Instead of being a day event in St George Park this year, Redfest will be a multi-venue event taking place across 5th and 6th August. When we’ve been telling people about the plans for this year we’ve received some positive feedback about the new format and some negative feedback about the lack of a day event in the park. It means a lot to us that people have such strong feelings about Redfest and so we wanted to take the time to explain some of the reasons we’re taking a break from the usual format.
- The festival is getting too big
Last year’s Redfest attendance was estimated at 20,000. That’s grown from 1,000 5 years ago when we first had an event in the park, and is double the 2015 attendance of 10,000. With the reputation of the festival growing there’s no reason to believe that the attendance wouldn’t increase again this year if we have the event in the park again.
- We’re worried its becoming less of a community festival
We’re seeing an increasing number of attendees from outside the local community. We’re happy to host people from everywhere, but ultimately we are here for our local community and the growth in numbers from elsewhere is putting pressure on the festival’s viability.
- The cost is too high
The cost of last year’s festival, without any fencing or ticketing, was over £31,000. We were just able to cover this cost in 2016 but we estimate the cost this year could be as high as £45,000 if we continue with the park format.
- Our funds are being cut
Community and arts based grants are under attack at the moment. In 2015, we had over £10,000 in grants for Redfest. That was down nearly 30% to £7,113 last year. This coming year Neighbourhood Partnership Wellbeing Funds have been paused and may be discontinued and we anticipate cuts to council arts funding as well.
- The volunteer team are under too much pressure
Aside from the funding required to pay for the festival, the other equally important resource that Redfest runs on is volunteer time. The team who run the festival are entirely made up of volunteers who work on supporting the festival in their spare time – often around a full time job and family commitments. We estimate that over 2,250 hours were worked by the Redfest team in 2016, which is more than someone working full time on the festival all year long!
- We think the 2017 format will be an exciting experience
We’re genuinely excited about the format of a multi-venue weekend festival and the opportunity it provides to support our aims of increasing the profile of arts in Redfield and the surrounding area, providing a platform for local artists to showcase their talents and encouraging the local community to see and take part in something new. We want to highlight the best of what the area’s commercial and community spaces have to offer and we’ll be working with local venues and event organisers to try and ensure that Redfest 2017 provides a diverse range of events and activities for everyone in our community.
We’re glad so many people enjoy Redfest and want to see it continue in the park, but we hope you’ll get involved and enjoy the new format as well! If you want to keep supporting Redfest then please make a donation or consider volunteering your time for one of the positions we’re currently recruiting for.