Festival of Chichester open for entries for summer celebration
Entries are now open for this year’s Festival of Chichester – via the festival’s new website, all part of FoC’s major IT upgrade.
It represents a new era for the festival – and a great way to come back from all the disappointments of last year.
As festival chairman Phil Hewitt explains: “In previous years, our indomitable festival co-ordinator Barry Smith and I would effectively create the programme from a couple of hundred entry forms, batting between them us until we turned cross-eyed. It worked, but it was enormously time-consuming. We are thrilled that this year entry will be through our brand-new website, itself a triumph for our committee member Simon O’Hea who has brilliantly overseen its development and implementation.
“We remain hugely grateful to Chichester District Council who awarded us funding towards the cost of our IT improvements – especially as we really feel they have come at absolutely the right time for us in our development as a festival.
“It is a massive step forward, one we took at a time of massive uncertainty during the various lockdowns. But it has been absolutely the right step to take. Simon’s work has been superb. It now puts us in a terrific position as the world starts to open up again at last.
“As ever, we are deeply grateful to our festival patron Dame Patricia Routledge for her generous encouragement.
“We now invite you to submit your entries!”
Barry added: “We are looking forward to the 2021 Festival of Chichester, which will run between June 12 and July 11, hoping to be able to return to a lively, eclectic programme of arts events supplemented by outdoor and online events. We hope that you will be able to join us as we put together a special festival for special times, one to lift the spirits, celebrate the arts and bring people together again.
“We are keeping things flexible so that event organisers can judge the point when they feel confident enough to submit an event, so the entry window will stay open during March and April. The aim is to have a box office launch for tickets sales on May 1. Please remember, it takes time for the box office to set up ticket sales, so late entrants are unlikely to be processed ready for the ticket launch. If possible, we advise you to operate an unreserved seating policy so you can have maximum flexibility. Fixed seating plans will pose problems if numbers have to be altered.
“For 2021, we are introducing a new online entry system designed to streamline the process. To enter, log onto our new website at https://festivalofchichester.co.uk
and follow the guidance to help you complete your entry.”
“We will let you know when your proposed event has been moderated and accepted into the programme. We are particularly keen to avoid any clashes of similar events being put on at the same time. If a clash occurs, we will discuss with you how best to reschedule the programme to avoid this happening.
“We will monitor how any restrictions over Covid-19 might affect the festival. All event organisers must take full responsibility to follow any government guidance in place at the time. If the national situation means we won’t be able to progress to a full live festival in 2021, we’ll be planning a new kind of mixed festival, perhaps also including some open-air events or socially distanced gatherings and virtual events, depending on the rules applicable at the time.
“As far as we can tell at the moment, there is a possibility that early events may have to be socially distanced but, if all goes to plan with the government roadmap, more normal conditions should operate for the last three weeks and hopefully throughout the festival.
“So, from Monday, June 21 onwards, it is hoped no restrictions will apply. When you complete your box office contract, which should be submitted to the Novium and not to the festival, as is explained in the submission process, we suggest you initially place on sale the number of tickets that are possible for your venue to accommodate under socially distanced rules. You can increase this number later by getting in touch with Chichester Box Office at the Novium when it is clear it is safe to do so. By the way, we have created web pages for many of the venues available to you, at https://festivalofchichester.co.uk/venue.”