Event Producer Resources
SINK - Simona Castricum X Carla Zimbler. Photo by Suzanne Balding
All about producing your Midsumma Festival event
In 2024, Midsumma Festival will be running from Sunday 21 January to Sunday 11 February 2024.
If you are looking for information about registering your Midsumma Festival 2024 event, see our Event Registrations page. Registrations close Friday 1st September 2023.
- Develop a budget early. Writing up a budget is a great way to think through the different aspects of your event. If you're seeking funding, research a variety of grant options and carefully consider the timelines for these grants to ensure they will be suitable. 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!
- Plan your marketing. Develop a marketing strategy. 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 and Publicity section below for more tips.
- Think about risk. What are all the possible challenges and potential things that could go wrong with your project? Think of these things and work out solutions or ideas that might help to mitigate these risk factors. See our Safety section below for more information.
- Is your project accessible? Consider ways in which people with a disability might have barriers to accessing your event. Check out our Accessibility resource below to learn more about removing barriers.
- Are you aware of all your legal requirements? Do you need an example of a 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 Safety and Legal resources for more information.
Producer Updates are emailed to Midsumma event producers every few weeks. It's really important that you read them and forward them to anyone else in your team who might need to be across important information from us. They are full of exciting opportunities as well as tips and advice for running a stellar Midsumma Festival event. For your reference, the updates from the 2023 festival are listed below.
2024 Producer Updates
Are you in need of a venue for your Midsumma Festival 2024 event? Take a look at our Venue Finder database to see which venues are looking for events for the next festival.
Inclusivity and diversity is at the heart of Midsumma Festival. As such, we're dedicated to making the festival accessible to all audiences.
ArtsHub has a great video for artists and producers by Arts Access Victoria CEO Caroline Bowditch that offers some useful advice. You can find the full transcript here.
Gender and Sexuality Inclusivity
Accessibility isn’t just about wheelchair ramps and Auslan interpreters. Although they are important - it’s also about attitude and language. At Midsumma, we actively encourage full diversity at events regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
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. Check out the Inclusive Language Guide (by Oxfam) to see if the language you are using is right for you and your audience.
In some instances Gender and Sexuality Exclusive Events can be necessary to create a safe-space for a specific community. During registration you will be asked to advise if your event or venue only allows people of a specific identity or community (eg "Transgender only", "Queer and Trans People of Colour only", "Women only", "Men only").
If this is your event, you may like to consider the following:
Communicate why your event is exclusive. A few sentences on your website and briefing door staff can be helpful ways to convey the exclusive nature of your event. Imagine if you turned up to an event and weren't allowed in – you would want a friendly explanation!
Are there people you are accidentally alienating? 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?
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. Signs that advertise the facilities available, rather than describing the attendees, work best. You are free to download and use our signs: toilet, urinal or gender neutral and accessible toilet.
Not all venues are wheelchair accessible. Read through the information below to ensure your venue is truly accessible to people using wheelchairs.
Access: Can a wheelchair user get into and around your venue? At least one entry should be 1.2m wide without steps.
Toilets: 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.
Parking: Is there accessible parking or a wheelchair friendly drop-off point?
Free Movement: Does the venue have good internal movement 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?
Signage: If your accessible entrance is not the main entrance, has the venue established good signage and way-finding for wheelchair users?
Whether or not to include this icon will be determined by your venue when they register their venue in Eventotron.
Hearing Loop Services
Does your venue provide a hearing loop service? A hearing loop service is a hearing device that amplifies all on-stage audio for people who are hard-of-hearing.
Whether or not to include the Hearing Loop icon will be determined by you when you register your venue in Eventotron.
Auslan Interpreted Sessions
Having an Auslan interpreter at your event increases access for Deaf audience members.
It's a great idea to book an Auslan Interpreter early - if the event is still in development, you can send over information and scripts closer to the event date (usually around 2 weeks prior to the event).
Arts Access Australia
Auslan Stage Left
Captions help make your event more accessible for Deaf and Hard of hearing audiences.
There are two types of captioning - open caption and closed captioning. Open captions are available all the time, such as on a video projection in an art gallery or surtitles at an opera. Closed captions are able to be switched on and off by the viewer, such as subtitles on online streaming services.
Services available include AI captioning, which auto-captions live as you speak, such as on Zoom or subtitles on live television. Alternatively, if you can provide a script ahead of time (even a loose one), you can book live captioning for your event using a captioning service. This works well for comedy, theatre and musicals.
Arts Access Australia
Relaxed sessions are designed to benefit people with a range of access requirements, such as Autism, sensory sensitivities, anxiety and dementia.
Adjustments to the event are made to provide a more relaxed environment, such as avoiding using strobe or bright lights, no loud or sudden sounds (such as gun shots) and allowing talking and moving around during the performance.
RELAXED SESSION RESOURCES
Arts Centre Melbourne
Touch tours provide blind or low-vision audience members with the opportunity to interact with and experience the physical elements of the event. This might be interacting with physical elements of the stage or venue, such as the set or costumes, and usually takes place before the event.
TOUCH TOUR RESOURCES
Arts Access Australia
Audio Described Sessions
Audio description provides blind or low-vision audience members with descriptions and narrations of the visual elements and movements of the event and venue.
This can be provided live through a service provider (such as Vitae Veritas) or via a pre-recorded file to be played before an event or visit to a venue.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION RESOURCES
Arts Access Australia
If your venue has the facilities to record or live-stream events, this is a great way to offer an accessible event.
Live-streams and on demand videos are available to view at home, and can also be captioned. This means that you can offer an alternative format for someone who cannot attend the event in person, or cannot access the event if the venue is not step-free.
You can upload on demand or live-stream performances straight to YouTube, which audiences will be able to access after purchasing a ticket and at a specific date and time.
Please email [email protected] if you'd like to know more about digital events.
DIGITAL SESSION RESOURCES
Arts Access Australia
Marketing and publicity are two of the most important steps to realising the full potential of your event.
Some short tips about how to market your event:
- Shoot eye-catching promotional images or video
- Compile a compelling and succinct media release to send to journalists, media outlets, venues etc.
- 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!
We encourage you to develop a detailed marketing plan, so we have created an extensive Marketing and Publicity Guide. This will give you all the info you need to launch a stellar marketing and publicity campaign. Check it out below:
Advertise in the Midsumma Printed Program Guide
As a Midsumma Festival Producer, you receive a 20% discount to advertise your event in the Midsumma Festival Printed Guide. The program guide will be launched on 28 November 2023. The deadline for all advertising inquiries will be 25 August 2023.
Midsumma's media partners offer special rates for Midsumma events:
- Mr Moto Flyer printing and distribution, email Indra at [email protected]
- JOY 94.9 radio station have kindly put together a heavily discounted promotional package for Midsumma Festival events. The cost is very modest at $300 to recognise the limited income of independent artists.
For venues that wish to promote shows we have a similarly discounted package which costs $1,000.
Both packages are one week bursts with a mix of on air and digital messaging, as well as interview opprotunities. Email [email protected] to express your interest
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.
Encore PR are all about getting you noticed by the media – magazines, newspapers, radio, online and TV.
Lynda Buckley, Encore PR
Registered Event Producers are granted a licence to use the Midsumma logo on relevant 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. When you have completed producing your promotional materials, please send to [email protected] for approval.
Download the current Midsumma logo suite.
If early on you plan 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 our office if you'd like to discuss this further.
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:
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.
- 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.
It's important that you are across your safety and legal obligations as a producer. Here are a few things that you might want to think about.
Download our Risk Assessment Template, we highly recommend that you complete this in the lead up to your event.
- Do you need a participant/artist agreement? Download an example Artists 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 the Arts Law Centre's Information Sheet 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 member 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 licence AND a PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) licence. If you want to make the most of live streaming, see the Live Streaming Best Practice Guide from Music Victoria.
- 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 not 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.
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, and check out our LGBTQIA+ Festivals page to see when other queer festivals are occurring around Australia.
Read the Live Performance Australia: COVID Safe Touring Guidelines (PDF) if planning to tour your event during the pandemic.
Next Step - Marketing and Publicity
To assist your event with cutting through the media and gaining the maximum amount of exposure possible, Midsumma Festival has put together this resource for you.
Producer Q&A Sessions
Sign up for one of our Zoom Q&A sessions and meet the programming team.
In need of a venue? Check out our venues for hire database.