Festivals Mean Business FAQs

What is Festivals Mean Business?
Festivals Mean Business is the UK-wide research programme led by British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) to provide key data on the sector. It’s being run by BOP Consulting and will provide crucial information about how festivals have responded to the pandemic, what kinds of support they need to help them grow and develop, and to help us tell the story of this extraordinary sector.

What will you do with the results of this survey?
BOP will use the survey results to provide key data on the size, scope and impact of the festivals sector in the UK, including headlines on the events, audiences, staffing and economic impact of UK arts festivals. In addition, BAFA will use the results to evaluate the current capacity and support needed by the sector to better meet the challenges of environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Why should my festival take part?
In order to speak for the sector, we need to speak with one voice, so having as much data as possible really helps us to make the case for more funding, and tailored support. Previous iterations of the research really made a difference for both the profile of the sector and its support, and funders changed their festival funding policy based on the outcomes. We can make a much better case for all festivals if we speak together, so please join us!

Who is eligible to complete the Festivals Mean Business survey?
The survey is open to all UK arts festivals, across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including music festivals, multi-arts events and those focusing on single artforms, such as literature, film or street theatre. All sizes and scales of festival can participate, and we encourage as many festivals to join in as possible, including non-BAFA members and freelancers running festivals.

How long will it take to complete the survey and what information will I need?
We estimate that it will take 20 – 25 minutes to complete the survey, and you’ll need to have detailed financial information relating to the financial year in which you presented your 2023 festival, plus information on staffing, audiences and programming. You’ll also be answering questions on EDI and sustainability, so you may need the support of different members of your team but you’ll be able to save any responses and return to them.

Do I need to answer all the questions?
If you’re unable to complete all the questions, please just complete what you can – we would rather than an incomplete response than none at all. You’ll also be able to save any answers and finish the survey later.

My organisation delivers multiple festivals. What’s the best way for us to fill out the survey?
The survey has been designed so that organisations running up to five festivals will be able to complete one survey. We’ll be looking for information about the financial year that included your 2023 festival so, depending on the way your organisation is structured, you may give some responses in relation to the whole organisation (e.g. finances) and some responses will relate to the individual festivals (e.g. audiences, events). The survey will guide you through how to complete each section in relation to the multiple events that you run, and you’ll be able to save your work and continue.

Is the survey available in alternative formats?
The survey will work with screen readers and we have Welsh and large print versions of the survey available on request.

Is this survey the same one the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) has asked us to complete?
No, these are two separate pieces of work with different aims, although we’ll be working closely together to review the findings and recommendations.

How will the data gathered as part of this survey be managed, and will responses be anonymous?
Only BOP will see individual responses – these will not be shared with BAFA – and all data gathered will be presented anonymously as aggregated data, unless specific permission has been sought from respondents to share additional findings, such as their own studies on economic, social or cultural impact. We’re aware that the survey requests lots of potentially sensitive financial data, and BOP will ensure that all responses are held in strict confidence, as part of a robust privacy policy.

How is Festivals Mean Business funded?
The project has been funded by Arts Council England through National Lottery Project Grants, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland.

How can I get involved?
Click here to answer the survey – it closes on 22 April 2024.

Download the FAQs as a PDF.