Lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val en­sures script is never the same

Rachel Feld­berg, the Di­rec­tor of Ilk­ley Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val.

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS -

Work­ing for the fes­ti­val means no two days are the same and I never know what’s com­ing when I switch on my lap­top in the morn­ing.

It starts at home in Ot­ley at 8am clear­ing emails.

They are al­ways var­ied and can range from an au­thor telling me about a new book to one of our young writer’s group or­gan­is­ers with a great idea to the Arts Coun­cil call­ing a meet­ing on pol­icy changes.

I spend a cou­ple of un­in­ter­rupted hours sort­ing emails and ad­min at home and then travel to the Fes­ti­val of­fice in Ilk­ley.

I eat break­fast at my desk in the morn­ing and then work through un­til around 2pm when I grab a sand­wich.

My day is al­ways an in­ter­est­ing mix of artis­tic and man­age­rial. What many peo­ple for­get is the fes­ti­val is a busi­ness, so along­side speak­ing to au­thors and artists, I’m also manag­ing all the fes­ti­val staff and deal­ing with fi­nance, anal­y­sis and re­ports.

With the fes­ti­val in full swing at the mo­ment I’m keep­ing a close eye on the ticket sales for each event, and the de­tailed anal­y­sis of com­par­a­tive year- on-year sales, which gives me, Erica our as­sis­tant fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, and Alex our head of mar­ket­ing, a good over­view on how ef­fec­tive our mar­ket­ing is be­ing and what we should do next.

As the fes­ti­val re­ceives pub­lic money, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to en­sure it is spent the best way, giv­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble ac­cess to amaz­ing au­thors, artists and events.

But we can only do that if we spend ef­fec­tively and keep a tight hold on our tar­gets as we need to be able to make a rel­a­tively small amount of money go a long way.

Some of the fund­ing we re­ceive is from Arts Coun­cil Eng­land and dur­ing my day I’ll look over the fi­nan­cial spread­sheets Jody Ken­dall, our fi­nance of­fi­cer, has put to­gether, which shape the quar­terly re­port due in next week.

We also do a lot of work with young peo­ple and one project we have run­ning at the mo­ment is a re­ally ex­cit­ing piece in­volv­ing four sec­ondary schools in Leeds and Brad­ford.

Work­ing with chil­dren whose first lan­guage is not English, it in­volves creative writ­ing and dig­i­tal an­i­ma­tion.

The project is be­ing eval­u­ated aca­dem­i­cally and I’m cur­rently re­view­ing re­ports on its progress from Ali­son, our head of ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach.

My job while the fes­ti­val is run­ning is all about prob­lem solv­ing,

We do a huge amount of for­ward plan­ning so things run as smoothly as pos­si­ble but now it’s all about sort­ing out chal­lenges as they arise.

Or­gan­is­ing some­thing this di­verse means my days dur­ing the run-up to it are filled with a huge va­ri­ety of jobs.

From edit­ing speeches for the ac­tors tak­ing part in Shaun

Speeches of Note

Usher’s to train­ing our new stage man­agers, to de­cid­ing which po­ems need to hang where in this year’s fes­ti­val ex­hi­bi­tion about W.S. Gra­ham and find­ing the right light­ing for the af­ter dark read­ing of Mary


Shel­ley’s in an old manor house where we can’t use ac­tual can­dles.

For the first time at this year’s fes­ti­val we’re hav­ing cap­tions at some events for peo­ple who are hear­ing im­paired.

It’s new to us, so there has been quite a bit of li­ais­ing with the agency to make sure ev­ery­thing is in place.

That’s an­other thing I love about this job, all the new things I get to in­ves­ti­gate.

This year I‘ve been re­search­ing the right kind of head­phones for a si­lent po­etry disco, the brain­child of fes­ti­val ap­pren­tice poet-in­res­i­dence, Ian Walker.

I usu­ally work through un­til 5.30 or 6pm but dur­ing the fes­ti­val days of­ten end at 11pm.

In the evenings, if I’m not work­ing, I sing with Ilk­ley Cho­ral So­ci­ety or re­hearse with Ot­ley Cham­ber Orches­tra or get a night at the the­atre.

I’m also a bit of a night owl so if I’m strug­gling with a bud­get or a piece of edit­ing I’ll come back to it later in the evening.

When we get to the end of the fes­ti­val, I’ll be tak­ing a week off to recharge be­fore we get started on the fol­low­ing year’s event.

I love that when I go to bed, I never know what I am go­ing to face the fol­low­ing day.

That is what makes this such a fan­tas­tic and in­ter­est­ing job.

My days dur­ing the runup to it are filled with a huge va­ri­ety of jobs.

Ilk­ley Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val, which de­scribes it­self as the North’s most ex­cit­ing lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val, runs un­til Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 14.

For more de­tails visit: http://www.ilk­leylit­er­a­turefes­ti­

RACHEL FELD­BERG:My job while the fes­ti­val is run­ning is about prob­lem solv­ing,

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