On the last two Saturdays, I had the privilege of being part of a wonderful day of music-making at the Lichfield Festival of Music. All ages were taking part, right from those playing for only a few months, to those playing well past Grade 8. Participants travelled from far and wide to take part; this year, people have travelled from as far afield as Shropshire, North Wales and Lancashire.
The Lichfield Festival of Music was founded in 1977, but in its 40th year, it faces an uncertain future. We need your help and support to secure the future of the Festival.
The Lichfield Festival of Music, now in its 40th year, takes place annually on the second two Saturdays in November. We are affiliated to The British and International Federation of Festivals and with the support of their expert pool of adjudicators, run classes for piano, vocal, strings and woodwind. Each year, well over 100 people of all ages and abilities travel to take part in the Festival. On the second Saturday, we hold a Festival Concert to showcase some of the best performances. The primary aim of the Festival is to provide a platform for learners to perform, and to gain expert and insightful feedback on their performances.
At the moment, the main bulk of the work needed to run the Festival is done by our Chairman, supported by a small committee. In addition, a small number of people volunteer each year to help on the day as stewards. Unfortunately, we cannot continue on this basis, and unless something can be done soon, the future of the Festival is in serious doubt.
What We Need…
The main bulk of the work needed to run the Festival takes place in the autumn. The committee meets approximately four times a year with an AGM in May/June. We are desperately in need of people to help run the Festival, and to serve on the committee. The main roles and jobs which have to be fulfilled, include:
- Selecting, contacting and liaising with adjudicators;
- Collating, printing and distributing the syllabus;
- Managing and updating the website;
- Liaising with Festivals House in matters such as DSB checks and insurance;
- Contacting, booking and liaising with local schools or other venues;
- Receiving, collating and dealing with entry forms;
- Publicity, social media and promotion of the Festival, both locally and beyond;
- Collating entries to form the timetable for both days of the Festival;
- Producing, printing and sending performers’ tickets;
- Dealing with matters related to money, such as the day-to-day accounts and banking;
- Recruiting and liaising with volunteers to provide support on the days of the Festival;
- Producing and printing the programme for both days of the Festival, and for the concert;
- Buying, laying out and providing lunch for adjudicators and other guests.
At the moment, nearly all these jobs are fulfilled by just one or two people, but they could be relatively easily divided up between any number of people meaning the workload for each person could be relatively light.
In addition, we need to increase our pool of volunteers to help on the days of the Festival. The jobs which need to be undertaken on the day include:
- Setting up venues, including putting out chairs, putting signs up, moving the pianos etc.;
- Entrance door stewards to sell programmes, tickets, raffle tickets etc.
- Adjudicators’ stewards to formally support the BIFF adjudicators;
- Venue managers to oversee the running of the Festival venues;
- Clearing up venues etc.
Being part of the Festival is hugely rewarding. It’s a great way not just to support musicians, but to play a positive part in the local community. But, the Festival cannot continue without more people willing to help. At the beginning of December, we have a meeting which will consider the future of the Festival, and your support, in whatever way possible, would be very welcome.
We are always willing to discuss what’s involved, and David (the current LFM Secretary) is always happy to answer questions. If you think you might be able to help us in 2018 and beyond, please do get in touch. All support offered, however big or small, will be very gratefully received.