Crowdfunder Gratitude from Barney Stevenson, Artistic Director
27 July 2021
You did it!
When we launched our crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of July, I experienced mixed feelings.
I was optimistic, with an incredible team (Charlotte Furness and Hannah Burgess) at MJF running the campaign.
But I also felt a strong sense of raw exposure—we were inviting judgement on our plans to return with a transformed, safe, live music festival on 8-10 October this year. What if hardly anyone was bothered about supporting us? Would we invite criticism by asking for money?
Seeing your donations coming in and your heartfelt words of support has been a massive relief and a huge reassurance that you value what we do. I am delighted and relieved to have had any fears I had about asking for money confounded.
Including offline donations, two hundred fifty-seven donors have given a total of £15,944 and pledged £2,414.50 of Gift Aid, a total of £18,358.50. You have exceeded our most optimistic expectations of support.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be beavering away getting your rewards sorted for those of you that selected them.
Planning an annual event of the scale and quality of Marsden Jazz Festival involves a tremendous amount of planning over many months, building partnerships and applying for grant funding.
In 2021, we have had to rebuild our festival team, which had to shrink by two thirds in 2020, our first-ever year without a festival since we began in 1992. Not only that, we have had to come up with a new festival offer to address the ongoing new realities of a global pandemic. Your safety is of paramount importance to us.
We have had incredible financial support from Arts Council England throughout the pandemic, most recently from the DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund. These funds have enabled us to work with brilliant production specialists over the past few months to plan outdoor events on a scale not previously attempted at Marsden Jazz Festival.
As I write, we are waiting to hear if Arts Council England will support the application we made back in April for funds to enable all our plans for a transformed festival this October to go ahead. Not surprisingly, Arts Council England is experiencing an unprecedented demand for grant funding this year. The volume of applications they have to assess has inevitably impacted the length of time we had to wait for our decision.
Nothing is guaranteed about grant funding. But one thing is sure: your support of our crowdfunding campaign sends an unambiguous message that Marsden Jazz Festival is valued and loved by our audience.
And for that, we are incredibly grateful.
We are as confident as we can be that there will be an opportunity to come together to enjoy great music in October.
© 2021 Barney Stevenson