Future of Festivals Summit 2020

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Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol, BS1 4RN


18 and over


Bristol Festivals

Bristol is a Festival City, providing an annual programme of vibrant cultural activity. During the Spring and Summer seasons, the streets, parks, venues and fields bristle with culture, but no matter what time of year there is always something creative going on. In the last 5 years, the sector has grown by a third, with the city now hosting over 50 significant festivals and events from a rich and diverse array of communities and cultures.

If you currently work on a festival or live event, or hope to do so in the future, join Bristol Festivals and Bristol City Council Arts & Events Team, at MShed on Thursday 27th February to discuss the future of festivals in the city and wider region.

The Future of Festivals Summit will provide an opportunity to collectively discuss the biggest challenges facing the festivals and events industry in 2020 and how we can work together to help shape and drive the change that will build a resilient and sustainable, world class festival scene. Themes will focus on financial sustainability, climate impact, food and waste sustainability, health & wellbeing, access & diversity for audience and workforce, retaining international identity post-Brexit etc.

Presented by Bristol Festivals in partnership with Bristol City Council Arts & Events Team as a partnership project with the Arts Funding and Philanthropy Programme & the Diverse Arts Network.


9.30am Festival Fundraising and Philanthropy Masterclass: Robin Thomas CFRE
How can festivals rely less on public funding? What can we learn from other sectors and mainstream charities?

Aimed at established festival and live event producers/directors where fundraising is a major part of their role.

Over 20 years, Robin has built a substantial track record, delivering large and challenging fundraising targets for a wide variety of projects in the arts, culture, healthcare, education and public sectors. He trained as a classical musician in Canada, undertook post graduate study in conducting and arts management and came to fundraising with extensive experience a professional musician, arts administrator and broadcaster. He worked on major international arts festivals in association with two World’s Fairs, in Vancouver and Brisbane. He also directed the fundraising to build the British Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010.

Robin will share experiences raising major philanthropic gifts for arts causes in the UK and internationally and what can be learned from the wider charity fundraising sector.


9.30am Festival Fundraising Workshop: Where’s the Money, and How do I get it? with Naomi Miller (BCDP)
An introduction into the nuances and techniques for securing investment to support your ideas and where funding comes from.

Aimed at emerging creative producers working in festivals & live events new to fundraising (reduced ticket for under 25s)

12pm Lunch and Summit registration

12.45pm Introduction by Bristol City Council & Ben Hardy (Chair, Bristol Festivals/Managing Director, REM

12.55pm Introduction to the Bristol Light Festival, Vashti Waite and Katherine Jewkes

1.00pm Keynote Speech – Johan Moerman, Rotterdam Festivals

Johan Moerman is Managing Director Rotterdam Festivals Ltd, the organisation responsible for event and policy co-ordination in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Rotterdam has been recognised as the best event city in the country and internationally praised for its consistent and innovative festival policy.

Moerman specialises in concepts that optimise the co-operation between cities and event producers and maximize the results for both festival organisers and the city authorities. He strongly believes that festivals help cities to strengthen their attractiveness and image, to increase the number of tourists, to increase community pride and to develop neighbourhoods.

1.45pm Chris Johnson, Chair of Powerful Thinking and Vision2025

Chris will present an overview of the new, 126-page, Show Must Go On report launched on 13 February 2020. Five years on since the first edition was published, the report, which has been crowdfunded by the industry, gives an insight into sector sustainability, and reflects the progress made in technologies, materials and operational practices to reduce environmental impacts. The report also marks the launch of an online Knowledge Hub, a significant free-to-access resource that will feature case studies, briefings and a supplier directory.

2pm Open Space Session – Challenges & Change

Participate in an open session designed to encourage peer to peer discussions around the challenges and change that face the festival and live-events industry over the next 5 years. Themes will include; Economy – financial stability in the wake of reduced public investment; Environment – how realistic is a 100% single use plastic ban? What are the challenges to address in order to make festivals and event carbon neutral?; Health & Wellbeing – how do we protect our workforce, is a Bristol Living Wage a possible option when working with limited resources and volunteers; Communities – access and inclusivity – working from the inside out;

4pm Networking sponsored by The Cider box, More Wine and Lost and Grounded

5.30pm/6pm Guided Tour of Bristol Light Festival

Full and half day tickets available from £20 (£15 for members) all tickets include lunch

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