Visas, divas and hotel rooms - a seven-week crash course on running a festival
(26 September – 14 November)
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 over 35 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, including speakers from Southbank Centre, Rambert, Women of the World Festival and more.
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.
WEEK ONE, 26 September – What makes a great festival
Context and positioning, critical mass, business plan, long-term organisational aims
WEEK TWO, 3 October – Establishing the programme
How to find artists, where do you go to see work & how to forge partnerships and negotiation skills, participation
WEEK THREE, 10 October – finding your voice and your fans
Comms, audience development, press, understanding data, digital, evaluation
WEEK FOUR, 17 October – Nuts and bolts
Learning the logistics, volunteers, visas, insurance, staffing, FoH, Box Office and team required
24 October – Break
WEEK FIVE, 31 October – Show me the money
Fundraising and income generation, understanding the development landscape, writing funding applications, working with Creative Europe
WEEK SIX, 7 November – Maths club
A guide to finance and budgeting
WEEK SEVEN, 14 November – 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.
The course will take place from 6-9pm every Tuesday evening from 26 September – 14 November at LIFT HQ, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street E1 6AB. (view map)
Toynbee Studios 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 25 September. 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.
Hear from our previous participants Rachel and Samanta on what they gained during their time on the course earlier this year:
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