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Blog - Public Perception

How to put a $ value on a local festival

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     Having read the blog about the demise of festivals, you might think it's not a good time to launch a new festival.

Most commentators on the recent spate of high-profile festival failures have recognised the ‘orange flashing lights’ too late: a lack of interest (low advanced ticket sales), management issues (headline acts cancelling because they cannot earn ‘other income’ from side gigs), too many events competing for the same target market,  boredom with the concept or just change in customer entertainment preferences. 

Business people will be asked, sooner or later, to ‘do something’ for a community or fundraising event. Initial excitement soon turns to hard work – that is, if the organisers are keen to make the event work.

What does ‘making it work’ involve?

The most successful community events I’ve been involved with are those which have a strong organising committee, a clear purpose and business plan and the event is always worthwhile attending. That is, it has a point of difference and is value for your time. 

How should we start thinking about a 'concept' and 'USP'?  With credible research! 


                                                                                                               (Live Performance in Australia, 2008-2012, Australia Council by EY) 

There’s the first warning sign. Evidence that getting it wrong is simple: significant success or significant failure.

This table shows:

  • Single Category festivals have increased (percentage share in industry economic contribution) by 30.6% from 2008 yet 
  • Multi-Category Festivals have dropped by 33.2%.

In this blog series, we are going to track the planning for a new Festival in Redfern, Sydney NSW on 21 March 2015.

So far the South Sydney Chamber of Commerce has held a number of community consultation sessions - which considered the Australia Council research - and has sent an online and hard copy survey to over 5,000 (groups, business owners, committee members or individuals who asked for information).


Two issues to consider: 

The risk of 'me too' events. 

Finding a difference which creates value is challenging but involve those who think differently and you'll be surprised at the ideas generated. 

Give 'the community' an opportunity to put their views.  

Using a broad-based survey provides the opportunity to contribute ideas and reduces the influence of strong or political views held by those who come to community meetings. Whether they do or not, does not matter. Murphy's Law: there will always be someone 'noisy' who lapses out of a coma at the end of a planning process and says: 'No body told me.' 

Two questions to ask: 

1. How do you design a useful survey which goes to a broad range of individuals and is strategic?

2. How do you synthesise the broad or disparate views into a concept?

We'll update you on our progress.

This blog is for an education purpose only.

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