We are thrilled to see the return of Rhythms of the World. After inclement weather and unexpected costs surprised us in 2012 (a festival which was still packed to the brim with great music and memories), we were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel plans for the festival in 2013. But we’re back, stronger than ever, and your presence here this year was as important to us as it was to you. Just by attending, you have contributed to the crucial ongoing success of the festival, helping to ensure its ability to self-fund in the future.
The cost of your ticket covers only 80% of the expenditure for such a huge event. The remaining 20% is covered by other sources of income such as fundraising, grants, stalls, bars, merchandise and of course the generosity of cash sponsors and advertisers, as well as many companies who support us through providing their products or services for free or at a discounted rate. The lovely folks at Hitchin Priory also provide us with these beautiful grounds for two whole weeks, so we have time to prepare beforehand and clear up afterwards.
Whilst some incremental changes to the ticket prices do happen from year to year, we always aim to keep the cost of your festival affordably low. Keeping Rhythms of the World accessible to as many people as possible is important to us and it’s our commitment to this ideal that has kept the festival one of the best-value musical events in the country.
The total cost of running the Rhythms of the World festival is in excess of £300,000 each year. Our largest expenditure item is the actual production cost of staging the event. We strive to run a tight ship, to ensure you all receive the best possible festival experience in a safe and beautiful environment. We’re so grateful that you joined us this year and can’t wait to celebrate with you again next year at Rhythms of the World 2015.
Although there was no festival in 2013, the organising committee decided to host a series of events on the traditional festival weekend. These events were part of our Rhythms of the World community Outreach Programme.
Music events were held at venues across Hitchin and included DJs, jazz, rock, punk, reggae, music from faiths of the world, school performers, acoustic sets, with performances from young aspiring musicians through to seasoned veterans. On the Sunday, we hosted a family fun day in Hitchin Market Place, with stalls, entertainments and musical acts to appeal to all ages.
Whilst this series of events was more about keeping the Rhythms of the World spirit alive than fundraising, we managed to net an impressive £1,300 thanks to the generosity of organisations that sponsored us and awarded us grants, and people buying gig tickets, merchandise and donating through our collection buckets. This money, together with any donations and income we receive in the future, will go towards securing the future of the festival and continuing our Outreach Programme.
Festivals like WOMAD and Latitude – both of which were nominated alongside ROTW as Songlines magazine’s top 10 festivals for 2012 – have a whole team of paid staff to organise and run their events. We are extremely proud that Rhythms of the World is a volunteer-led organisation and a registered charity.
However, it costs money to put on a festival like Rhythms of the World and whilst your entry ticket goes some way to covering the costs of hosting such a massive event, it’s not enough. We rely on the generosity of cash sponsors and advertisers, as well as the many companies that provide their products and services free or at a hugely discounted rate. By offering Hitchin Priory free of charge for the week before and after the festival, The Chartridge Company led the way in defining ‘in kind’ support. We also relied on income from stall holders, sales of merchandise, grants and pre-event fundraising activities to ensure the event covers its costs.
In 2012, the charity generated an income of £264,000 and only 68% of this was from ticket sales.
The total cost of running the charity in 2012 was £322,070.
In 2012, the charity made a loss of just over £58,000. In the years where we do make a profit, part of this goes into our reserves to protect the future of the festival and part of it funds our Outreach Programme.
For more financial information, see our ROTW Trustees’ Report & Accounts 2012 (PDF).