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 IVFDF 2006 - Cambridge

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Discussion notes from IVFDF Gathering

28 & 29 October 2000

Village Hall, Braceborough, Nr Stamford, Lincolnshire.

(very) Summarised notes from discussions

N.B. Similar points made at different times over the weekend have been amalgamated to give a more coherent summary

  • Like IVFDF ‘as is’ – format broadly correct – committees organise variations on general core which has proved it works.
  • Risk losing / changing the nature of the festival if change things too much
  • Participative – at many other festivals audience there to watch – not IVFDF.
  • Time of year when held is important
  • Informal ceilidhs / sessions one of the best things
  • New festival every year – does not become bogged down
  • Challenge of how to incorporate ‘other styles’ (e.g. Ballroom, Salsa)
  • While variety of dancing is good need to consider risk of following trends
  • Better if involve more dance societies at a hosting university
  • Marketing  - three focus groups – students, ex-students, general public.  New blood – marketing needed
  • Facilitate student ‘ attitude’ (NB not an age thing – mature students have a lot to offer)
  • ‘Sleeping on floor’, ‘community feel to participation’ and ‘minibus/coach getting to event’ all cited as examples of what makes IVFDF work as a festival – i.e. creates group cohesion
  • Needs variety of skills  therefore mix student & non-student good for a committee
  • Need organising skills  - more important than whether student or not
  • Financial risk is an issue for students
  • Experience in negotiating etc valuable input from non-students
  • Run for student ‘type’
  • Must have student input – especially to content – provides freshness & ideas,  stewards, some of organisation
  • In practice control rests with the ‘older’ IVFDF core, but if had same people running the festival IVFDF would be danger of stagnation – doesn’t need same people each year
  • Some things can be done remotely (bands, workshops, programme); other things need local knowledge (e.g. layout of buildings) and face to face meetings
  • Can’t restrict attendance to students – not viable as weekend event
  • Student societies – all go through cycles of strength & weakness, therefore need to beware relying on any one group over too long a period – take advantages of strengths which exist at the present
  • By their very nature different festivals attract different groups of people. 
  • IVFDF needs students & student societies need IVFDF.
  • Funding from university sector – key to focus
  • Argument in favour of two day festival strong, but one day event possible if can’t do for weekend for some reason (disadvantages of one day event include: getting people to drive for minibuses, working long week then away for only one day, cost, if overnight then have to solve sleeping problem – might as well have weekend festival after all)
  • Contrary viewpoint that one day event is possible and travel overnight there / back has been done in the past (& people who went had an absolute ball)
  • One day could be lunchtime Saturday to lunchtime Sunday – might ease travel issues if problem in full weekend
  • If north/south problem in hosting/willingness to travel, could have two one day festivals within one year (timing an issue)
  • Can’t put student prices up much
  • Amount of differential between waged & unwaged prices is an issue (especially for waged people going with student group to support that group)
  • Cost of travel a distinct issue for students – price of ticket should be seen as part of whole cost of weekend
  • Cash flow a big issue for festival – book early and often
  • Student groups only likely to be able to book at last minute; others can/will book earlier – needs marketing – early booking deadline possible
  • Cost of tickets is not primary problem for IVFDF, but is a problem
  • Possibility to increase cost of Saturday night dance – same level as other dances in area
  • Possibility of third pricing level – member of a student society – would need some sort of proof
  • Potential for extra events (e.g. concert) to maximise use of fixed costs – such as venues
  • Opportunities for sponsorship, but difficult – what can IVFDF offer to those providing sponsorship ?
  • Fixed costs rising – need to get more people rather than increase ticket price
  • Representatives Meeting should approve business plan of next IVFDF – i.e. be more forward looking.
  • Would be helpful for Representatives Meeting to look at financial implications of next year’s plans rather than just nod through; however concern if Representatives Meeting or Hosting come to be seen as a chore – need balance of risk and control required
  • Do NOT want fixed venue for IVFDF
  • Views in favour of both free rotation and more regionalisation – various discussions about possibilities of rotating between venues, but people running festival at a venue might change
  • Fixed locations might encourage groups to work together
  • ? can encourage smaller societies to host – could import stewards from other universities
  • Can hold both at university and at a school / hostal ( e.g. Cambridge holding IVFDF at a school in 2001 – means IVFDF has to be at half term)
  • Important IVFDF runs each year – ensures continuity – if biennial then might only go to one while an undergraduate – likely to lead to failure in the longer term
  • Universities – staff changes as fast as students, but files allow reference to previous time festival held at a particular place
  • Possible rotas; North, South, East, West; or, Scotland, South east, South west, Midlands, North England (what about Wales?)
  • Currently use maximum flexibility model, but not enough volunteers
  • Decreasing uncertainty also decreases flexibility
  • Round table on who could hold when – major issue of enough bodies and experience; lesser issue of venues at a reasonable cost
  • Underwriting – legal hurdles, but big issue in getting people to take festival on.
  • Body of goodwill for IVFDF - possibility of  central charitable fund?
  • Need to consider separate underwriting fund from refloat fund – need to consider how set up and get enough money in it for it to be worthwhile quickly – appeal ? – if enjoyed IVFDF then personal choice if donate – advantage of anonymity and no expectation on individual
  • If set up underwriting fund then Representatives Meeting should be arbiter to decide split of any profit to refloat and underwriting funds
  • If underwriting festival then Representatives Meeting must have final say on what happens to any profits – must be condition for allowing a group to take on festival – may need contractual arrangement to make this stick
  • Do we need audited or checked accounts – depends on status of festival.  If run as limited company then subject to company law & must present accounts within specified time period
  • Become more formal in planning – e.g. deadlines for planning & milestones which have to hit (e.g. timetable for leaflets for festivals) strong arguments in favour, though concerns about putting people off by creating red tape
  • Advisory body - Email list ?
  • Documentation – identify and make generally available (e.g. website)
    • Issues
    • Risk analysis
    • Hints – overview level rather than trying to be comprehensive
    • IP as archive for minutes of meetings etc.
  • Primary purpose of IP funds to refloat festival twice - ? could do two in a row now – do we need to think about the level of funds in the kitty
  • Recommend Representatives Meeting on Saturday (e.g. early evening) – allows more flexibility if need to adjourn to consult people and then reconvene
  • Possibility of membership of IVFDF – thoughts of provision of surety in case of problem, but what advantages against what costs – led to idea of Friends of IVFDF e.g. for getting information – cost currently borne by each festival
  • Subgroup agreed to consider idea further and report to Cambridge Representatives Meeting
  • Concern about take over – would individual members of Friends elect a rep/reps for the Representatives Meeting?
  • Information Point could take on some more, but not unlimited resource
  • Suggestion of list of experienced people who can be called on for help / ideas on who to contact – geographically scattered
  • Open up IVFDF constitution on who and where can run – ensure can keep festival running even if no students willing
  • Writing to student societies is a bit of a black hole – have tried many times in IVFDF history to set-up / revise mailing list - very difficult to get it right
  • Website – shop window – being dealt with
  • Information Point now on email – if urgent need for advice, say so and will respond quickly

(p) James Williams 2000

WORD version for downloading/printing


 Contact: Last Modified: 15th Mar 2003