The money-driven world we live in has risen to boiling point and it would seem the only way is up. Big corporations own everything and as such manage to keep their costs down, resulting in independent business being unable to compete with low costs of large-scale production. The only chance any small business has these days (in any industry) is if we, the people (who ultimately fund corporations or independent businesses), chose to support the under-dogs.
Festivals are a great example of this. Organising, running and paying for a festival is no small feat. You're looking at £50,000 with no net profit until at least your 3rd year just to run a 1-day event for 500 people without any big-name acts in some cases. Now scale that to 50,000 people and booking Richie Hawtin to headline the event, as well as another 150 DJs and acts. These things are expensive, people. So it's no wonder that 90% of festivals bring in corporate sponsorship to help foot the bill.
While this enables them to dramatcially increase their budget, they lose their creative freedom along with their support from the more discerning members of the public. For a lot of festivals it's either take the corporate route or shut up shop, not exactly solid grounds for being labeled as a sell-out or a failure but such is life.
The benefits of being independent are simple. Full creative control of your event. Add sponsorship branding and your folk-festival in Devon will soon be forced to book Avicii and branding will be smeared across every available inch. The simple point is that the whimsical quality that independent festivals carry cannot coexist with corporate money hunger.
What's the point of all these words that you're reading? Well, it seems as though all is not lost, and one festival has reached out to its loyal fan-base with one request (crudely paraphrased); Give us your money to help us stay independent and in return we'll give you creative rights. Seems like a decent deal to us.
LeeFest has done exactly that, reaching out to the people that love it and asking them for help. There's no shame in this, as the real shame is not supporting something you love. And since the festival has been going since 2006, 6 consecutive years can't be wrong. You can support LeeFest it it's plea to raise £50,000 before May 1st by following the link below. They've covered 33%, and with the pace this movement is gathering up, we've got a good feeling about them reaching their goal.
Click here to support the cause.
We've said it before and we'll say it again. Support the english independent festivals.