continued growth and expansion or diversification. Finally, the list of assets both tangible and intangible need to be stated and may include the brands strength, the customer data, ongoing contracts with artists and suppliers and retained staff. Even if the owners can present a good case there is still no guarantee approval of financing will be given.

Alternative Funding.
Aside from the crowdfunding route mentioned previously festival owners can approach friends and family or known contacts to generate interest. Even performance artists have been known to invest in music festivals particularly if they have an emotional attachment to a particular event. A relatively untapped source of funds in the UK are grants issued by the various Arts Councils where funds up to £3m have been awarded to festivals. The grants tend to be on a one-off basis and the application procedure may be protracted and lengthy. To be considered a music festival will have to present detailed plans that include how the festival will contribute to the Arts with a variety of content including theatre, dance and other minority interests. They also put a big emphasis on featuring local up and coming or unknown talent.

Depending on the method of financing the festival owners will have to provide regular and detailed financial reports on their performance as a result of any funds secured. Any investor will want to see that their investment is working as predicted and that they will get a return on their investment as specified in any agreement. For music festival owners struggling to survive and raise funds it may be prudent to consider selling the entity to another events company, there is always value in the festival's brand and their customer data.

For organisers planning their music festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. 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, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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