When a festival’s persona is distant, cold and obtuse

Pictures and bios of your team and what you do need to be forefront for credibility. It used to be that being a faceless organization conveyed a sort of professional omnipresence and confidence – now it is just sign of a lack of confidence and vision.

This is a grass-roots annual photo festival in a city I used to live in. Only until recently did they deign to supply some information about who organizes this event.  Though I get lots of PR about it from the local galleries hosting photography shows for the festival, which is great, I never felt there was an opportunity to connect with the community behind the event, or that there is any cohesion or unifying vision – that’s what arts marketing is all about, in a way. For example, Flash Forward and Contact are excellent photo fests, and have robust organizer presence online  – these festivals are faces and names and this is how people really connect to a meaningful art event. People are the most powerful marketing tool online, not some generic brand and byline of a vague and miniature bureaucracy. It smacks of developing something with an eye to corporate sponsorship and a nifty resume, with less loyalty to the actual artists and visitors of the event.

Bonus criticisms – where is the blog? social media links? mailing list? All of these are warning signs, in my experience, of a festival that does not have a life of its own as any well run and fostered event would.

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