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    Image: Start A Revolution, Tim Etchells


    Visas, divas and hotel rooms - a seven-week crash course on running a festival

    (2 Oct - 20 Nov (Tuesdays, 6-9pm))


    Festivals can take place across fields, buildings, cities, beaches, houses and countries – some last a day, some a weekend, some a number of weeks and they all have one thing in common – they take months, often years in the planning. And if you want to start one or work for one, this is the course for you.

    With nearly 40 years experience in staging the world-renowned biennial festival, LIFT’s 7-week crash course will take you through the delivery of a festival, from developing your vision and artistic concept to the logistical nuts and bolts of putting it on, and everything in between.

    Facilitated by the LIFT team, this modular course will combine talks, case studies, networking and Q&A sessions and feature guest experts from across the festival and arts sector. Previous speakers include Bernard Donoghue, Director at ALVA; Helen Shute, Chief Executive at Rambert; Kate Ward, Executive Director at In Between Time; Richard Huntington, Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi; Hannah Pool, Senior Programmer at Southbank Centre and Mark Ball, Creative Director at Manchester International Festival.

    The course will be packed full of useful topics including artistic positioning, business planning, programming, partnerships negotiation, participatory and engagement work, fundraising and income generation, writing funding applications, finance and budgeting visas, insurance, staffing, branding, marketing, PR, data, digital and evaluation to name a few. We’ll also let you into some LIFT top tips and use live case studies to deliver practical, hands-on learning to prepare you for the world of producing festivals.

    So if you’ve always dreamed of running a festival, got an idea or you’re already working on a festival (big or small) and want to develop your skills, this course will give you all the tools and networks you need.

    Please note, there will be no course session on Tuesday 23 October due to Half Term.


    WEEK ONE: What makes a great festival
    Context and positioning, critical mass, business plan, long-term organisational aims

    WEEK TWO: Establishing the programme
    How to find artists, where do you go to see work & how to forge partnerships and negotiation skills, participation

    WEEK THREE: Finding your voice and your fans
    Comms, audience development, press, understanding data, digital, evaluation

    WEEK FOUR: Nuts and bolts
    Learning the logistics, volunteers, visas, insurance, staffing, FoH, Box Office and team required

    WEEK FIVE: Show me the money
    Fundraising and income generation, understanding the development landscape, writing funding applications, working with Creative Europe

    WEEK SIX: Maths club
    A guide to finance and budgeting

    WEEK SEVEN: Conclusions & wrap-up
    Wrap up session, time to cover anything you like in more detail and ask those final questions. Maybe even a glass of wine.

    *Please note this programme may be subject to alterations.

    What a pleasure it was to work with LIFT and what a steep learning curve. I have come out with a lot more confidence and knowledge that is already paying off, I cannot thank you enough.

    Alia Alzougbi - Step Change participant

    Special offer: 10% discount for Commissioning Circle Members.

    Simply sign up for a monthly or annual membership to receive your discount.


    The course will take place from 6-9pm every Tuesday evening from 2 October – 20 November at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising & Creative Agency’s head office.

    Saatchi & Saatchi is a wheelchair accessible building – if you have any access requirements that you’d like to discuss, please get in touch.

    The course fee is £575 gross (£479 plus VAT) and can be paid in instalments with a £50 deposit. The final payment must be made by Friday 2 November. Please contact us if you wish to set up a payment plan.

    Special offer: 10% discount for Commissioning Circle Members. Simply sign up for a monthly or annual membership to receive your discount at checkout.

    LIFT has the right to cancel this course within 48 hours of the first session, if the course is cancelled a full refund will be provided.

    The Visas, Divas & Hotel Rooms Autumn 2018 course is supported by Saatchi & Saatchi.