Festivals provide a real opportunity for pubs

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Money making: Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society participant support officer Matt Lord outlined how pubs can capitalise on local festivals
Money making: Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society participant support officer Matt Lord outlined how pubs can capitalise on local festivals

Related tags: Fringe theatre

Festivals could prove a lucrative money-making opportunity for pubs, increasing footfall and takings alike.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society participant support officer Matt Lord advised delegates at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 business club meeting in Edinburgh today (14 September), that festivals should form part of a pub’s arsenal of money-making ploys.

The Fringe festival includes more than 3,000 shows across 300 venues, a third of which were held in pubs and bars this year.

Lord outlined how the performances during the festival could be held in a plethora of different venues.

Tricky venues

All about Edinburgh Fringe:

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival aims to be an open access festival that accommodates anyone with a desire to perform and a venue willing to host them.

No single individual or committee determines who can or cannot perform at the Fringe.

He said: “Venues in the past have included a swimming pool, on top of Arthur’s Seat (a mountain peak in Edinburgh), cars, living rooms and in people’s homes.

“But a lot of the venues are pubs and bars. However, most of the venues are not year-round theatre sites and this can be tricky.”

Lord also highlighted a case study from a bar that took part in the festival for the first time this year.

Top tips to get involved in a festival:

  • Do your research
  • Start small
  • Manage expectations in terms of what you can do and what you are expecting to happen
  • Expect the unexpected, you’re not going to know what’s going to happen if you’ve never done it before
  • Be there for the performers at your venue – they are in your space and having a good relationship with them is crucial

He said: “The bar saw an increase in takings of 50% compared to the equivalent period last year.

“There was also a notable rise in footfall, which could be put down to tourists seeing the advertising around the venue being involved in the Fringe.

“The bar also had return trade from customers that, if it wasn’t for the festival, wouldn’t have been in the bar.”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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