From Harrogate International Festivals:
The UK cultural landscape has changed beyond recognition over the last six months and 2020 has been a year like no other for Harrogate International Festivals.
We cannot survive without income, yet our most vital revenue streams disappeared overnight.
Incredibly sad decisions have had to be made. Following consultation, over half the HIF team has been made redundant, reducing our already small core to 4. There will undoubtedly be further difficult decisions ahead.
As a registered charity, and even before Covid-19, we were responsible for raising 98% of our income through ticket sales, sponsorship, collaborations and donations. That constant challenge has meant we have always worked within a strong business framework to raise these less than robust income streams, but the sheer scale of the pandemic and its repercussions have left the festivals sector reeling and we are not immune.
Fiona Movley Chair of Harrogate International Festivals said: “Whilst we are often recognised as an extremely resilient organisation, agile and adaptable for over 50 years, times are still extremely challenging and HIF unfortunately did not qualify for the recent emergency Arts Council England grants that have been reported in the media.”
“Between March and August this year, HIF took a hit of £850,000 through lost revenues, ticket sales, hospitality closures and sponsorship. It is clear as we look ahead to the coming months, and see no signs of change for our arts charity, it is now, perhaps more than ever before, that we turn to our sponsors and supporters to continue this vital work.”
Over the coming months we will need to raise funds that can support us as we plot a route forward and to secure our future; whilst continuing to find new ways to connect writers, readers, musicians and audiences.
You have to wonder why ACE did not rescue Harrogate. Its criteria for giving grants are looking increasingly dubious.