Everything you need to know about producing your Midsumma Festival event is here.
Want insights into marketing and promotion? On the lookout for a venue? Trying to find some cash for your project? Want to learn about risk management? Thinking about where to take your project after Midsumma Festival? Answers to all your questions are below, plus more.
Registrations for the 2020 Midsumma Festival are open in late May or early June 2019 and will close in August. To register or to help plan your 2020 event check out the 2020 Open-Access Event Registration information page
Can't find what you’re looking for? Talk to Midsumma's friendly staff by emailing [email protected] or call 03 9296 6600. Midsumma is National Relay Service Ready.
Ten hottest tips for putting on your event:
- Build a team. Surround yourself with people who are on the same page as you and bring skills to the project that you don't have.
- Find a venue that is suitable for your event. If you need a venue be sure to lock one in quickly and do your research, not every venue will be the right fit for you. Check out further information below about finding your venue, or head straight to our Venues Database.
- Develop a budget early. Writing up a budget is a great way to think through all the different aspects of your event. If you're seeking funding, research a variety of grant options and consider the timelines for these (never put all your eggs in one funding basket, just because you submitted an excellent funding application doesn't mean you'll be successful). See our Budget template and Funding Resource below for more resources.
- Be organised and plan! Write a timeline, and talk to others who have done similar events to get a sense of what lies ahead!
- Get a professional photographer to take a VERY good image for your event, which you will use to promote it.
- Plan your marketing. Who are the people you think would like to come to your project and how will you tell them about it? Check out our Marketing Resources tab below for more tips.
- Think about risk. What are all the possible challenges and potential risks that could go wrong with your project? Think of these things and work out solutions or mitigating factors. See our Risk Management guide below for more information.
- Is your project accessible? Consider ways in which people with disability might have barriers for accessing your event and check out our Accessible Midsumma resource below to learn more about removing barriers.
- Are you aware of all your legal requirements? Do you need an example venue or artist agreement? Do you have public liability insurance? Will you need to take out a work cover policy? Have you applied for music rights? See our Legal resources for more information.
- Have fun!
Producer Updates are emailed to Midsumma event producers every few weeks. It's really important that you read them and forward to anyone else in your team who might need to be across important information form us. They are full of exciting opportunities as well as tips and advice for running a stellar Midsumma Festival event.
The Producer Updates
- Producer Update #1: Welcome to Midsumma Festival 2019!
- Producer Update #2: Guide Advertising, Ticketing Tips, Access & Inclusion
- Producer Update #3: Get ready for launch!
- Producer Update #4: Be prepared before the holidays!
- Producer Update #5: 7 December
- Producer Update #6: Final pre-festival Producer update!
- Producer Update #7: Week 1 Producer Update
Note: here is the correct link to the example Risk Management Checklists.
- Producer Update #8: Your final producer update for Midsumma Festival 2019
- Producer Update #9: Survey Closes This Week & Festival 2020 Dates Announced
Talk to an expert at our free Midsumma Producer Workshops Series.
For each workshop, we invite a handful of experts and leaders in their field to talk one-on-one to you about the topic and your project. Covering the A to Z of producing an event, topics range from money raising to self-care to access.
Held at The Channel, Arts Centre Melbourne, these FREE workshops are open to you and everyone in your team.
Information about the Producer Workshop series will be posted here from August 2019.
Registered Event Producers are granted a license to use the new Midsumma logo on promotional material (posters, website, catalogues, etc).
There are strict guidelines around the use of the Midsumma logo, and we require a minimum of 48 business hours to approve any material that includes the Midsumma logo. Send your promotional material to [email protected] for approval.
Download the current Midsumma logo suite.
Finding A Venue
There are many things to consider when choosing a venue; we've made a list of prompters for you to consider when looking at venues:
- Can you afford it? Will the income you are expecting from the project be enough to pay for the venue?
- Make sure you include any extras costs that the venue may charge such as technical services, front of house staff, equipment hire, etc.
- What can the venue do for you? Ask if the venue can provide you with additional support for free, such as marketing support, staffing and equipment hire.
- What is the location of the venue? Is it easy to get to via car, public transport and bicycle? What is the location of venue in relation to the anticipated audience demographic of your event? Is this where your audience live or work?
- What's the vibe? Is this the right setting for your event? It is very important to understand your target audience and to choose a venue that is likely to appeal to them.
- Are there any technical restrictions that will affect you realising your event? Some things to consider are restrictions due to sound bleed, liquor licences, capacity and the type of electricity provided (ie. do you need three-phase power?).
- How accessible is the venue? Consider wheelchair access (including wheelchair accessible bathrooms), availability of hearing loop or other services, etc.
- Is the venue sensitive to queer communities and identities? Does it have non-gendered bathrooms etc.
- What are your venue's licensing regulations? If your event is taking place in a licenced venue, underaged persons may not be able to attend depending on the time of the event, and the venue's licence.
- Make sure you thoroughly understand the conditions of the venue hire before committing.
We've compiled a list of venues across Victoria – it's a rocker resource if you're on the hunt for a venue.
Great venue guides can also be found online, for example:
- Arts and unique venues can be found at Creative Spaces.
- More mainstream and grand venues can be found at A List Guide.
- Inner-city spaces that are often slightly off the beaten track can be found at Hidden City Secrets.
- Community halls and venues can be found at Halls For Hire.
- Function spaces, corporate events can be found at VenueMob.
- Have you looked at the list of participating venues from previous years? Check out the 2019 Program Guide, the 2018 Program Guide or the 2017 Program Guide to see where others have held events that might be similar to yours.
Marketing and Publicity
Marketing and publicity are two of the most important steps to realising your event.
Six short tips about how to market your show:
- Shoot an eye-catching promotional image.
- Write a short and long blurb which clearly describes your show in an engaging way.
- Compile a compelling and succinct media release to send to journalists.
- Think of your hook! Why do people want to come to your event?
- Develop a strategy and timeline around how you will reach your audience including a social media strategy (Facebook, Twitter), e-communications (emails), print (posters, flyers), website, blogs, online listings, etc. You don't have to utilise all the mediums – choose one or two platforms and do it well!
- Bring someone onto your team who can focus on marketing and publicity. It's a lot of work and you'll be busy producing your event!
Please bear with us as we update the 2019 special rates for the following media partners:
Here's a couple of Melbourne based PR teams you may like to engage for your own publicity:
SASSY RED PR
Sassy Red PR is a Melbourne-based publicity business that was created with a strong focus on working with independent artists and companies, not for profit, and other small to medium arts organisations. Since its launch, Sassy Red PR has worked with hundreds of companies and shows, and thousands of artists, offering creative and cost effective PR and marketing solutions.
Sassy Red PR
P: 0419 664 108
Encore PR are all about getting you noticed by the media – magazines, newspapers, radio, online and TV. Services include: setting up interviews with journalists, reviewer and VIP media invites, competitions/giveaways, clever launch concepts/events, profile stories and Q&As, creation of photo opportunities and stunts, concept creation and management for blogger events, biography copywriting, feature article pitches, writing and placement and... a range of other creative ideas that come to them at 3am.
P: 0439 639 139
If you plan early how you are going to spend your money there won't be any nasty surprises further down the track.
The best advice we can give you when looking at funding is to start early! Many funding rounds close three months before they notify you of an outcome, so be sure to plan ahead!
Also remember that Midsumma can in some cases auspice your funding application, if you are not a registered not-for-profit. Contact the office to discuss if needed.
Check out Sassy Red PR for some great tips on Grants, Support and Funding Resources.
Go to our list of grant sources to get a taste of some of the funding opportunities on offer:
Crowdfunding and Donations
If you are running short on time and you've missed out on funding rounds, you might think of options such as crowdfunding, donation campaigns or even sponsorship.
Crowdfunding is an online fundraising campaign for a specific project where you raise money directly from your network. You set a fundraising target, people pledge an amount that they would like to give – usually in exchange for some form of reward – and the amount pledged is remitted to you if the target is reached. Read Crowdfunding Basics for more about crowdfunding.
Some crowdfunding and donation platforms to check out:
- Pozible - Pozible is an Australia-based crowdfunding platform and community-building tool for creative projects and ideas.
- Go Fund Me - Over $3 Billion raised for personal causes! GoFundMe is a fundraising website to raise money online, often utilised for social causes.
- Kickstarter - Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more.
- Indiegogo - Indiegogo is where entrepreneurial projects come to life – amplified by a community of backers who believe the world benefits when every idea gets an equal opportunity.
- Australian Cultural Fund - The Australian Cultural Fund is a fundraising platform for Australian artists, managed by Creative Partnerships Australia. This platform is not a reward based approach and every donation above $2 is tax deductible.
Sponsorship is when a company gives you support (cash or in-kind) in return for recognition. There are a number of different types of sponsorship such as major partners, small cash sponsors and in-kind supporters. For all partnerships, you need to consider how this will be a mutually beneficial relationship and what the association means for both parties.
Major Partners: These take time, are often difficult to secure and work best when they are a meaningful reciprocal relationship. If you see a compelling alignment with another organisation, have access to a contact and a long lead-time...go forth!
Small cash: These types of sponsorship arrangements are easy to negotiate and are more likely to be with companies who have the flexibility to approve cash support on short timelines. What contacts do you already have in small businesses? What organisations share your values? Is there a thematic link between the project and a particular organisation? Think creatively...
In-kind: This is when a company or individual provides goods or services as opposed to cash. Consider what your project requires. Are there opportunities for a company to support you by providing something that you have already budgeted for? Do you need specific equipment for your event? Could a marketing or printing company provide services pro-bono?
Further Tips and Resources
- Creative Partnerships Australia: Sponsorship 101
- Circuit West: ‘How To' for Corporate Partnership and Sponsorship Proposals
- The Financial Times: Corporate arts sponsors' cash earns perks and mutual benefits [possible paywall]
Please note: all sponsorship arrangements are between the Producer and Sponsor. Midsumma is not liable for any dealings and cannot guarantee any benefits from the festival.
Inclusivity and diversity is at the heart of Midsumma Festival. As such, we're dedicated to making the festival accessible to audiences with disability.
Here is how you can help
Learn more about access by attending our Access Workshop. Midsumma runs a workshop on audience accessibility. You'll hear from our friends at Arts Access Victoria and learn about ways you can make your event accessible and how to reach audiences with disability. Date to be announced soon!
The extra bonus
If you provide an accessible service (such as Auslan interpretation, Audio description, Tactile tour or Relaxed performance), Midsumma will promote your event to the community that requires that service.
Are there people you are accidentally alienating from your event? For example, if your event is female-only, how will you be welcoming to someone who identifies as female but does not have physical characteristics typically associated with that gender?
Seven Tips for a More Inclusive & Accessible Event
- Gender and Sexuality Inclusivity
- Think about the language you use
- Is your event wheelchair accessible?
- Auslan Interpretation
- Audio Description and Tactile Tours
- Relaxed Performance
Tip 1. Gender and Sexuality Inclusivity
At Midsumma, we actively encourage full diversity at events regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
What's on the bathroom door? Ask your venue to use gender neutral signage on bathrooms to help trans and gender non-binary peoples feel more comfortable at your event. Download Gender Neutral Sign and Gender Neutral with Access Sign.
For more ways to create an open and respectful environment at your event read through Midsumma's Inclusive Language Guide. This document contains definitions, explanations and handy tips that are useful in avoiding making assumptions about a person’s gender or sexual orientation or using language that can cause offence. Download the Inclusive Language Guide >>
In some instances Gender and Sexuality Exclusive Events can be necessary to create a safe-space for a specific community. If this is your event, you may like to consider the following:
Tip 2. Think about the language you use
Read Arts Access Victoria’s Talking About Disability for the Do’s and Don’ts on language use.
Tip 3. Is your event wheelchair accessible?
Did you tick “yes” to "Is your event wheelchair accessible?" while registering? Answer the following questions to find out if your event is truly wheelchair accessible:
- Can a wheelchair user get into your venue? Entry should 1.2m wide or more, and there shouldn’t be steps.
- Is there an accessible bathroom? Make sure it isn't being used as a storage cupboard and doesn't require a key from venue staff.
- Is there accessible parking or a wheelchair friendly drop-off point?
- Does the venue have internal circulation? Could someone in a wheelchair 1.2m wide easily manoeuvre inside? Are there steps inside the venue that would prevent a wheelchair user from fully participating in your event?
- If your accessible entrance is not the main entrance, consider how you will direct and welcome patrons to your accessible entrance (you may even consider using the accessible entrance as your main entrance for your event). In any case, good signage and wayfinding is a must!
If you answered “yes” to all these questions, make sure you place the “Wheelchair accessible” icon onto your promotional material.
Unsure? Contact us.
Tip 4. Auslan Interpretation
Auslan interpretation is for members of the deaf community who use Australian Sign Language as their primary or preferred language of communication.
Read Arts Access Victoria’s guide on Auslan Interpretation to see if your event is the right match for interpretation. Interested in knowing more about Auslan? Head to Auslan Signbank, there's an online dictionary, video demonstrations, information on classes and more.
Auslan Stage Left usually offer a reduced price on Midsumma Festival events (prices vary depending on the nature of your event). They provide qualified interpreters for events and will often promote events on their website. Contact Auslan Stage Left to discuss your event.
Tip 5. Captioning
Your event may lend itself better to captioning (particularly if it is a scripted performance or film) for audiences who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Learn more about captioning from Arts Access Victoria's Get the Facts: captioning.
Tip 6. Audio Description and Tactile Tours
Tip 7. Relaxed Performance
Relaxed Performances are a great way for audiences to experience the wonder of live performance in an environment that has been carefully adapted to be friendly, informal and open to all audience reactions. They are for anyone but are particularly suitable for audiences with disability including autism spectrum conditions as well as sensory, communication or learning disabilities. If you are interested in producing a Relaxed Performance session of your event, you might like to contact Tom at A_tistic Theatre, who can provide consultations on producing a relaxed performance. The service details are:
Email: [email protected]
Safety is an integral element of your event, it's important to have a plan if something goes wrong.
Download our Risk Assessment Template, we highly recommend that you complete this in the lead up to your event.
It's important that you are across your legal obligations as a producer. Here are few things that you might want to think about.
- Do you need a participant/artist agreement? Download an example participant/artist agreement.
- Do you need a venue agreement? Download an example venue agreement.
- Are your team over 18 years old and are you paying them more than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month? Then you might be legally required to pay them superannuation. See here for more information.
- Are you likely to pay more than $7,500 per financial year in rateable remuneration (fees for your team)? Or do you have apprentices or trainees? Then you might be legally obliged to take out a WorkCover policy. For more information see Worksafe's Insurance obligations for employers.
- Have you got public liability insurance? This is insurance that protects you should a general public sue you for injury. Midsumma requires you to have public liability insurance. Some providers of public liability insurance include Duck for Cover, Allianz, and GIO.
- Would you like someone else to handle all the finances, payroll, superannuation, WorkCover and other administration of your event? Contact Auspicious Arts.
- Are you playing music which is under copyright during your event or in the area in which your event takes place? Then you will need an APRA AMCOS license AND a PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) license.
- Are you looking to screen, perform, replicate, copy or modify an existing song, play, film or something else that is copyrighted? Make sure you have obtained the rights through the appropriate artist or agent and familiarise yourself with the Art Law Copyright Overview.
- Do you need advice from a union? Check out Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA).
- Do you need to know the award rates for touring, guidelines around child employment, codes for Outdoor Events, etc.? Check out Live Performance Australia or National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).
- Do you need to know about unfair dismissal, fairness in the workplace and more? Visit the Fair Work Commission website.
- Have you got questions that are specifically about the arts and the law? Arts Law is an excellent starting point.
This information is in no way intended to be a replacement for seeking legal advice. The information is only a starting place for your research into your rights and obligations under the law.
Future opportunities and touring
When producing an event, it's important that you consider your future as a practitioner and whether you would like to present this event again.
It can be challenging to think about the future while you are focused on producing your current event but it's essential in order to sustain your practice.
Read Touring and Future Presentations to think about how to tour your work and how to make long lasting connections for your practice.