Written by our Head of Products, Adam Pepper
I live in the UK, so I know that asking the question “How are you?” is a terrible way to find out how someone is — we’re always fine! Having worked with performing arts festivals for over twenty years, I also appreciate that the question “When would be a good time to ….?” is better phrased as “When would be the best time …?” as even an annual ten-day event brings year-round pressures and challenges. Good times are things that happen reliably in an auditorium, but seldom in a festival implementation plan!
At Artifax we’re mindful of not only when clients’ festivals are taking place, but also of their planning milestones, so that we can make sure they have the support they need. Setting aside the continuous artistic programming conversations for years ahead, the twelve month run-up to delivering a festival is reliably busy in distinct phases, leaving only small windows of opportunity for reflecting, planning and implementing improvements.
Typically, a core team will work on planning the festival full-time, handling the scheduling framework and contracting artists and works. Freelancers and temporary staff may be brought in to assist with organizing artist travel, accommodation and local transport. More staff may then be required for delivery, with events taking place in venues that are unlikely to be managed by the organisation. Afterwards, the core team catches its breath and refocuses on the next festival.
With each phase there’s a requirement for not only a single source of data, but communication and collaboration with new or external staff and third parties. In our experience, having a single source of the truth is vital. For all our clients it enables them to easily share accurate information with everyone who needs it. Crucially for festivals, it prevents a situation where large volumes of data need to be entered into a system as part of a handover from another department, which would otherwise cause spikes in activity, data quality risk and stress. For example:
Your core team doesn’t need to work harder to ensure new staff are supported, just smarter. With Artifax, they could:
So, when would be the best time to start making those improvements? Talk to us immediately after your festival (or after you’ve taken a moment to recover!) and we’ll turn that debrief into a de-stress for your core team.