BUSINESS PLAN 2013 - 2016
Prepared by Loz Samuels and Chloë Dear
With support from Worcestershire County Council’s ‘InRoads Fund’
Kidderminster Arts Festival Business Plan
Prepared by Loz Samuels and Chloë Dear
Loz Samuels is Wyre Forest District Council’s Arts and Play Development Officer. This role is responsible for all aspects of the
delivery of Kidderminster Arts Festival as part of a portfolio of wide ranging arts activity. Loz has been developing the Festival
on all levels since 2005.
Chloë Dear is an independent creative producer specialising in large-scale street / outdoor performance in unusual settings and
formats. This has been Chloë’s passion since her first exposure to the genre in 1989. Although always retaining a fondness for
the spectacular and the colourful, her particular specialism is content-driven work that is highly physical and visual. In 1999, she
joined ‘Boilerhouse’ and was instrumental in the company’s shift to street theatre. This has included producing ‘THE BRIDGE’
that played to 18,000 people in two days in Angers, France and 3600” that toured to 13 major European street Festivals in 5
countries in 2005-06. Producing independently since 2004, she has worked with companies in Scotland, England, Ireland, France
and Netherlands and has taken work to such key locations as outside London’s National Theatre and most of France’s major
street arts Festivals. Chloë is greatly involved in the wider development of street arts. She was co-founder of NASA (National
Association of Street Artists); Chloë is the convenor for Articulation, Scotland’s umbrella organisation for physical performance
and was the lead author of the organisation’s recently published “Circus Strategy for Scotland” and “Physical Performance:
Development Priorities 2013-2017”. Chloë has a thorough understanding of developing and producing Festivals on a similar
scale as KAF. Chloë is now the Director of the ‘NZ Icefest’ and Head of Events Production for Christchurch City Council, New
Vision and Introduction
Context and Environment
 Kidderminster’s Existing Cultural Offer
 Festival Environment
 Timing
 Audiences
 Local Strategic Agendas
 External Policies
 Funders / Stakeholders
 Partners
 Festival Resources
Programme Development
 What Has Worked So Far
 What Hasn’t
Long-term Sustainability
 Challenges and Risks
 Weaknesses
 Opportunities
 2013 – KAF 10th Anniversary
Action Plan and Strategic Priorities
Kidderminster Arts Festival (KAF) takes place annually over the final two weeks of August, presenting a mixed arts programme for all ages and tastes.
The Festival has developed significantly over the past 9 years and has become an important driver for contemporary arts event in Kidderminster
and the wider district of the Wyre Forest. Indeed, it offers a unique contemporary programme found nowhere else in the County. It brings together
organisations, artists and audiences to explore and celebrate Kidderminster’s newly energised cultural identity.
The Festival has, two main, interlocking aims: to bring people into Kidderminster to enjoy its cultural offer; and to develop and showcase local talent.
Widely promoted both within the town and to the surrounding area, KAF challenges perceptions of how the town is viewed regionally. It also
presents an opportunity to revitalise a failing economy and reinvent the town centre, with culture and entertainment at its heart.
KAF has grown in size, strength and popularity since its inception in 2003. This has not happened on the back of large injections of funding, rather
through nurturing relationships with its partners and audiences. From this firmly established, solid platform, the Festival is beginning to develop
and present more ambitious strands of work, the scale of which are currently limited by organisational capacity and the ability to raise funds. KAF is
exploring new mechanisms and ways of working to continue building on its success.
The production of BLOOM in 2012, KAF’s first outdoor show of scale has helped to
put the Festival on the map. Despite attracting low audience numbers due to
weather conditions, the event has become a talking point in terms of ambition and
scale of achievement. The Festival has also made an impact with more permanent
works through the transformation of a number of town subways that are a lasting
reminder of how the arts can positively effect the environment. Enthusiastic local
advocacy particularly by local artists involved in the festival continues to raise the
profile of the event.
From the beginning, the Festival has sought to showcase local talent with a strong
participatory strand complimented by professional street and cabaret performances.
The participatory programme promotes, develops and creates opportunities for
audiences and local artists both established and emerging to push their creative
boundaries and experiences.
The Desperate Men theatre company - present ‘Rubbish Heads’ KAF06
KAF aims to increase associated year round projects in partnership with a range of organisations, offering broader opportunities for participation,
reaching those in the community who may have barriers to engaging with festival activities or the arts in general.
KAF receives core funding of £5,000 and ‘in kind’ support from various departments of Wyre Forest District Council (WFDC). It depends on additional
external funding including Arts Council England and the contributions of partner organisations, artists and volunteers.
KAF is committed to providing creative solutions which address local priorities as part of its core offer, delivering to the cross cutting agendas of
both WFCD and partner organisations.
Kidderminster is undergoing many physical changes, creating opportunities for new partnerships and for the Festival’s growth. Alongside this, WFCD
is undergoing a revolution in the way it delivers its services, presenting further opportunities for the Festival’s development.
Arts Council England has given feedback that the Festival needs
to evidence of its strategic approach to delivery, and to look at a
more sustainable approach to growth.
Worcestershire County Council (WCC) has funded the creation of
this business plan to aid this and to help ensure a solid future for
the festival.
This document reviews the Festival in its entirety to understand
its strengths, vulnerabilities and opportunities for development
in the future.
To achieve its potential KAF needs to have a clear vision,
committed long term support from WFDC and partners, along
with the freedom to grow and respond to local needs and
audience feedback.
This document sets out establish how this will be achieved so
that the Festival can continue to engage and inspire audiences and artists for many years to come.
Carnival Collective KAF05
Kidderminster Arts Festival began life in 2003 when the programme consisted of 5 days of activity programmed during the school summer holidays
between July and September. It was envisaged that if the event was a success it would become a regular feature in the town’s calendar and bring an
opportunity for local people to experience the arts as part of a wider programme of summer activities offered by WFDC .
The District Council committed to allocating core budget as a long term feature in 2009.
2003: KAF was programmed and delivered by an independent local producer with the support of WFDC’s Arts and Play
Development Officer; Funded by ACE with a total budget of £5k and attracted 2000 attendees. The programme was
predominantly workshops for young people with a small element of street theatre and an exhibition by local artists.
2004: KAF delivered in house by Arts and Play Development Officer with £5k funding from WFDC
2005: Loz Samuels began working on KAF with an allocated core budget of £5k from WFDC. The Festival attracted 5000 people.
KAF presented 43 events, workshops or performances.
2006: KAF introduced the approved buskers scheme seeing an increase in local artists involvement and local sponsorship. The
Festival attracted 6475 people and presented 45 events, workshops or performances.
2007: ACE funding enabled the development of an economic impact study and a marketing strategy delivered by Audiences
Central. Reviewed in 2009. KAF attracted 18,000 attendees, presented 42 events, workshops or performances and worked with
246 artists.
2008. KAF attracted 18,000 visitors. The introduction of Xpressions Dragons Den that offered an opportunity for local artists to bid
for £1500 to develop a project to be presented at the following year’s Festival. KAF makes its first commission of new work. KAF
presented 43 events, workshops or performances and worked with 78 artists (23 of which were local).
A different colour variation of the KAF logo is used each year.
2009: £5k core funding committed to the longer term future in the form of a 3 year commitment with review as required.
Donations of £150 from the Swan Centre and £200 from the Roland Hill Centre. KAF attracted 15,000 visitors, presented 69
events, workshops or performances and worked with 94 artists.
2010:. £2,000 from WFDC ReWyre for delivery of Subway Deluxe. £1,150 from WCC to Kidderminster Town Centre Partnership for
programming of workshops. £1,000 from Community Housing Group as a partnership contribution. £150 from The Swan
Shopping Centre. The Festival attracts 24,000 visitors and 152 artists in all of which 44 were paid. KAF presented 143 events,
workshops or performances.
2011: £5,218 funding received from ACE for increased street arts programme, £1,000 received from WCC for Subway Deluxe
through KAF Creatives, £50 Weavers Wharf towards the launch. KAF attracted 18,474 attendees, paid 23 artists, 44 volunteers
and presented 63 events, workshops or performances.
2012: £10,000 from ACE for development of BLOOM project; £2,000 from ReWyre for Subway Makeover; £3,500 received from
Worcestershire County Council for strategic development for 2 years. KAF attracted nearly 20,000 visits, presented 129 events,
workshops or performances, created 5 new commissions and worked with 236 artists.
2013: £7,000 commitment from ReWyre for further Subway painting and increased street programme around the town centre;
£3,500 received from WCC for strategic final year. Arts Council England funding £16,902, Swan Centre donation £250, bursary
funding from Artrix Arts Centre of £500. Donation of over 400 square metres of carpet from Brinton Carpets. Increased
commitment from local partners including mentoring with the Birmingham Metropolitan College ‘Academy’ scheme bringing 6
students to work on the delivery of the program.
Kidderminster’s town centre has a few public houses, two nightclubs on its periphery,
one independent cinema and a small handful of restaurants. It has had a recent
injection of energy from Birmingham Metropolitan College moving a media facility
into the town and the opening of an independently owned Carpet Museum. There is
a new Premier Inn and a Travelodge a stone’s through away. Over the next 2 years a
large development on the old Sugar Beet Factory site will begin on the outskirts of the
town. This will bring 250 homes, a care home, a hotel, shops, restaurants, footpaths
and cycle ways to further transform the local area.
Kidderminster Arts Festival is the biggest and certainly the most creative / dynamic
event of the year in the town. A quick Google search for Kidderminster will reveal
lots of participatory classes but no large scale contemporary cultural events other
than KAF.
Kidderminster has a Town Centre Manager that has the objective of developing the
Town Team. The Centre Manager post was filled in 2012 with a Manager that divides
his time between Wyre Forest’s three towns. He has some budget allocated for the
development of events in Kidderminster town centre and a remit to support the
Festival though he must target support at other more emerging events like traditional
Christmas entertainment that aims to enhance the Christmas shopping experience.
Larkin About present ‘Granny Tourismo’ at KAF10
KAF is not the only town centre event; the town hosts the following events and cultural activities:
June: Kidderminster Carnival, a traditional procession starting in the town and leading to a nearby park where bands are programmed.
September - Heritage Open Weekend; the Canal Festival will not be repeated as its third year was not as well attended as hoped
November - Christmas Lights’ Switch On – a variety of free entertainment for one night only
Throughout the year:
o The Glades Leisure Centre offers occasional mainstream events such as Cage Fighting and Roy Chubby Brown with the odd tribute band
thrown in. This venue is due to be demolished sometime in the next 2 years and will not be replaced.
o The Severn Valley Railway has it’s main station on the periphery of Kidderminster and programmes events such as 1940s weekends, ghost
trains and Santa specials. KAF is building a relationship with them.
o The Boar’s Head pub presents regular live contemporary and alternative nights that programme live music and open mic sessions. It has an
upstairs gallery where life drawing and contemporary exhibitions are hosted. They also run an arts and crafts market and are venturing into
more outdoor events with the support of the resident arts group KAF Creatives.
o The Swan Pub offers live music on a regular basis and organises a beer and music Festival in August.
o The Rose Theatre is a modern, fully equipped theatre on the outskirts of the town. It seats 181, including two wheelchair spaces in its main
space and has a studio which seats up to 60 people in a variable configuration. The Theatre is owned and administered as a Charitable Trust
by The Nonentities, an amateur society promoting both amateur and professional plays and entertainments throughout the year. The Theatre
works in partnership with the local college but currently has no interest in being involved with the Festival.
o The Town Hall – a large venue with 2 rooms, a stage and bar which offers a programme of mainstream events, usually music based promoted
by external organisations on a private hire basis.
Kidderminster is a divided town. Not only is its centre separated from
its local population by an unpopular ring road, one half of the town
centre is privately owned in the form of the Weavers Wharf Retail
The other half hosts a failing retail offer where around 20% of units
are empty. It includes two privately managed indoor shopping
centres. The Swan Shopping Centre is an active participant of KAF but
the Roland Hill Shopping Centre has not proved so easy to engage as
the management is quite arms’ length.
Historically, Weavers Wharf Retail Park has supported the Festival
with small donations towards the launch evening, permission to use
its open spaces, car parking and other support in kind. There is a
positive relationship with the management of the park though no buy
in from the retailers who reside there who are all national brands.
The physical environment the town makes it is difficult to programme
outdoor presentations. There is no central square or public space of
any significant size. The spaces that do exist are compromised by the
rash of bollards and poor site lines and have limited access.
‘A Postcard from Kidderminster’ Acrylic on canvas. By James Howarth.
Commissioned by KAF in 2009
The town has a market on two days a week that bring in a massive increase in footfall. The downside is that the market further limits performance
space. Stall holders can be unsupportive of events as they see them as a distraction for their customers; however, the market management
understands the wider positive impact of KAF and are always keen to support it.
Kidderminster Arts Festival takes place at the end of the summer holidays. The Festival originally began its life as an event that took place at the
beginning of the school summer holidays although this was not popular as coincided with the traditional factory fortnight. Though the town is no
longer industrial, it seems traditional for families to holiday during this period.
The early summer is also an intensive time for the KAF team. Casual staff are recruited to deliver a series of play events that take place over the
summer. The Festival team co-ordinates marketing for the community development sections of the overall summer programme. It is impossible to
prepare for all this and deliver KAF at the same time.
Further, having the Festival at the end of the summer enables the team to explore funding at a quieter time of year and to have confirmation of the
programme content early enough to combine marketing of the summer activity programme and some elements of the Festival. This maximises
promotional opportunities, e.g. being able to include a page in the Summer Activity Programme to promote KAF’s children’s activities and directly
market the Festival in a focused, direct way to families attending the Summer
activities and family events around the district.
The August Bank Holiday weekend sees a traditional drop in footfall in the town.
KAF has struggled to attract audiences over this weekend for daytime events. In
2013, KAF will combine efforts with its new partner the Swan Pub who have in
the past successfully delivered a beer and music Festival over the Bank Holiday
weekend. This Festival has been attracting good audience numbers and presents
a wealth of local talent. The Pub is committed to increasing and developing their
programme, and by joining forces with KAF, extends this Festival with no extra
burden on capacity / budget. Further information is given below under Partners.
Programming outdoor activity on market days (Thursday and Saturday) presents
an opportunity to work in partnership with LSD Promotions, the Market’s
management company and provides access to non-arts audiences. LSD
Promotions supports the town’s approved busking scheme by providing covered
pitches and electrical supplies within the market itself.
KAF does clash with Worcester Festival although the programming offer is
vastly different in style.
Physical Jerks - workshops and performance of street dance
KAF has a dedicated following in the town and surrounding area. This has grown as a
result of good marketing and because the Festival itself has responded to audience
feedback and an understanding of local audiences tastes and needs.
To continue this audience development, KAF needs to increase its year round activity
developing projects with local groups that attract new audiences.
This growth will be further supported by increasing the diversity and reach of marketing
KAF12 saw Facebook ‘likes’ double and the creation of an active Twitter account.
Both media support year round projects not related to the Festival and the events of
partners. They also facilitate a direct discussion with our audiences and valuable
feedback. Social networking has added hugely to the conversations and networking
between local artists, leading to new collaborations and increased support for locally
hosted events.
Audiences have remained stable at around 20,000 over the last 3 years and there
remains much potential to increase attendance.
KAF will capitalise on the arrival of a new college, two new town centre hotels and the
new carpet museum and increase the reach of its marketing to stimulate audience
The population of the Wyre Forest is 97,000. Kidderminster is the most densely
populated town in the area with 55,000 residents; there are two smaller neighbouring
towns, Stourport on Severn and Bewdley. The town is surrounded by more (averagely)
affluent rural areas.
Under My Skin – Mandy Barber from True Love
Tattoos does a tattoo demonstration at the tattoo
exhibition in Kidderminster library. This project was
accompanied by a study on tattoos on people in
Kidderminster and saw a huge amount of engagement
with new non-arts audiences. KAF06
Kidderminster itself has a population with the following characteristics2:
Surveys of audience members show that most do not regularly experience arts or culture especially that of a contemporary nature, KAF is often their
first experience of street theatre. Anecdotal evidence from audiences who regularly attend more traditional cultural events in neighbouring towns
shows they do not travel to Kidderminster because of their perception of the town, especially at night.
People who live in the area and are engaged in culture leave the town to experience it; they do not expect to see work of this nature in
Kidderminster. They naturally gravitate towards Worcester or Birmingham rather than explore their immediate locality. It is difficult to get people to
pick up promotional material for events in their own town as they are not proactively looking for it.
There is a large untapped audience in the area, many people live in Kidderminster and travel to work in Birmingham as housing is cheap here but
would not socialise in the town. These audiences are unaware of the activity on their doorstep our challenge is to communicate with them
Existing audience’s responses to performances at KAF have been unpredictable in terms of attendance and immediate reactions to shows on the
streets. They are suspicious of anything they cannot see or understand immediately and it is very difficult to engage audiences in interactive work.
Information from
To program this type of work and make it a success requires building in a long period of participatory engagement before the Festival this stimulates
word of mouth promotion generating an increased level of trust. Once a relationship is established, the response is generally hugely positive and
attendance is good.
Using Arts Council England arts-based segmentation research, local audiences fall into the following categories3:
The Arts Council describes Wyre Forests three largest segments briefly as:
Dinner and a show are a mainstream group consisting of a significant proportion of young and middle-aged people. With two-thirds employed and a
third comfortably off, this group has disposable income to spend on leisure activities. Young or young at heart they enjoy life, eating well, socialising
and going on outings related to music. Infrequent attendees at a limited number of arts events, the challenge with this group is to provide
opportunities that fit their lifestyle.
Fun, Fashion and Friends are developing their careers or just starting families. In their leisure time, they like to indulge in their interests of fashion
and food. They are ambitious, optimistic and relish seeking out new experiences with friends and family.
Please note: Please note that since the data is modelled - not based on actual local level surveys - it may not reflect true local level patterns. It is intended to be a source of broad insight into likely
arts consumption patterns across different areas, not of precise local level statistics. In general, when reading this data, it should be kept in mind that the purpose of the segmentation is not so much
to provide detailed statistics on any given segment, but to act as a tool for understanding broad trends and the complex interaction of various socio-demographic, behavioural and attitudinal patterns
among the English adult population. It should also be borne in mind that the data is modelled using the data from the original segmentation exercise undertaken in 2008. It was not updated when the
segment profiles were updated in 2011
Although this group are cited as a high percentage, relatively few of them attend KAF events and are therefore an important target group.
Family and Community Focused are typically in their 30s and 40s, who have built a comfortable nest with their moderate financial means. Their
priorities lie with their children, connecting with the local community and holding on to their cultural roots. Their interests lie squarely with their
immediate surroundings and understanding people like themselves.
Their attendance at KAF is currently infrequent.
Looking more closely at KAF’s existing audiences, based on observation feedback and statistical information on the residents in Kidderminster the
local audiences are predominantly:
A quiet pint with the match ; content with life and are not seeking change. They spend much of their leisure time at home though might be found
having a drink with friends at the local pub. 'The arts' are unfamiliar, and overlooked by this group; they are a huge untapped potential audience.
Older and home-bound are those in their senior years. They are generally content and have a practical outlook on life. They enjoy a slower pace of
life and like spending a lot of their free time at home. Some of them report poor levels of health which restricts their activities in general. It could be
argued that this category may also include many who need some level of care due to mental health issues or disabilities. Linking in with wider WFDC
targets on well being the Festival needs to continue to develop engagement with this audience segment.
Limited means, nothing fancy are information seekers who tend to spend their disposable income cautiously. Non-judgmental and dutiful, they
value family and friendships. For them leisure time is all about having a break and chilling out within their limited means.
Bedroom DJs are those in their late teens or 20s, still living with their parents or having just flown the nest. Bedroom DJs are starting out in life. They
are motivated and aspire to do well in their careers. With few commitments, they tend to live for the moment and spend impulsively even though
they are financially constrained. Appearance conscious and sociable, they spend much of their time and money on shopping, socialising and
Although KAF would like to retain its existing audiences, if the audience is to grow then it needs to broaden. The Festival needs to be able to program
more ticketed events to subsidise it’s free outdoor offer. If we are to effectively achieve our aims of changing the perception of Kidderminster and
impacting on the evening economy we need to engage with a different audience and find innovative ways to do so.
A number of strategies and initiatives are being developed by WFDC with its partners. KAF and other cultural events are beginning to feature more
heavily at the core of these strategies. These strategies will determine how the Council will prioritise its work and its spending over the coming years
and will ensure that the Council responds to local needs.
The research conducted during the preparation of these strategies supports the argument that there is a need for a strong cultural offer to drive the
local economy forward as well as addressing other issues such as community cohesion, wellbeing etc. Research like this informs the direction of the
Festival as it is responsive to local needs. KAF should be seen as part of the solution to community development and needs to be included in related
debates. Funding should be consolidated so that rather than directed at creating new events, it should support KAF as it is already substantially
embedded in the community. There is always a danger that politicians and strategists will not understand the potential of the Festival to change the
community on a range of levels and therefore overlook it.
All of the Council’s work delivers to the Community Strategy for the Wyre Forest as follows:
A Sustainable Community Strategy for the Wyre Forest District, 'Making a real difference 2008-2014'4
This sets out the Wyre Forest District Council’s priorities over the life of most of this plan, after which a new one will be developed. The strong arts
community which is emerging as a result of KAF should be in a position to influence future policies if co-ordinated and communicated with
effectively. The priorities of the Council are stated as:
 communities that are safe and feel safe
 a better environment for today and tomorrow
 economic success shared by all
 improving health and wellbeing
 meeting the needs of children and young people
 stronger communities
‘State of the Area Debate’
In March 2012, to support the delivery of the Economic Success Shared by All element of the strategy, the Council hosted the ‘State of the Area
Debate’ to explore local issues and decide how a £1 million grant would be spent to improve the economic prospects of the District. The following
dominated the agenda:
 The town centre lacks a compelling identity that would help attract more people to shop there
 The quality of the public realm is poor
 There are a large number of vacant shops on the high streets
 The town centre offers little more than shopping – eating out, leisure and living opportunities are very limited
 Too many young people have low aspirations for their lives and their work prospects
 Employers complain that too many people looking for work lack basic employability skills, including literacy and numeracy
In additional to the physical changes needed in the town ,there was a repeated call to offer more events in town centres to create a clear identity
and attract visitors in from further afield.
Working with the Economic Regeneration team to deliver ReWyre
The ReWyre Initiative is a master plan for the development of Kidderminster. It sets out
priorities for the redevelopment and regeneration for the town in future years. ReWyre is managed by the Economic
and Regeneration Team within WFDC and has attracted funding, some of which has been siphoned to KAF for the
delivery of public realm projects over the last 2 years and continues into 2013. The Festival has been instrumental in
the creation and delivery of creative consultation and promotion of the Initiative.
ReWyre and KAF have been working together for the last two years. ReWyre has kindly funded two Subway Deluxe projects that have helped to
improve the local environment. Subway Deluxe has transformed the largest subway the town into walk through art galleries complete with flock
wallpaper and guilt frames. The project gave local artists a chance to positively influence their environment increasing their sense of value to their
communities. The subways are the main route for pedestrian access particularly for people who arrive into the town by train. The subway was
previously subject to littering, vandalism and graffiti. Since its transformation it has received further investment. It has been landscaped and there
have been no new attacks of vandalism, significantly improving its appearance.
Rather than being overly prescriptive, ReWyre gave much of the creative direction of Subway Deluxe to the artists. This made it easier to get
volunteers involved which generated a better value project and provided rare networking and development opportunities. It has stimulated the
creation of similar work by other organisations in the area including schools, Friends’ Groups in parks, aTennis Club and the local housing company.
The project was enthusiastically received by residents. The cumulative effect of all this has been a general improvement in the public realm.
This work and the positive response to it from the public have cemented the relationship between ReWyre and the Festival. Confidence has grown in
KAF’s ability to deliver to ReWyre’s agenda.
In 2012 KAF responded to research conducted by ReWyre by presenting ‘BLOOM’, KAF’s first major outdoor show. The research indicated there is a
high level of fear deterring visits to the town at night, the need for a public square to give focal point for the town and the ongoing public dislike of
Crown House, a building that was featured in a national TV program and voted Britain’s 7 th ugliest building. BLOOM was a digital mapping projection
project with far reaching community engagement that allowed us to transform Crown House and simulate a town square over two evenings also
giving KAF a finale event.
BLOOM incorporated a consultation about the perception of the town in the evening and asked for comment on the town’s physicality, visitors
experiences of anti-social behaviour in the past, providing further evidence for ReWyre which it will use to attract future funding. The event itself
provided an opportunity to close roads which helped to understand traffic flow when parking is removed and stimulated a dialogue with retailers
and residents about potential future changes.
The ReWyre initiative is continuing its investment to KAF for 2013. The Festival will use this investment to initiate further urban realm projects and
develop opportunities for consultation and joint fundraising. Additionally, in its forthcoming business plan ReWyre has committed to acknowledging
the Festival’s potential to influence and shape the town, its economic impact and to increase tourism and continues to consult with the Festival
about its public realm needs.
Kidderminster Central Area Action Plan
The WFDC Economic and Regeneration team developed targeted piece of consultation which resulted in the Kidderminster Central Area Action Plan
(KCAAP)5. This plan is one of the District Council’s emerging planning policy documents and sets out policies and land allocations for the future of the
town. While the Regeneration Prospectus, ‘The Rewyre Initiative’6 promotes the ideas for transformation, it is the KCAAP that puts the policies in
place to make their delivery happen.
A key aim for the KCAAP is to develop the town’s leisure and cultural offer. This
will contribute towards the ambition for Kidderminster to become the tourism hub
of the District. In particular, the plan states that it is important to grow the town’s
evening economy by encouraging people into the town at night. Kidderminster has
a real deficiency in this respect.
An important means of bringing people into the town is the creation of multipurposes public spaces for public entertainment and events held at different times
of the day and night. As mentioned above, the town lacks this type of useable
space and this can limit the activities that it can host.
It is well attested that arts and regeneration work very effectively together by
helping to change perceptions of spaces and how people relate and experience
Allia Khan from Step Up Dance Academy presents Bollywood
Fusion dance workshops and performance at KAF10
Worcestershire Arts Strategy
The Worcestershire Arts Partnership (WAP) has developed a strategy7 that supports the arts in the County based on
consultation with a wide range of partners, artists, organisations and politicians. This outlines the priorities of the
Partnership until 2013.
KAF delivers to this strategy by being a member of the Partnership. Involvement provides opportunities to work in
partnership more effectively with arts and non arts agencies in the County. WAP is also beginning to provide opportunities
for improved marketing and for accessing funding and co-commission work that KAF may benefit from.
The strategy listed its priorities as follows:
 To make the arts in Worcestershire as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.
 To build capacity in the arts sector in Worcestershire.
 To develop art forms in Worcestershire.
 To develop physical spaces for the arts in Worcestershire
Arts Council England
Within the Arts Council of England’s ten year plan for 2011-2015, there are priorities that Kidderminster Arts Festival delivers to:
 Talent and artistic excellence are thriving and celebrated
 More people experience and are inspired by the arts
 The arts are sustainable, resilient and innovative
 The arts leadership and workforce are diverse and highly skilled
 Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts
Wyre Forest District Council
WFDC provides £5,000 core funding although this figure has not changed since 2003 and in the current climate there is little chance of commitment
to any uplift. Each year, additional top up funding has become available, by combining projects under the Festival banner or from other departments’
budgets where shared agendas are met, these can be last minute and vary each year.
There is no indication of any increase in core funding from Wyre Forest District Council. Though the Festival is highly valued by the authority and
funding allocated on a short term basis usually becomes available, this requires an inventive approach to programming and a constant eye on
potential non- arts funding pots.
WFDC may be in the position of dedicating additional funding to programming in the future however; it will not improve funding for the capacity to
deliver the Festival.
Budget support from ReWyre has increased by £2,000 to be reviewed annually, supporting continued work in the public realm.
A funding stream managed by WFDC, The Xpressions Leisure Grant Scheme, has provided £1,000 for the last 3 years
for commissioning local artists to contribute the Festival program. This is set to continue in the near future but is a
finite pot; it is also currently under review.
This additional support is of great benefit as having proportionate match funding is crucial to levering in additional
external funds and has been flagged up as a weakness by the Arts Council in the past.
Town Centre Management is employed by WFDC and offers opportunities to develop relationships with business
and other organisations possibly leading to partnership investment.
Worcestershire County Council Arts Service
Funding from the Inroads Funding Scheme has been secured by KAF. It was awarded £7,000 over a period of 2 years for strategic development in
2012. This funding has been allocated to the development of this business plan and for Festival development in the future.
The Arts Council England
ACE have supported KAF between 2009 – 2012 with Grants for the Arts funding. This doubled in 2012 to £9,993 for the creation of the ‘BLOOM’
event. Future ACE funding is essential for continued growth and maintaining the focus on quality work.
ACE Strategic Touring Funds could be accessed. There is interest from partners though currently no firm commitment.
In 2011 ACE commented on the lack of local ‘buy in’ and sponsorship. Considering the visibly declining economy in the town, it is unlikely that KAF
will be able to increase financial commitment from local business though the Festival will continue to pursue this when capacity allows. It is hoped
that the development of the Town Team8 will facilitate discussion with potential sponsors.
KAF is also trying new strategies to tempt retailers to become involved, e.g. paying for promotion with advertising, special Festival offers from local
businesses and encouraging retailers to become involved creatively by creating window displays. The Festival has seen a hugely increased
involvement from local partners that have brought with them much ‘in kind’ support and additions to the programme.
The Town Team will be a group of retailers and other stakeholders who have a
vested interest in the town of Kidderminster. A small group has been established
in 2012 who will steer the work of the Town Centre Managers, lobby appropriate
bodies on issues which contribute to the towns success.
Other support
Small financial contributions have been consistently made by local companies there is no indication that these will increase in the immediate future.
This source of Festival income is sought each year but has proved to be time consuming and ultimately not very fruitful. Partnerships or contributions
‘in kind’ seem to be much more forthcoming and make more sense with the available capacity.
The following sources are potentially exploitable in the short term future:
 Dance funding from WFDC sports Development initiatives which could be used as matched funding to be invested into a year long project
presented in a finale performance at KAF. The Festival is currently in conversation with the Worcestershire Dance Promoters Group to explore the
potential for a County-wide project that would create strong links between dancers in the districts and raise the profile of the Festival. This would
be in place for 2014.
 The Artrix Theatre has committed £500 for bursaries to make all activities accessible to young people in 2013.
 Awards for All could support projects created by partner organisations such as KAF Creatives which could contribute to activities programmed by
the Festival
 Co-operative Funds – not yet explored / accessed.
 Community Safety Partnership has given money in the past for regeneration projects; nothing is available for 2013 but there may be again in the
future depending on their strategic priorities.
 The Elmley Foundation has a small grants scheme that has supported the Festival in the past. It is possible for KAF to apply again.
 Worcestershire County Council ‘Inroads’ funding averages £1.5k; KAF could next access thanks in 2014.
KAF’s partnerships have increased in number, commitment and confidence over the last three years, mainly due to new projects initiated by the
Festival which have engaged them directly. BLOOM significantly raised the profile of the Festival locally and has attracted interest from new potential
partners in the town and wider County including new businesses moving into the area. It is recognised that there are pressures on partner
organisations and that to enable them to work with KAF, the Festival has to come up with creative ways for them to engage. It seems that simply
asking for financial assistance is not a viable option.
2012 saw a significant increase in the contribution partners have made including access to office and parking space, provision of barriers for traffic
control, storage, security, support with publicity, use of venues and more.
New partners have moved into the area and have either committed to involvement or expressed a strong interest in being involved with KAF. They
bring with them new audiences and increase the Festivals capacity and resources.
KAF Creatives is an independent group of contemporary artists who’s membership are young and
changeable. They are resident in the Boars Head Gallery and have about 13 core members with an
additional 18 or more on the periphery. Their membership is varied and includes artists who
specialise in spoken word, visual arts, design, filmmaking and photography but there are no
performance specialists as yet. The artists use KAF as a platform to devise and present collaborative
They have recently taken on a lobbying role to protect the gallery in the town library which is under threat of closure. The group’s ambition and
confidence is growing. They are increasingly engaging with politicians and their work is having a significant effect on the town’s cultural
They will present a series of small events during the year and will present a spoken word and acoustic night, workshops and a poetry slam at
 The Boar’s Head Gallery (BHG) is part of the Boars Head Pub on the edge of the town centre in an area prioritised for redevelopment. The venue
has given use of space upstairs to local artists who voluntarily run a gallery and workshops. The relationship is new and very mutually supportive.
There is a significant and rapid growth in their contribution to the local arts landscape and KAF. Unfortunately, the upstairs gallery does not have
disabled access, although there is a large courtyard downstairs that has been recently utilised for arts and crafts markets and expansion of the
gallery space.
For KAF13 the BHG propose:
o Working in partnership to present a sustainable outdoor weekend event
o Possible outlet for ticket sales
o The creation of an exhibition
o Delivery of an outdoor Paint Jam event with DJs
o Marketing opportunities
Kidderminster Library Service has an exhibition space which they have offered free of charge in the past. They are keen to create opportunities
for joint working through associated projects such as competitions etc. The service has expressed interest in doing more complex projects
particularly involving outreach. However, there are current issues with capacity and reform of the service so cannot commit to anything
significant right now.
 Worcestershire Film Festival was launched in 2012 and delivered events during KAF that helped them with the promotion of their main event in
Worcester. They have expressed an interest in developing art house projects that tour and are keen to work with KAF again in the future.
West Midlands Safari Park offers free tickets for prizes for KAF activities.
The Swan Pub is independently hosting a beer and music Festival and will provide, programme and manage an outdoor stage on the final
weekend of KAF. There will be a series of cabaret, comedy and performance based evenings in the run up. This event has happened
independently for the last 2 years. A successful partnership with KAF would fill the live music gap in the Festival’s programme. The pub could also
be an outlet for ticket sales, improving access for audiences.
Friends of St. Georges Park is keen to engage local children in a specialised event held in their park; they are currently in discussion with KAF on
programming and are independently seeking funding. They will host and manage their first children’s festival on the first weekend of KAF13.
Kidderminster College is planning a music and multi-media performance called SONIQUARIUM to be presented as part of KAF13. The college are
keen to use their studio space as a public venue and are looking at making physical changes to the building to make it more accessible and
autonomous. This would enable private hire. The potential of this space for KAF is substantial as it would provide a black box, medium sized
venue with in house sound and lighting equipment in a central location, something the town is currently lacking. Crucially, the venue would also
have parking.
The Artrix Theatre is a successful arts venue in Bromsgrove that is looking to increase outreach activity, partner with the Bromsgrove Festival and
present more outdoor performance. The Theatre is in discussions with KAF to explore co-commissioning or joint programming and have already
committed a small financial contribution to assist with engaging young people in KAF13.
Kidderminster Museum of Carpet opened in October 2012 and will offer workshops, free tickets and outreach sessions. It will contribute to the
KAF Carpet Forest installation and display some of the forest after KAF has finished.
 Worcester Resource Exchange (WRE) has offered discounted materials for the creation of KAF’s Carpet Forest installation, collection and
transportation of materials and studio space as well as access to a database of volunteers to assist in the installation of the Carpet Forest. WRE
will also create a bespoke resource activity for KAF that will raise awareness of the carpet industries’ heritage, the WRE and inspirational re-use of
materials. WRE will also display some of the forest after KAF at its venue in Worcester further promoting KAF outside its delivery time.
Brinton’s Carpets has offered supplies of scrap/remnants of carpet for the Carpet Forest project and publicity.
Independent artists or groups - there are a number of these in the area that deliver workshops or performances as part of the Festival
programme. Some are regular presenters, others occasional. This aspect of KAF increases year on year and is only limited by space availability.
These activities diversify the participatory program, alleviate capacity issues as they are self managed and help build relationships with local
artists for work throughout the year. A small number of artists for KAF13 are already confirmed:
o Talking Props have delivered musical theatre workshops for the past 3 years and are now looking to add flash mobs to their repertoire.
o Severn Valley Samba Band is a local band with members of all ages originally set up by WFDC and now independent. They have performed 3x
o Got 2 Sing is local community choir that performed outdoors with over 50 members at KAF12.
 Birmingham Metropolitan College established a new arts facility in Kidderminster in 2012. This facility will dramatically affect the pedestrian flow
of the town. It is located on Weavers Wharf within a large pedestrianised area. The college offers digital media courses and hospitality and has
indicated a keen interest in working in partnership. They offer:
o Facilities and delivery of venue for launch through hospitality students
o Marketing opportunities
o Use of students’ skills such as development of games applications or capacity through training. This is under discussion
o Contribution to program
o Access to new audiences and promotional opportunities
 Sandwell Festival is located 40 miles away from Kidderminster and in the West Midlands region. It has a similar demographic. The Festival
Manager is keen to work in partnership including joint programming
 Worcestershire Arts Partnership is an emerging partnership with sub-groups, such as Arts in Non-Arts Spaces. It offers the opportunity for
commissioning of new work, joint programming, sharing best practice. There is also the possibility of working with County wide non-arts partners.
The Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre presents 6 Summer Saturdays that are mostly programmed with street arts. The Hippodrome is keen to
work in partnership with KAF. It is facilitating groups from the West Midlands to explore the development of circus and street arts by offering
wider partnership working opportunities.
St George’s Church is not directly in the town centre, but as the Festival grows and with the initiation of a children’s Festival in nearby St.
Georges Park, it seems prudent for both parties to form a relationship. St. Georges is undergoing a transformation and is making physical
alterations to develop itself as an arts venue: the space is
ideal for concerts and performance. The new committee
seems open minded in their programming. They have
recently become active members of the Shindig Rural
Touring Scheme and have presented a number of musical
acts that have expanded audiences and reputation as an
arts venue as well as their knowledge of presenting work.
A dialogue has just begun with the venue to explore
future involvement.
The Lady and the Sax local musicians who have busked at KAF for many years
Organisational Capacity
KAF’s delivery is the responsibility of Wyre Forest District Council’s Arts and Play Development Officer. The Festival is a small element of a large
portfolio of work; there is currently some support from a part time assistant officer who offers year round administration support. WFDC also
provides legal services, design and print services and some casual support staff when needed.
The Festival also benefits from a temporary post providing Festival support for approximately 7 weeks; this is a hands-on role, supporting when and
where needed, particularly with promotion and production work. There are occasional opportunities for work experience support; in 2013 there will
be a one week placement by a student interested in journalism.
Approximately a third of the program is delivered by
independent artists or partner organisations.
The KAF team has not been able to increase capacity in line with
the growth of the Festival. Staffing has been frozen in the
Festival team at one and a half full-time posts as a result of
budget restrictions. It may be possible to secure additional
WFDC officer support in the form of a volunteer Manager who
would be a shared member of staff with another WFDC section.
More voluntary involvement would increase the sense of local
ownership although unlikely to contribute to the stretched
management capacity of KAF. This solely remains the Arts and
Play Development Officer for the foreseeable future.
The potential for increasing capacity for the Festival in its
current form is uncertain given that continued cut backs are
expected over the next three years. The commitment for
temporary support during the weeks running up to and during
the event looks set to continue.
Designs In Air ‘tentacles’ installed in the Town Hall KAF12
Any additional support must be externally funded.
KAF has a corporate year round brand in WFDC colours and changes its colours when the Festival starts to go live. This concept is to reinforce that
there is a continuous reinvention of the event, a fresh approach each year but with a constant and familiar thread.
In 2007, KAF benefited from support from Audiences Central to develop a marketing strategy. A health check followed in 2009. The Festival acted on
all the recommendations of the strategy. The health check concluded that nothing more could be done with current capacity. KAF12 has received
some consultation on the brand and look of the brochure. The logo has been slightly adapted in response to feedback that Kidderminster as the key
location is not obvious. Until it is firmly on the radar of an established audience, this needs to be emphasised.
Social networking and increased presence in local press continues to build a recognisable brand.
The Wyre Forest Hub offers a ticket selling outlet andonline booking system.
The Town Hall is located in the town centre and provides the central base for the Festival. It has a large room with a stage that seats 600 people and
a smaller room seating 200. There is little sound or lighting equipment so this all has to be hired in at additional cost.
Facilities for performers are provided throughout the event at the Town Hall including IT access, parking (limited) and storage.
The cost of using the Town Hall is at the subsidised rate of £16 per hour (a 50% discount on normal hire charges).
Any external equipment brought into the hall is subject to safety testing by a WFDC contracted provider and comes at an additional cost of £42 per
Storage Space
WFDC offers limited storage space for Festival equipment at a site 5 minutes drive from the town centre.
Weavers Wharf has offered parking space in its centrally located delivery yard whilst WFDC offers buskers parking permits at town centre car parks.
KAF began life with a simple program catering for children and families that was presented mostly indoors in the Town Hall. Each year the Festival
has offered a more ambitious, challenging program, diversifying its offer whilst simultaneously increasing and widening its audiences. 2013 brings a
new approach with a strong central theme based around a commissioned installation. As a mainly curated programme, it will result in a more
connected event. The 2013 Festival will see an increased commitment to support established and emerging artists to push their practice and scale of
work. This part of KAF’s continued focus on the development of local
The Festival seeks to be fresh, inventive and resourceful in its
approach, changing each year to grow with the expectations and
experience of its audiences and partners whilst remaining as
accessible as possible. To encourage audiences to take risks and
explore the Festival offer, ticket prices are kept to £5 or under. To
further facilitate audience development, there will be an increase in
outdoor programming and participatory strands engaging audiences
in non arts spaces such as local pubs, subways etc. Programming
outdoor work on market days exposes shoppers who would not
normally travel to the Festival creating additional audience
development opportunities.
The Festival aims to programme not only accessible arts but also work
which is more challenging and unusual to retain its contemporary
identity. This must be done with a balanced approach with a focus on
work that encourages self reflection, civic pride and tolerance. It is
also important that the programme does not become elitist, too highbrow or left field as this can alienate audiences.
Ramshaklicious Theatre Company present - ‘The Road to Nowhere’
KAF needs to become increasingly active in the commissioning of small scale work suitable for both its own programme and other partners’ as it is
difficult to find the right scale and quality of work. There are some art forms /genres, e.g. circus, medium-scale theatre that KAF has not been able to
explore to date due to capacity restrictions, lack of suitable performances spaces both indoors and out, and a tight budget.
Partnership working within the local area diversifies the programme with groups such as the Boars Head Gallery and KAF Creatives presenting more
adult content. This element of the Festival continues to grow, adding to its sustainability and local ownership. The Festival also presents the work
created by the Xpressions Commission developed throughout the proceeding year.
KAF has a small participatory programme that promotes, develops and
creates opportunities for audiences and local artists both established
and emerging to push their creative boundaries and experiences. It also
creates opportunities for local artists to contribute to the programme,
providing free venues for artists to offer workshops or present work.
This facilitates networking: local artists are able to meet more
established artists from outside the area which can lead to bids for
funding to create work with support and mentoring for the following
year’s event.
KAF aims to increase associated year round projects in partnership with
a range of organisations, offering broader opportunities for
participation, reaching those in the community who may have barriers
to engaging with Festival activities or the arts in general.
Hoodwink Theatre – Leap of Faith KAF10
KAF tries to offer a varied program that doesn’t get stale
by repeating the same format each year. Though in broad
terms KAF is building a picture of what audiences
respond well to, the Festival is limited by the constraints
of the physical space in the town, the efforts of
volunteers and the imagination and experience of the
one lead officer. KAF’s audiences speak with their feet,
so evaluation is easy. A detailed paper evaluation is
conducted that will gives audiences an opportunity to say
what they do or don’t like and what they want to see
more of. So far, successes have included:
Street Theatre
Walkabout comedy works particularly well at KAF.
Audiences unaccustomed to seeing street performance
can be suspicious and are wary of static shows that might
want them to participate so it can be hard to gather a
Walkabout creates an opportunity to engage in a
conversation, making the audience members feeling
more in control and more likely to join in.
The Insect Circus Museum – KAF06
It is important to ensure the work is good quality, vibrant and accessible as this brings the streets to life and raises awareness of the wider program.
Outdoor installations and visual arts
2012 saw Designs in Air bring the Town Hall to life with giant inflatable tentacles which were lit at night; these were hugely popular and created a
real buzz in the town and on social networks.
Subway Deluxe was the concept of a KAF Creatives member and resulted in
Comberton Hill Subway (a main artery into the town) being transformed 3 times
over the last 2 years. This work has transformed not only the physical environment
but also local perception of graffiti and urban art. It has triggered investment by
WFDC and other organisations into further work of this nature outside of the
Festival and has created links between local and nationally established urban
Subway Deluxe has been the catalyst for a wave of exhibitions and events at the
Boars Head Gallery, including Doodle Bombing events, competitions and the return
of artists who donated time and talent to Subway Deluxe. This has all been
extremely popular as audiences understand the format so this type of work is now
a regular feature at the Gallery.
Subway Deluxe has empowered of a group of local artists by providing them with a
vehicle that influences their local environment and engages with wider
regeneration plans. This has delighted local people who have seen their town
IBW an artist from Weston working on Subway Deluxe
There has been success with interactive installations in the past, for example, the Jan
Niedojadlo’s Podules9 installation was extremely popular, particularly with local groups. There
were many visits from nurseries and group who cater for people with special needs who enjoyed
the sensory nature of the installation and the ability to enjoy the work in their own time on their
own terms.
This has prompted KAF to revisit this approach further in 2013.
Family theatre
These include shows by companies such as Blunderbus Theatre, a company familiar to KAF
audiences and who are supported enthusiastically. However, with each new company that is
programmed, there is an unpredictable audience response; audience sizes, though generally
healthy can vary greatly.
Participatory Workshops
Most workshops are tasters offered by established or emerging arts groups to attract new users
to their organisations and raise their profile. KAF provides them with a venue and publicity. The
workshop leader takes the door money. These workshops have become the bedrock for KAF,
providing a strong participatory element with low risk and impact on capacity and contributing
to feeding wider arts activity in the area throughout the year.
Approved buskers Scheme
The scheme puts local artists, mostly musicians, in touch with the Festival. Buskers showcase
their work during KAF where they are provided with a covered pitch with power. This is a
valuable promotional opportunity, many get offered gigs at commercial venues as a result of
appearances at KAF. This somewhat compensates for KAF audiences not being wildly generous.
Busking at KAF has slow to grow and is still very small-scale. It is largely restricted to market days
though increasing in scale, quality and popularity. It is popular with audiences and their
willingness to put money in the hat is improving.
Niedojadlo’s Podules – ‘The Hive’ KAF06
Static outdoor shows
Audiences can be suspicious of participatory, static street theatre. This type of work is
only seen in the town during the Festival and it is apparent audiences are very cautious
about being directly involved, they are reluctant to stop and watch for fear of humiliation.
Walkabout shows eliminate this problem. It is important to retain an element of this type
of work in the programme though it has to be carefully programmed.
Bank Holidays and Sundays
In previous years, KAF has experimented with programming performances on the bank
holiday or Sundays. A combination of bad weather, few shops open for trading and no
other motivation to come into the town, the small Festival offer alone proved to be not
enough to pull in audiences, this may be due to the scale of the offer. KAF is
experimenting with working with a new partner, the Swan pub who already has an
established bank holiday event and wants to expand. This is a more condensed
programme over the bank holiday weekend, with less risk to the Festival and an increased
capacity to deliver and support a local venue to grow.
Night Time
Programming in the evening is still a challenge as there is such fear of anti-social
behaviour. Poor public transport also hampers attendance. The Festival has not
experimented enough with this type of programming to fully understand development
prospects. It is, however, a priority for the town to develop its evening economy although
the right formula has not yet been found and would need considerable investment to further explore potential.
BLOOM was KAF’s first exploration of presenting large scale outdoor work in the evening. The event was a great success in its devising stages and
involved lots of very keen participants in workshops with little experience of the arts learning new skills. Sadly, both evening performances were
severely hampered by torrential rain that hugely affected attendance. Response from those who were a little more intrepid was overwhelmingly
positive; the show couldn’t have been better received. The artists got a lot out of the process in terms of developing their skills and working at a
larger scale. 10
This type of work is something that KAF would like to continue to explore due to the
reception of the work being inconclusive due to weather. BLOOM certainly helped the
Festival with engaging with partners and the community. It has substantially improved
the profile and credibility of KAF and proved the level of local arts ambition.
KAF benefitted from huge police support and there was no antisocial behaviour on
either evening. Alongside the performance, KAF conducted consultation that has
provided ReWyre Initiative and Community Safety Partnership with a valuable insight
into some of the issues they need to overcome to achieve their own targets with
respect to developing the evening economy.
Blunderbus Theatre – The Selfish Crocodile KAF12
There is an over-reliance on the current Festival Director who is an Arts and Play Development Officer (ADO) at WFDC. Kidderminster Arts Festival,
although initiated by a previous officer KAF has been led to its current scale by Loz Samuels who is solely responsible for the production and delivery
of the Festival on all levels. She is supported by limited additional staff resources. This is a high risk situation. The Festival is currently spread over 13
intense days which leaves it very vulnerable to absence due to illness, exhaustion or accident. The Festival has an impact on other work post the
event due to the huge amount of additional hours built up over the event.
It also means that should the current ADO leave or the post become redundant in the future the Festival is likely to disappear all together as it would
be difficult to recruit a person with a range of skills to enable delivery in the current format.
KAF is administered in a transparent, accessible way which means another officer should be able understand the needs of the event quickly though
due to the scale of the event and the complexity of the partnerships this would be a challenge should it be required during the event. Thus, this risk
should be considered seriously.
KAF is currently at the limit of its resources, if it has not already exceeded them. There is very limited work undertaken year round on the
development of KAF which makes it is difficult to grow the Festival the available funding and the associated resources required to support this
growth. Through the work plan of the ADO, many annual projects are being steered to link in with the Festival to enable a more measured approach
to developing activities for KAF. However, for KAF to reach its full potential and for continued safe delivery, there needs to be more dedicated time
This lack of dedicated time has a huge impact on the funds available to KAF. There is insufficient time to devote to fundraising. There is funding
potentially available but time needs to be dedicated to applying for it and completing the associated administration.
Inability to develop local engagement and partnerships as much as possible is also related to lack of capacity; relationships and plans need to be
nurtured long before the event takes place and events delivered by partners also need some management support.
Depending on partners for event delivery has proved risky in the past as there is no financial commitment from them. It is therefore easy for partners
to pull out at the last minute, generating an enormous level of work informing audiences or ticket holders and impacting on the immediate Festival
delivery. Partners or volunteers who do commit to the Festival can feel undervalued or under-utilised due to lack of capacity to manage them and
give them appropriate incentives. A mechanism needs to be developed to improve the commitment of partners and their likelihood to complete
delivery and continue to invest in the Festival in future years.
The Festival needs to step up its marketing, advocacy and profile within the Council as well as outside. Internal departments do not have a broad
enough understanding of the event which can sometimes create obstacles to its delivery rather than assisting it.
Councillors without a cultural remit historically don’t attended Festival events due to the pressures of their work loads and lack of understanding of
how KAF delivers to cross cutting agendas which may be relevant to them. The work to break down these misconceptions or underestimation of KAF
needs a long-term investment on a various levels.
Budgetary Cuts
This is a long-term issue for the arts in general and can never be ruled out in current environment; however, KAF is highly valued by WFDC though
arts are not a statutory service and inevitably it will be vulnerable to cutbacks as options to economise run out. Currently, the Festival is entirely
dependant on WFDC as it meets all core budget and staffing costs. Most of the programme is funded either in kind or externally.
If WFDC does not increase internal capacity to support the Festival, it will become essential to fund external production staff for the direct delivery of
the Festival. Its current size and continued growth means it has become unrealistic and high risk for the Festival to be managed with only one
member of staff. Funding has been secured to alleviate this problem for 2013 but no further.
The Festival is also reliant on external funding and cannot guarantee this will always be available on a scale that will match the Festivals potential
needs. An exit strategy needs to be developed in the future as to how KAF could survive if the worst were to happen and WFDC decided it could no
longer financially support the event, or worse it could give no officer time to raise funds and deliver the event.
Loss of WFDC Core Funding
Currently, there is no local group that would be able to take on the management of KAF if WFDC pulled its core support. The likely scenario in this
situation is that the Festival would fold. KAF Creatives are looking at how they could develop as an organisation to be able to possibly take over the
event in the future but that is some time away. They would need external support to make this a possibility.
This is always a problem for outdoor events, but the distribution of indoor and outdoor work ensures KAF is able to deliver a good proportion of its
programme no matter what the weather is doing. As long as the balance remains, there will never be a total washout. All outdoor events are free for
the audience so losing them does not impact on income targets. WFDC insurance
does not cover outdoor events in terms of cancellation there is no change anticipated
so larger scale events with increased investment remain a risk if ticketed.
Programme Development
As audiences become accustomed to and demanding of more ambitious
programmes, these become increasingly difficult to deliver. Longer term
development and engagement are needed which requires longer term funding.
Continuing at the current rate of growth, KAF will soon be looking at projects that
take 2-3 years to implement. In the current climate, it is hard to find funding for this
length of project although it would be the greatest investment the Festival could
make with respect to its engagement with its communities and its programme.
Due to lack of funding and the capacity to raise it, the Festival Director is unable to
visit other Festivals and events to explore programming possibilities. It also prevents
vital networking opportunities to generate partnerships with other events and
organisations that might become Festival partners. There is therefore a substantial
risk of the Festival becoming stale. This lack of reflection and research time could
become an issue for the Festival in the future especially if the Arts and Play
Development Officer changes to someone with less ability to curate such an event
and has a different skill set.
Dom ‘Deeds’ Dunlea stencils a tribute to Rowland Hill in
temporary paint – the catalyst for Subway Deluxe KAF09
Audiences, Marketing and Promotion
Communicating with audiences through conventional marketing mechanisms in the Wyre Forest is difficult. Audiences tend to overlook local events
as historically there has been a very limited local cultural offer particularly poor in Kidderminster, changing this perception is a challenge. Ensuring
audiences are aware of Festival events is a constant struggle but over time is improving.
Challenging perceptions of what Kidderminster has to offer culturally is a major hurdle. It affects the ability of the Festival to attract companies or
promoters to do door splits because of the risk of low ticket sales.
WFDC Media and Communications team can offer limited support due to their own capacity issues, this mainly consists of the circulation of press
releases and the uploading of information on our website, but nothing more targeted. Anything additional to this is the responsibility of the Festival
team. The local press have improved their coverage over the last two years and are becoming communicative though cannot offer any further
support to their existing offer.
KAF cannot be promoted further without increased investment to facilitate commercial advertising. The Festival currently relies on free editorial,
leaflet distribution, social networking and the use of online facilities to promote the event.
KAF receives substantial marketing support from its partners and the use of partner venues for ticket outlets will be explored in 2013.
Accessing information and purchasing tickets through WFDC channels is not the easiest process for our audiences. Face to face ticket purchases are
currently limited to the opening hours of the Councils hub, which is a one-stop shop in the town for all Council services; and there are often long
queues once in. The Council website is difficult to navigate and people feel it is hard to find information, there has been negative feedback from
audiences about our ticket accessibility, and the Council lacks the resources to greatly improve the situation.
On-line booking systems were only introduced in the last couple of years and have been slow to take off though are proving successful.
WFDC has however had a series of issues with the system and receives complaints about its efficiency and ease of use. The system is only part
automated and still requires the Festival team to post out tickets manually and overcome glitches in the system.
Advertising needs to be increased both in quantity, quality and coverage. Worcestershire Arts Marketing can facilitate elements of this at an
acceptable cost. Working with partners such as colleges, hotels and museums will further improve reach. A different approach is required with
respect to print will be adopted with a change in emphasis from brochures to flyers to reduce costs with wider distribution and increase the reach.
Physical Space
Finding a program that works with the town’s limited outdoor space and its
poorly equipped indoor space is challenging. The main venue is the Town Hall
which has a reputation for a sprinkling of traditional cultural offerings. It has no
staffed reception for information sharing. Welcoming audiences and making sure
information is on the street outside the venue to invite them in is the
responsibility of the Festival team.
Some investment has been made into the Town Hall in recent years but it still
lacks lighting/sound equipment, has poor storage and changing facilities, comes
at a cost, has accessibility issues and a lack of infrastructure and parking which
combine to make our main indoor venue an uncomfortable bed fellow for both
artists and audiences.
This information came as feedback after an initial application for funding in 2011:
 Lack of investment by Council - ACE called for more financial investment from
Wyre Forest DC; this has been increased for 2012 & 2013 but no longer term
commitment so far.
 Lack of long term strategic plan - this is being addressed by a 3 year business
plan 2012
 Lack of local buy-in and partners - this is being addressed by increased
interest by a number of new local partners and increased investment by
existing partners. There is ongoing work to engage with retailers and other
potential partners.
Bernard’s Puppet Bonanza – Pickled Image KAF10
In addition to a growth in partners, increased audience buy-in and positive development of the Festival (all described above), there are other
opportunities that could benefit the Festival:
A new town square is a possibility with 2 potential sites being explored. The timescale is unknown due to dependency of external funding. This
could offer a fantastic programming opportunity for KAF. The relationship with the ReWyre Initiative means that the space would be developed
with the Festival making it feasible to purposely include built-in elements to the space that would facilitate the space being used for public
The Wyre Forest and wider region have large untapped audiences for the Festival to engage with as KAF becomes better known. The Festival has
a unique offer in the County and wider area. Being the only contemporary mixed platform arts Festival outside Birmingham in the West Midlands.
KAF’s existing audiences are loyal, keen for more and give very positive feedback which indicates strong evidence of demand
There are new marketing opportunities through effective use of social
networking; KAF’s growing partnerships increase its viral reach.
The Festival is experiencing increased support from local media
Many organisations are now wanting to participate and contribute to the
Festival with new partners moving into the town eager to be involved
The Festival has become a stable fixture on the town’s cultural calendar of
events bringing with it loyal and supportive audiences and an awareness
amongst organisations wanting to get involved in its delivery.
There is increased regional profile and interest in KAF which needs to be
There are potential resources within the Council such as parking
concessions, and joint working and funding opportunities that could
benefit the Festival
Untapped County wide resources with the potential to co-commission,
promote or create mini-tours. Discussions are being had with other local
venues and festivals through the Worcestershire Arts Partnership and
Musical Ruth entertains shoppers KAF08
The tenth anniversary for KAF is a major landmark. It will witness a Festival with an increased range of partners including a group of independent
artists who feel a sense of ownership and are truly integrated with the Festival. Larger funding applications will be submitted to support the
increasingly ambitious programme in terms of scope, scale and volume.
The 10th anniversary will be the start of a new era for the event as it becomes bigger, bolder and brighter all subject to funding. The larger
programme of locally inspired work will be a rallying call to both local people and WFDC to get behind it and make it something for the area to be
really proud of.
An exciting programme is taking shape alongside this business plan. The Festival has secured more WFDC matched funding than in any previous year
and is set to create a unique newly commissioned environment in the Town Hall that will be the platform for the rest of the programme. This will
celebrate the heritage of the town and its carpet industry in a new contemporary way.
Local artists P.L.A.N.E.T will create a carpet inspired forest created from industry waste and based on flora and fauna from traditional carpet designs.
KAF has also created a partnership with local and last remaining (in Kidderminster) carpet manufacturer Brinton’s who will supply materials. . This
project will be accompanied by workshops throughout the year to help create the environment with local people. It will be linked with the work of
the new Museum of Carpet and the Worcestershire Resource Exchange.
The project is likely to spill out onto the street where a huge carpet square is to be created to help the public visualise how this area may feel as an
open traffic free public space. The ReWyre team will use this as an opportunity to conduct further consultation in the public realm to support their
master plan. This project is currently being scoped to establish its viability.
KAF will programme shows within a glade inside the forest such as Pickled Images’ FIRESIDE TAILS with Granddad and Wolf tales. It would also be the
perfect environment for animation workshops. KAF is seeking to commission a specially composed soundtrack which would also be designed to
highlight environmental issues.
KAF13 will be both a showcase of the past and a stepping stone to a clearly determined future.
The overarching vision for KAF is: for Kidderminster to have a sustainable cultural event producing and programming high
quality work that will engage the public across the County.
Aim #1 To develop a sustainable cultural event for Kidderminster
Increase profile of Festival in
Festival becomes permanent
Kidderminster’s cultural
feature in cultural calendar
Local support for Festival that
SMART measures
Festival is in healthy state in 2015
ensures long-term survival
Advocate the importance of KAF to
partners, stakeholders (particularly
WFDC staff and Councillors) and the
general public
Improved planning time due to
earlier engagement with
Continue to encourage and promote
attendance within WFDC through
good internal communications
KAF is specifically mentioned in 1
local development plan
Increased number of local and
regional visitors
Increase media coverage of the
Improved opportunities for
programming through
Promote KAF to regional strategic
partners and neighbouring local
authorities and independent Festivals.
Conduct an in-depth evaluation with
economic impact study in 2014 to
assess changing impact of the Festival
KAF has official recognition as
important contributor to town by
50% increase of media coverage
by 2015
Increase management capacity
of core team delivering the
Increased sustainability of
Increase involvement by local
partners in direct delivery
Decreased reliance on WFDC
staff for event delivery (and
therefore delivery risk)
Explore increased support from WFDC
or another partner organisation to
contribute towards management
Core delivery team doubled by
Explore possibility of hiring temporary
Production Manager
Explore upgraded volunteer
Increase management capacity
of partner organisations to
deliver own programmes
Increase audiences
Increased sustainability of
Decreased reliance on WFDC
staff for event delivery (and
therefore delivery risk)
Explore means of increasing partner
capacity for delivering their own
activities and events
Partner organisations become
100% self-managing of their own
activities by 2014
Increased income from
Improve marketing and promotion of
audiences = increased long-term KAF including better utilisation of
financial sustainability
social media
Increased local ownership of
and involvement in the Festival
Increased number of venues
participating in KAF
60% of KAF programme
independently programmed by
15% increase in audiences by
70% average audience capacity at
Increase profile of KAF throughout the KAF events
year to increase overall awareness of
the Festival
Develop on-going strategic
approach to event planning
Improved quality of Festival
Increased sustainability of
Provide opportunities for Festival
Director to research future
possibilities and to reflect
New 3 year strategy for Festival in
Review current plan and upgrade on
annual basis; full review and re-write
in 2015
Develop on-going strategic
approach to continued financial
support from WFDC
Increased long-term financial
Continue advocacy work within WFDC
to ensure full understanding of KAF’s
benefits to the District.
Continued commitment of
financial support from WFDC to
KAF beyond 2015
Work closely with WFDC to ensure
WFDC priorities & objectives are met
Increase the number of
financial and strategic partners
Increased long-term financial
Identify and develop relationships
with sponsors, both current and new
Festival is in healthy financial
state in 2015
Explore possibilities of financial
support from other / new
stakeholders including funding
applications to as yet not targeted
Increase in diversity of income
sources by 2015 with 50% of
income from new sources
Explore co-commissioning as a means
of increasing financial support
Continue developing relationship with
ACE to ensure on-going support for
programming and commissioning
Create a plan of action should
WFDC funding be withdrawn
Increased long-term financial
Create an exit plan by 2014 that
explores all funding scenarios
Exit plan in place by 2014
Decreased reliance on WFDC
Increase local engagement
see below: increase in local ownership and involvement is a key element contributing to long-term
sustainability – this is both an aim and an objective
Aim #2 To increase local ownership and involvement
Increase opportunities for local
More local creation of content for
artists to develop their practice
Festival – both commissioned and
and showcase their work at KAF
independent programming
Create creative opportunities for
local involvement in the Festival
Offer support for emerging artists
Increased local capacity for
creating work
Promote these opportunities
widely and clearly
Increased local ownership
Encourage collaboration by
linking artists together to apply in
the future.
Undertake a mapping exercise of
artists, collaborators, partners
particularly to identify young,
emerging artists creating
contemporary work that will
carve a new and relevant cultural
identity for the town
SMART measures
6 artists showcasing new or
recently created work up to and
including KAF 2015
Identify and develop local partner
as long-term driver of Festival
Increase the number of (noncreative) local partners
Increased local ownership
Increased delivery team for
Festival reducing risk to Festival
Increased resources available to
the festival
Increased local ownership
Continue developing the capacity
and commitment of KAF Creatives
with respect to event delivery and
25% of Festival delivery being
independently undertaken by KAF
Creatives by 2015
Continue to promote
opportunities for involvement by
local partners
10 active local partners by 2015
Joint programming board or
steering group in place
Continue networking to identify
potential partners
Increase proportion and number
of events within Festival which
are self-managed by independent
Increased local ownership
Increase year-round participation
by local groups
Increased sense of ownership
Increased local engagement
Increased programming of
independent activities
Increased audiences
Continue identifying and
supporting new partners able to
deliver independent activities
within the Festival
60% of KAF programme
independently programmed by
Explore opportunities for yearround participatory activity
including by partners
10 weeks of year-round activity
that can be related to KAF by
Tie in increased proportion of
ADO’s annual work to the Festival
Aim #3 To present ambitious, high-quality work that is accessible for audiences
Increase investment in
More high-quality work programmed Increase time spent on fund-raising
programming and / or local
at KAF
Long-term funding strategy that
creation of work
Creation of ambitious, large-scale,
explores options to support new work
work with high percentage of local
Build a reputation for
showcasing new work both
with emerging and established
Supportive relationships with artists
and an opportunity to influence the
scale of new work.
Maintain relationships with artists and
ensure the ethos of the Festival is
Opportunities to be involved in
Widely network locally and regionally
for emerging artists.
SMART measures
One high quality production
presented annually
One major project to have
been created and presented
by 2015
Five co-commissioned
and/or co-programmed
works by 2015
A varied and fresh program.
Opportunities for local artists to see
new developing work.
Increase engagement with
regional Festival and venue
partners interested in cocommissioning and
More high-quality work programmed
at KAF
Promote KAF to regional strategic
partners and neighbouring local
authorities and independent Festivals.
Five co-commissioned
and/or co-programmed
works by 2015
Develop and invest in relationships
with programming partners.
Festival Director to attend networking
events to identify new programming
Increase opportunities for
Festival Director to see high
quality work
Better quality work programmed at
Festival Director to attend 2-3 festivals
per year
Two nationally regarded
presentations included in the
programme by 2015
Aim #4 To change the perception of the town internally and externally
Attract more people into town
Town centre becomes more
centre through cultural
attractive to visitors and
programming and activity
Improve the evening economy by
increased cultural offer
Improve the gateways to the
town centre through public realm
Work with closely with the
ReWyre Initiative on joint
Increased footfall associated with
cultural programming
Explore other options for
engagement with regeneration
agendas and funding
Town centre becomes more
attractive to visitors
Develop programming that takes
place in the evening
Increased footfall associated with
cultural programming
Build on the success of BLOOM
and create a project similar in
scope and ambition that takes
place at night
Town centre becomes more
attractive to visitors and
Lobby for continued investment
in projects such as Subway Deluxe
SMART measures
50% increase of visitors coming
into city centre to experience
cultural events
One event at KAF that attracts an
evening audience of 500 or more
by 2015
Two more projects by 2015 that
take place in gateways