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Making Festival Organisations Transparent.

Andy Robertson

Festival-goers, vendors, artists, sponsors and contractors can have a perception of a festival organising entity that may not reflect reality. All these audiences generally think that every festival makes huge profits making it difficult to justify high ticket prices along with organisers driving down prices for contractors and artists.

By having a certain level of transparency about a festival’s organisation may help dispel many myths that festival organising entities make large profits, many barely break even or incur a loss. The importance of transparency is emphasised when the organising entity is a not-for-profit, for commercially run festivals organisers may feel less inclined to provide any transparency.

Revenues and Costs. 
Clearly stating the revenue and costs involved in putting on a festival can be very revealing and may indicate just how delicate the balance is between revenue and costs. Breaking down revenue streams can help people see where income comes from whether it be ticket sales, merchandise, bar sales or sponsorship. Some festival organisers also categorise their costs which may include staff, marketing, venues and equipment hire for example. Rather than quoting any specific numbers it can be helpful to indicate the percentage of revenue and costs allocated to each element.

Vision Mission and Core Values. 
Having a clear statement on these can help people understand why the festival exists and what it is trying to achieve. Usually, a vision statement may include bringing new talent to audiences who would otherwise not get such opportunities. It is also important that any statements include the benefits to potential festival-goers in broadening their exposure to new artists and material. The mission statement usually includes actions that the organisers will take to achieve their vision. Core value statements may include relevant policies on respect, inclusiveness, sustainability and promoting creativity. 

Benefits of Transparency. 
Publishing an indication of the revenues and costs of a festival can make festival-goers feel more comfortable with ticket prices being asked for. This can increase customers loyalty and help to make the festival grow in popularity over time. For artists and suppliers having visibility of the costs incurred each year can assist in organiser’s negotiations when booking venues and equipment. For festivals that are not-for-profit and who focus on promoting new up and coming talent having an understanding of the revenues and costs will be more agreeable to performing for a much-reduced fee or for no charge.

The ideal platform to publicise the festival transparency would usually be on their website with dedicated pages that potential festival-goers can easily find. Providing a feedback loop with the organisers associated with published transparency can assist organisers in getting valuable feedback on their event with potential opportunities for improvements in the future. 

For festival organisers planning their events 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.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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