Wychwood Festival to offer shares to attendees via crowd-sourcing
October 16, 2012 Leave a comment
By: Alasdair Byers, First Posted on Music News, October 15, 2012
In a year of controversies and difficulties for many music festivals, Wychwood Festival celebrated its 8th year in a busy, smooth and profitable fashion. Now Wychwood Festival plans to expand using crowdsourcing – offering shares online to attendees- to raise capital. It’s a first for any music festival, however given the nature of music festivals and the prices involved – it seems as good an industry as any to use the crowdsourcing platform. Graeme Merifield, owner of the Wychwood Festival, talked to Music-News about the reasoning behind it.
Why do you think the festival market has had a difficult 2012?
For a time it was a very popular thing to do in the UK, so the market became saturated.
I think a lot of people for a long time thought that festivals were very exciting, high-kudos events to be involved with and many new promoters and investors hadn’t done their homework as to how much these things cost to put on.
Wychwood has a solid name as a successful festival. What was the attraction to the unusual strategy of crowdsourcing?
Well basically, we looked at how we ran business, and the events we already do. We now have a bigger picture with new directors onboard and therefore we want to expand on the events we do. We thought about the facrt we’ve been going for 8 years now and we’ve got a loyal base of people that come back year after year and this was a chance to repay them for that by giving them a small part of the festival, giving them benefits including tickets for life, but also raising capital.
What are the risks involved then?
We think it’s a safe strategy, because we’re already funded to run Wychwood, having bought the license and brought new directors in and so on. Either we raise further capital, all well and good, and we start to expand into taking on new projects in safe areas – not necessarily taking on a new festival, but into areas where we could perhaps charge management fees, taking our quality brand here into those. Or, we don’t raise as much as we need, but we still run Wychwood unheeded anyway. So it’s not a case of needing to raise spare money its a case of trying to see if there’s scope for expansion sooner rather than later. It really comes down to raising money for manpower. We are a very lean operation, and I’m the only full time person working. I have an assistant for 6 months but other than that it’s just myself year around and it’s an unbelievable amount of work.
Interested in learning more about music festival sponsorship strategies? Join Lagunitas, C3 Presents, Sunfest, Riverbend Music Festival, Bonnaroo, Forecastle Festival, Moogfest, Big Ears as they discuss the same topics during their panel, “Festival Sponsorship Strategies” at the upcoming International Music Festival Conference in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Austin, December 2-4.