This is the Sixth year we've run Solstice Shorts Festival, and each year we've stretched our wings a little further. We started in Greenwich, London, then moved on to UK wide event (12 sites for Dusk in 2017) and this year is the first time we've gone international, with one of our events happening in Lisbon, Portugal.
We've put this under theatre as the closest we could get, but it is really literature - live, thrumming with energy and verve, but while there's some singing, there's no moving about the stage or dance or anything! (Maybe next year). We are a genre defying series of events - Six locations, Four countries, music and words, (and this year film), it's hard to categorise, so we hope we reach the right people! We create a platform for new writing - fiction, poetry and music. This year we are working with 42 performers (musicians and actors) 19 authors, 35 poets, and 2 film makers.
On the same day in six different locations we celebrate the shortest day of the year, the longest, darkest night of winter, in a way our most ancient ancestors would recognise, but with our own unique take.
Everything (in the UK, if we get the funding) is interpreted in British Sign Language, partly to broaden our audience as far as possible, partly because British Sign Language is beautiful in it's own right. And then we live stream as much as we can - sometimes the walls of our venues are too thick to get a signal - and create permanent videos to showcase our writers and performers. And then we publish a book as well.
Our writers are from all over the world, and span everyone from regularly published to first timers, and our musicians from a Sea Shanty Choir to singer-songwriters. Our performers include award winning raconteurs.
We create our events around a theme - there is always a link to TIME - the festival happens on the Winter Solstice, 21st December, the shortest day of the year, and is based in Greenwich on the famous Prime Meridian, home of accurately measured time. This year our theme is Time and Tide - stories, songs and poems of living, and making a living, on or beside the sea, and making new lives over the sea. This year each venue is choosing their own time of day for their event, but in Greenwich we are aiming at starting at Sunset and continuing until High Tide (venue permitting).
Because of our sea theme, this year we are in port towns, taking over galleries and cafes, museums and community centres.
Scotland: Peterhead and Clydebank
England: Maryport, Greenwich ( it used to be a port, don't argue), and Hastings
How you can help:
It's an expensive business running multi-site festivals, we need to pay venues, performers, organisers, BSL Interpreters, insurance, travel costs, video editing, marketing and we need to produce the BOOK! (It costs between£1000-£2000 per venue in total) We've had a lot of goodwill and in kind support, but because we are in several countries we also need to apply to multiple funders, any of whom might say no. So our target is our absolute minimum - that will give us the opportunity to say to funders, look, we got this match funding!
This year we are hoping to be able to afford to pay all the WRITERS for the performance of their work, whether they read it themselves or not. There would be no festival without them, and there are a lot of them! We have been uncomfortable for some time at the irony that they only see money from booksales, when we pay the people who read their work for them.
We are holding the festival in some out of the way places this year, and some of those places don't have a history of art in their town - they are working ports after all. So we can't rely on income from tickets, and are offering a donation for entry model. (One of the rewards is a pay-it-forward - you can buy a ticket for someone who couldn't otherwise afford it).
Rewards: We hope you'll take a shine to one of our lovely rewards and help us reach our target! The majority of the unique rewards are being donated by our multi-talented regional organisers. So there's a good spread of sublime to silly, and some straightforward earnest useful stuff too.
Here's a glimpse at what the rewards LOOK like.
Cake: (samples only, baked to your specification)
Risks and challenges
We need a minimum of 10% match funding, but if one of our funders says no, then this fundraising here is even more important. We have patched together events with next to nothing in the past, we know we can do it, by calling in a shedload of favours, and all working for nothing ourselves, but it is a terrible strain on the organisers; so if we could completely overtake this target we would be very happy bunnies. We have always been successful in the past when we have applied for Arts Council funding, but they are getting stricter on 'repeat' projects, so we hope there is enough new exciting stuff for them to fund us again.
We are running a workshop with London Sea Shanty Collective to raise funds (you can get tickets as part of the rewards here!) and the book should make a profit, so even if no one funds us, we will go ahead with a shoestring version of the project, everyone involved in organising has signed up to work for free if we have to, but we still need to pay performers at least a token fee and their expenses, and the venues which we haven't got free will still need to be paid for.
All rewards either already exist or cover their costs, or are being donated - the more Tshirts we order at a time the more money we make on them, so we encourage you to buy several!
- (29 days)