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The Inside World of Nottingham BID's Festivals...

9 September 20

Nottingham’s blessed with more than its fair share of events, ceremonies and festivals, many of which have been facilitated by the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID). Formed in 2012, Nottingham BID has offered support, information and funding to some of the city’s biggest cultural offerings and, with the upcoming ballot to determine whether they’ll continue next year scheduled for October, we caught up with some of the festivals that have benefitted from their support to see how they’ve coped during lockdown, and what Nottingham BID means to them…

Lukas and Avarni - Wigflex City Festival

COVID meant that, from a business sense, everything we’d worked towards for the past thirteen years could be all over, and it’s been difficult to imagine a way out of it. Our whole world was turned upside down, but I think we’ve managed to make the best of a pretty bad situation. As a business, everything we do revolves around people coming together to have fun and dance, so to lose that for six months or more has been difficult. But Lukas has been able to focus on creating music again, which has been really beautiful. 

Having to reschedule our May festival was definitely the hardest thing we've ever had to do. As soon as the date was rearranged we gave all of our ticket holders the option to receive a full refund, and had everyone taken us up on the offer we would have gone bankrupt overnight. Organising music events is one of the most high-risk businesses at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. So we're thankful to every single person who held on to their tickets for the new date and managed to keep us afloat so far. It's still very touch and go though so we're certainly not out of the clear yet.

Nottingham BID were the first local organisation who offered to support us with sponsorship, and for us this was hugely important because it showed us that creative businesses and larger organisations can work together to achieve great things. As a creative and relatively left field business, we are often sidelined by bigger organisations who maybe don't understand what we do. But as soon as Nottingham BID realised that we were keen to get better connected with other local businesses they offered us the sponsorship to make it happen. The way in which they bring businesses in the city together is very special. They are constantly working to better connect our city and so far they have done a fantastic job. 

facebook.com/Wigflex

Jared Wilson - Nottingham Craft Beer Week

The pandemic meant we had to change everything. The pubs and bars we work with have obviously been massively affected by COVID, so every event we had planned was either cancelled or postponed. 

Because of the way our venues have to work in the immediate future we basically had to pull the plug on everything we had planned and refocus our efforts into doing different things to support their work and reopening instead. We put together a survey to ask punters what they wanted from Nottingham pubs when they reopened and thankfully 6000 people filled that in, which really helped them to plan. We also put a box of Nottingham Craft beer on sale with Brew Cavern that helped raise thousands of pounds to support local breweries. The final thing we’ll be doing this year is offering artwork giveaways in local pubs. That should launch sometime over the next month, we’ve just been waiting for things to settle down a bit for the venues first. 

I don’t think Nottingham Craft Beer Week could exist without Nottingham BID. To be clear: the sponsorship we get is for the week’s events and not for the festival (which takes place outside the Nottingham BID area). But the festival itself was only established because the week became so strong. 

The venues we work with on NCBW pay a small fee to be involved, but the money we spend on events and promotion amounts to more than that alone. With Nottingham BID’s support this event grew from something small that happened at a few venues to being acknowledged as the best event of its type in the country. Without Nottingham BID, we’d either not exist or we’d still be a small provincial event that most people outside of the city would never have heard of. Instead, Nottingham is kicking arse in the UK craft beer industry. Long may it continue.

Aside from the sponsorship, the team at Nottingham BID are good to work with and bounce ideas off. They also help to promote what we’re doing through their own channels too. They help to make our city a fun place to go out in. 

nottinghamcraftbeer.co.uk

Ben Welch - Hockley Hustle & Nottstopping

Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to go ahead with the full festival in the same way this year, but you better believe we’re working out how to get back to it as soon as possible. We were lucky enough to receive some emergency funding from the Arts Council and have three very exciting digital projects that we’re working on. The first of which is Green Hustle, a digital festival happening on 19 September, which focuses on all things green in our city and the world. 

Hockley Hustle and Young Hustlers rely partly on public funding to continue creating projects and supporting the bank of freelancers that we work with alongside the core team. However, we feel like we’ve done our best to adapt to the current situation, keeping in touch with Hustlers all over the place and taking some time to look at how we can improve our practice and make sure we are correctly representing the people of Notts.

We’re already seeing some proper innovative ways in which festivals and organisations are adapting to the current climate, but it’s clearly going to be a while until we’re back to how it was. Some smaller festivals/organisations that we are in touch with are facing a horrible reality that they may not be able to bounce back from this which is devastating.

Nottingham BID has been a fantastic supporter of many events and organisations in Nottingham. We have a strong long-term relationship with the Nottingham BID team who have always been keen to support local organisations and adapt to the best ways to do this depending on the event. Quite plainly, without the support of the Nottingham BID, Hockley Hustle and Nottstopping wouldn’t be the same. They have part-funded both festivals as well as providing huge marketing and resource support. We trust wholeheartedly that Nottingham BID cares about Nottingham’s creative community and see the value that the events they support bring to the city.

hockleyhustle.co.uk

Nick Lawford - Nottingham Young Creative Awards

The Young Creative Awards has been an annual fixture in Nottingham’s calendar since 2009 – inspiring, supporting and celebrating young creative talent. It’s an open competition for young people aged 11-24 who live, study or work in Nottingham. Over the years the YCAs have received more than 4,000 entries, and given out more than 300 awards. It has helped launch the careers of Nottingham creatives including Rob Green, DJ Philip George, Jamal Sterrett, R-J Tulloch and Bridie Squires.

Like everything this year, the YCAs have been hugely affected by COVID and lockdown. We had a whole week of live events and activities planned at Metronome in May – our very first Young Creatives Week. Sadly these all had to be cancelled, and we had to find new ways to showcase and promote all of the brilliant work of Nottingham’s young creatives this year. We needed to act pretty quickly to change our 2020 plans entirely - instead of all the live events, we announced the awards exclusively online. We also jumped at new opportunities, and we are grateful to sponsors like Nottingham BID for supporting us to do so. 

The Young Creative Awards would not exist without the committed support of a network of sponsors and partners. We were pleased to welcome Nottingham BID as one of our newest sponsors at the beginning of 2020, and to develop some really exciting plans to work together to animate the city centre with work by Nottingham’s amazing young creatives. When COVID hit, it meant so much that Nottingham BID – and our other sponsors – continued to support us, helping us to shift things online to find new ways to celebrate the creative talent of young people in Nottingham.

Nottingham BID are one of the key sponsors of the Young Creative Awards this year. Their funding has helped to make it all happen, supporting this big, bright burst of creativity for Nottingham. The Young Creative Awards would simply not be possible without the generosity and hard work of amazing sponsors like Nottingham BID.

youngcreativeawards.org

Patrick Loy - Light Night

We’re delighted to announce that Nottingham Light Night 2021 will go ahead as planned. Many of the city’s most popular and well known events have had to be cancelled this year, everything from Splendour, Riverside Festival, community events such as Nottingham Carnival and Nottinghamshire Pride and even the ubiquitous Goose Fair. As a result, the majority of the Council’s Nottingham Events team has been furloughed, with work also drying up for both suppliers and local artists, resulting in Nottingham residents and visitors missing out on some of the city’s cultural highlights.

From adversity however, there have been some successes this summer as the city’s events programme has pivoted to ensure social distancing and Covid-safe environments. The popular ‘Summer in the Square’ outdoor dining space, sold out Drive in Movies at Victoria Embankment, and the ‘Arboretum Garden Bar and Bandstand’ have become well used open air spaces and venues while indoor venues remain restricted.  Many of our cultural and ceremonial events have moved online such as Carnival and Pride, and even the 75th anniversary of VJ Day being broadcast live on Notts TV, replacing the live audience.

The support that Nottingham BID gives to Light Night is vital to ensure that the event can continue to dazzle, inspire, and entertain. They’ve supported the event for the last two years. Their support, when combined with funding from Arts Council England and the City Council, means that the event can continue to both commission some of the large scale pieces and some of the smaller commissions that the event supports by partnering local artists with community groups.

Without Nottingham BID’s support, Light Night would certainly be smaller and significantly less impactful. Despite the issues with the A52 bridge and the accompanying delays to public transport in 2020, the event still delivered footfall that was over 18,000 higher than a normal February weekend, with estimated attendances of 36,000, and an economic impact that has been calculated at around £750k.

Leigh Ellis - Nottinghamshire Pride

Notts Pride is a celebration of LGBTQ+ in Nottinghamshire. At the forefront of our ambitions are visibility, education and celebration. COVID affected us massively this year as, aside from our sponsors Sladen Estates and Nottingham City Council, we lost all of our available funding streams and our ability to make an income. We also had to cancel our event planned for 25 July. 

It was clear the impact of COVID-19 was having an effect on our LGBTQ+ community and some big issues were arising around mental health. We wanted to show that throughout this period we could be resilient and there was still hope. That’s why we decided to hold an online event - one that was meaningful and reflected the current situation. We had a lot of support as Pride is vital to Notts as a beacon of diversity and hope.

Nottingham BID have been great supporters of Pride and we value that. In our early years in Hockley it was difficult to get the local businesses involved, but Nottingham BID’s experience and resources made it possible. One of the offshoots of having Pride in Hockley is the economic benefit it brings to the area. Nottingham BID knows how to channel that and support businesses in making the most out of the event, which in turn supports us as Hockley transforms into a blaze of Pride colours and support for the LGBTQ+ community. That transcends throughout the year, making the area a more inclusive and great place to be.

With Pride 2020 being online-only, they supported us a lot on social media. One thing we really valued was their inclusion of us when shops and businesses began to re-open. Nottingham BID wanted to use the rainbow as a symbol to welcome back people to the city and they consulted with us to ensure this didn’t shift focus away from the Pride flag, and what that means to the LGBTQ+ community, particularly as it was during Pride Month.

nottinghamshirepride.co.uk

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