The Bristol Festival Community Group is a volunteer-run organisation led by a board of trustees and a volunteer committee for each event we stage comprising of up to 250 volunteers. This includes local promoters, venue owners, musicians, performers, festival crew and volunteers with a wide range of skills to give, or areas of interest that they are seeking to expand.
Managing the charity.
The Governing body of the Bristol Festival Community Group are the Trustees – This is a group of four to fifteen volunteers responsible for the overall direction and responsibilities of the Bristol Festival Community Group. They are legally responsible for its proper conduct and financial situation and answerable to both Companies House and the Charities Commission. Term of office for trustees is normally three years, they can be re-voted onto the trustee board after three years but only for a maximum of up to twelve years (this enables us to bring in ‘new blood’, fresh people with new and up to date ideas). Trustees meet a minimum of 4 times per year but in practise trustee meetings are usually bi-monthly, with trustees also expected to attend committee meetings to gain a full picture of the organisation. We are always interested in meeting potential new trustees, especially those with specific skills such as legal, finance, H.R. and communications.
Running the day-to-day.
BFCG currently has a small paid staff team as it has been found to be impossible to run the charity and festival on volunteers alone. This includes an overall manager to oversee the day-to-day running (CEO), administration support to help with the finances and vast amounts of admin, sales (sponsorship and trade pitches), to raise the necessary funds to stage the event, marketing/PR support, and Volunteer Management to carry out the admin to run with mostly volunteers, marketing and training support. In 2013, the paid staff amounted to two full time and three part time staff, all on modest salaries set at “going rate” to get suitably skilled staff. In 2014 this was reduced to one part time person as we took a fallow year from Brisfest. Any new vacancies are advertised here, and all existing volunteers are offered a fast-track route to application.
This is where it gets interesting! The majority of year-round volunteers join the team as part of the various subcommittees responsible for the planning and management of the distinct areas of the festivals. These committees are made up of local volunteers involved in various areas including programming, décor and stage/venue management, with around 250 members:
Each event we organise has a committee of volunteers responsible for planning and delivering the show. This committee is made up of the Project Coordinator for that Event (chairs the meetings), the C.E.O. or other core staff member/trustee (to ensure Project remains on target) and all key volunteers with job titles e.g. Head of Programming, Production Manager, Décor Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Gates Coordinator, Transport and Logistics Manager, Trader Manager etc. These committees are usually between 5 -50 people per event and include all those involved in key roles.
For our larger events, such as Brisfest, there are also several Subcommittees who plan areas of the event in more detail.
- Programming teams e.g. live music, electronic music, workshops, theatre and circus (usually 3 – 60 people for Brisfest)
- Décor team of about 100 people, led by the Décor Team Managers who attend the Event Management Committee meetings
- Press and marketing team (around 15 people)
- Graphic design team (usually 4-6 people)
- Volunteer Coordinators who manage teams of stewards during the event (usually 6 – 12 people)
Helping to make the festival happen.
If you’re interested in helping out for a short period, or just in return for a free ticket or two, please drop us a line. We are always in need of more hands to help make the festivals happen and continue the tradition of a not-for-profit community festival in Bristol. For Brisfest to run smoothly we need around 1000 people each year to pull it off:
These volunteers assist with the massive amount of promotional material that must be distributed; Posters, flyers and programme booklets, usually volunteering a set amount of hours in return for a free ticket.
Each year we recruit highly experienced stage managers to train volunteer stage teams, so whether you are interested in being a stage manager yourself, working on the artist liaison and hospitality team or being a roadie its great to sign up. These positions fill first and are offered to previous volunteers on a first-come first-served basis.
None of the above could be organised and implemented without Stewards and event teams who volunteer over the festival weekend and during its build and pack down with everything from running gates to putting up flags!