Ttoday Tribe Festivals Ltd, the rights holders of the hugely popular Wychwood Festival and joint owners of the Cheltenham Comedy Festival, have launched an innovative new model that invites fans and supporters of the Wychwood Festival the opportunity to become shareholders in the annual family weekender.
In a challenging financial year that has seen many festivals, both large and small, crippled by a host of external factors including the wealth of free events available to people across the UK through the London Olympic Cultural Olympiad programme, Tribe will be the first company to trial crowdsourcing as a potential capital stream for a UK festival. For a one-month period, Tribe Festivals Ltd offer a number of shares via the Crowd Cube platform to up to 200 individuals. In return for the share capital of £1000, new investors will receive a pair of tickets for life* to Wychwood (valued at £280 each year), plus up to 12 tickets each year for friends and family that can be purchased at half price.
Whilst this may be viewed as an essential lifeline it doesn’t mean that festivals adopting this approach are out of the water…it means they need to offer value to shareholders and that comes in many forms. One thing this new model will encourage, if more widely adopted, is greater competition between festivals. That will hopefully lead to more creativity as well as allowing plenty of room for experimenting i.e. finding a balance to bring in new acts alongside the well established, there are hundreds of folk artists outside the BBC Folk Awards. To attract more funding it also means engaging with all their stakeholders, from the music fans to the local community they bring trade and jobs to.
Demark’s Tønder Festival is a prime example of innovational enterprise. Founded in 1975 they have an annual volunteer workforce of 2000 and also rely on local sponsorship who in turn beneft from the trade and commerce the festival brings. Connecting to the surrounding community is an essential part of any festival and it’s not something they all get right, some act in complete isolation which is surely a short-lived prospect. Tønder Festival are old hands at stakeholder engagement, they have the town on their side…this was said about Tønder in an impact analysis report from 2008:
Tønder Festival is very important for the town and the whole area – no doubt about it. Not only the economic turn-over during the Festival days, but just as much because it gives the town a reputation as a safe and hospitable part of the world. This arises from the uniquely friendly, relaxed atmosphere that is associated with Tønder Festival. The townspeople welcome you and guests are well-behaved the whole time they’re here. All this follows partly from the type of music the Festival offers, and the grown-up audience it attracts. But part of it is also the special low-key charm of the town and this part of the world. It makes you want to come back. And there’s no doubt that many do…
Maybe this new model is just the start of something positive that will see our festivals getting better at what they do and surviving longer.
To find out more about the additional benefits to new investors visit here: www.crowdcube.com.
* “For life” means the lifetime of the festival in its current form and/or for the lifetime of the investee or his/her spouse