We all know that the best things in life aren’t free, and more importantly, putting on a successful event doesn’t come without a hefty price tag. While free events have their place in the UK events/festival market, and many have developed a successful financial model, attracting the best talent, contractors and industry expertise doesn’t come for free.
Recently, there have been rumblings on social media from eventgoers unhappy at the prospect of having to pay for an event, which has historically been free to attend. Last year, Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) introduced a charge for the first time, and while it would be an exaggeration to say the city was up in arms, many were unhappy.
So, what was this earth-shattering cost that caused so much dismay? £6. Six pounds to attend a great event, run by a great team, with international headliners such as Sister Sledge. The council argued that charging for the event “would allow for control over what can be brought on site and reduce the potential for anti-social behaviour”.
Now, I may not speak for the masses, but knowing how much time, effort and tenacity goes into producing an event – I would be more than happy to pay £6. Hell, I’d be happy to pay £16, or £60… surely a price tag of £6 a ticket to support a great event that benefits your local community is more than worth it? Or am I missing something?
Of course, LIMF isn’t the only festival to have experienced this problem. Coventry City Council has been considering charging people to attend Godiva Festival, after the council recorded a huge overspend on the 2018 event. The authority has said that the plans to charge to attend the event aren’t final, and wouldn’t come into play until at least 2020 – however, local residents are not happy bunnies. The reported cost for a ticket to attend the event has also been revealed, again another huge sum – £1!
Many Coventry residents argued that the reported £2.3 million boost the event gave the local economy was reason enough to keep it free to attend, while others (the ones I agree with) said that they wouldn’t mind paying a small charge to attend, as the event was still value for money.
Now I know that nobody is made of money, and uncertainty around Brexit is also playing its part in the tightening of purse strings this summer – but I’m confident I speak for the majority when I say that good events cost money.
As both an everyday consumer, and someone that works within the events industry, we are all quick enough to complain when things go wrong, or when events are not up to standard… yet apparently, we’re not willing to shell out a meagre sum to support truly great local events. Have a word people, have a word!