Hartlepool festival first in country to launch 'pay as you decide' scheme

A Hartlepool fesitival is set to become the first in the country to allow visitors to pay what they decide.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 12:15 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 1:39 pm
Waterfront Festival at Hartlepool last year.

This year’s Hartlepool Waterfront Festival is set to be the first ever “Pay What You Decide” arts festival in the country.

Hartlepool Borough Council has announced that all visitors to the event on Saturday, July 20, and and Sunday, July 21, will be able to make anonymous donations based on their experience - with all money being used to provide additional creative activities at the 2020 festival.

Waterfront Festival at Hartlepool last year.

The donations will be held in a separate pot with the aim of giving children and young people a chance to work directly with artists, both at next year’s festival and in the run-up to it.

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Companies are also being invited to match-fund visitor donations in a flexible model of sponsorship aimed at business leaders who believe that creativity is the key to the best future for our children.

The “Pay What You Decide” model was first made popular by ARC in Stockton, whose theatre programme operates solely on this basis.

David Worthington, head of cultural services at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “At the past two festivals, some people asked if they were able to make a donation because they were enjoying the festival so much. This year, all visitors will be given the opportunity to make a donation, based on the quality of their time at the festival.”

“It is a new form of sponsorship that has never been seen before in Hartlepool and it is a fantastic way of encouraging our children and young people to be creative and letting them know that careers in the creative industries remain a viable option.

“We are also inviting businesses to match-find visitors’ donations up to a certain levels. If you run a large business you could match fund visitors’ donations by up to £5,000 for example, but if you have a small business then you perhaps you might consider match-funding up to £50. We’d welcome a chat with businesses to see how they can help us ensure that high-quality creative activity can be accessed by all. In return, we will also have a discussion about how they might best engage with our 15,000 visitors over the actual festival weekend and in the run-up to it.”

The funds raised by the Pay What You Decide initiative will go towards supporting projects similar to one run in 2018 by Diane Watson who worked with classes of school children to design a range of iconic deck-chairs with messages about the environment.

Alongside this, local artists Rachel Laycock and Emma Wheetman produced a three-metre tall perspex beach hut covered in designs created by members of the community, including hundreds from local schools.

Rachel and Emma from BloomInArt said "This is a fantastic way of giving back to the community, and it's great to see that the arts are being encouraged in and out of education in this way.

"Imagination is so important across all levels of education and it's great to see that the Waterfront Festival shares this belief!"

Businesses can contact Aaron Bowman at Hartlepool Borough Council for more information about sponsorship opportunities on (01429) 402761.

The Hartlepool Waterfront Festival will feature a programme of arts, music and entertainment, as well as some family favourites from noon-7pm each day. For more information visit the festival’s official Facebook page.