It’s another new year and as we’re aware that things change all the time, my recent invitation to chat to our members was with a view to finding out how the land lies for them (as well as having a good old blether), and if there are any other areas of support required to enable you to thrive. 

I spoke to a number of promoter (and a few performer) members over the course of a couple of weeks and whilst not everyone has the same immediate issues, there was some fairly common ground…

1.  Time and resources

This cropped up for most people, but especially smaller groups who really struggle to get the right people with the right skills, time and capacity to help out.  Whether that’s fundraising, programming, marketing or setting up the venue, your people are crucial to your success. In smaller communities, volunteers seem to be over committed with a wide range of competing tasks and sometimes it’s pure serendipity that someone comes forward who has experience and interest in what you’re doing. However it’s always a good idea to be pro-actively seeking new people for your team.  Come and talk to us if you’re having trouble and we’ll help you come up with some strategies for increasing your people power.

2.  Fundraising

Anothercommon problem – time and expertise to write funding applications.  These are sometimes lengthy and can require some previous experience to be successful. But did you know that we are happy to look over completed applications for all members and give feedback and advice before you send it off?  It can make all the difference having a fresh eye to look at your application and add some suggestions. And since consulting with you, we’ve also decided to introduce some additional ‘paid for’ services which include bespoke fundraising packages. We hope to launch this in the Spring, so watch this space

3.  Supported Programme

Whilst members love being able to access funds, there is a feeling that Supported Programme shows don’t attract great audiences.  We understand this is typically because the programme focuses on areas of work which are under represented (or less popular).  We also acknowledge that there is a big gap between emerging and established promoters and what their needs are.  So from April we will be making some funds available in order to help small scale emerging promoters gain confidence by programming mainstream work consistently across the year, and supporting them to generate income to become more sustainable. We will continue to provide Supported Programme bursaries to the wider network through a simple application process, which you can find here

4. Communication

Some promoters would like more connection with the network – did you know there is a Touring Network facebook group which only promoter members can see? Throw your questions or challenges out to the group – it’s private and safe and there is a wealth of collective knowledge out there waiting for you!  The team at The Touring Network also send out a monthly noticeboard which is full of useful information and opportunities. Make sure it’s not going into your junk mail – take some time to browse through and I can guarantee you’ll find something useful!

5. The Gathering

Everybody agreed that the Gathering is a superb opportunity for networking and showcasing work, and everyone also agreed that 2 years would be too long a gap between each event. Performer members were particularly happy about meeting and getting to know promoters. We’ll continue to improve our offer and will keep you informed about where and when the next Gathering will be held. If you have a festival or significant event in Spring 2020 and would like to host a Gathering, please let us know.

Finding what you need to know 

To make sure you can access our services easily, we’ve made it really clear to see what we offer with our new webpage here, so check it out and see how we can help you in 2019.

The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands)
Supporting live performance across the Highlands & Islands as part of a central, celebrated and indispensable part of the cultural life of Scotland.
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