Starting a Festival

Starting a Festival

Have you got an idea for starting a festival and are unsure where to begin? This module will help you get started

Updated on 28 Apr 2022

Have you got an idea for starting a festival and are unsure where to begin? This module is a systematic guide outlining the fundamental actions needed to start building your festival idea from concept into reality.

Topics Covered

Artist Management
Audience Development
Financial Management

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Begin planning your festival idea by understanding and creating your vision and mission
  • Build upon a strong festival concept, understanding the importance of continual market research
  • Understand artistic vision, and how it is key to starting a festival
  • Understand the key stakeholders required in building a festival
  • Put together an achievable festival plan using SMART objectives
Material Type: Reading
Duration: 1 hr
Provided by: Edinburgh Napier University
Languages: English

Key areas covered in this module:

  • Building a strong festival concept
  • Artistic vision and promoting a festival’s mission
  • Setting the date (Where, When and How)
  • Building a plan (Goals and SMART objectives)
  • Event action plan

Meet Your Teachers

Dr Jane Ali-Knight Professor

Dr Jane Ali-Knight is a Professor in Festival and Event Management at Edinburgh Napier University and a Visiting Professor at Curtin University, Perth. She is currently leading and developing the festival and event subject group, lecturing at universities internationally, and facilitating training and development in the field. Her core activities fall into three main areas: event and festival-related programmes, research and publications, and festival and event delivery. She is currently a board member of British Arts and Festivals Association (BAFA), Without Walls, Hidden Door Arts Festival, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Royal Society of the Arts.

Dr Gary KerrAssociate Professor

Dr Gary Kerr is an Associate Professor in Festival & Event Management at the Business School at Edinburgh Napier University. His current research explores how festivals can become more accessible for people living with dementia. As an experienced practitioner, he is currently a Guest Curator at Cheltenham Festivals. Gary is Chair of the Board at Sonic Bothy — an inclusive ‘new’ music ensemble for musicians with disabilities that explores, composes and performs experimental and contemporary music.

Divya BhatiaDirector of Jodhpur RIFF

Divya Bhatia is an experienced and independent festival producer and artistic director, an actor, and a theatre and music producer with over 25 years of experience in the performing arts (Jaipur Heritage International Festival, ATSA, ComplexCity, WOMEX, and Prithvi Theatre Festival). Deeply passionate about developing human potential through the application of the arts in civil society, Bhatia is also a life skills and performance facilitator in the corporate, education, and non-profit sectors. He is the director of Jodhpur RIFF, India’s leading roots music festival, faculty, South Asia Festivals Academy, British Council & ENU UK, Lead Partner India, International Coll-Out program in Applied Theatre - RCSSD, U.K., Honorary Director, International Theatre Town Alliance, Yue Opera Town - Shengjian, China, Juror, Aga Khan Music Awards 2022 (global).

Kate WardLead Management consultant at Counterculture

Kate Ward has over a decade’s senior leadership experience in the performing arts industry, working across festivals, venues, producing theatre companies, and touring (LIFT, In Between Time, Barbican Centre, Musicians Incorporated). As a lead for Management Consultancy at Counterculture, she conducts strategic business reviews and supports modelling and planning for organisations and venues in the creative and cultural sectors. Based in Bristol, Ward is a Trustee of the charity Creative Youth Network and is Chair of its Artistic Steering Group. Until recently, she sat on the board of Bristol Festivals, a network of 56 festivals representing carnivals, performance festivals, heritage, music, and sporting events.

Christopher A. BarnesAlumnus of Edinburgh Napier University

Christopher A. Barnes is an alumnus of Edinburgh Napier University, graduated in autumn of 2021 with a distinction and university medal in International Festival and Event Management MSc. He is also a B.A. Honours in Tourism Management (2013). Over the past decade, Christopher has been involved extensively in managing international conferences and events and auditorium concerts. Christopher has also been involved in five-star luxury events for some of the worlds well-known corporates in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Tom WilcoxSenior Partner at Counterculture

Tom Wilcox is an arts trainer, facilitator, and management consultant with over 20 years of experience. His professional interests are helping creative organisations and individuals thrive while making and presenting great art and cultural projects. His specialisation includes strategic and business planning, finance, governance, commercial operations, and capital projects. Before joining Counterculture as Senior Partner, Wilcox was Managing Director at the Whitechapel Gallery, where he supervised a £13m expansion.

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Module 1 : Starting a Festival


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