Festivals are not just celebrations: they are celebrations that bring people together. So successful festivals of any kind—science festival or not—must involve a significant fraction of their community.
For science festivals looking to serve an entire major metropolitan region, that can mean scores of events, hundreds of collaborators, and total attendance numbers in the tens of thousands. This can be a daunting task, but it is almost always achieved with six- or even seven-figure budgets, and paid, full-time staff.
On the other hand, smaller scale science festivals can still be a success, especially when operating in smaller markets, in areas with relatively few science resources, or with a mission focused on specific neighborhoods within larger regions. Smaller science festivals may not need to hit the same attendance numbers, but without staff, forgiving budgets, and the capacity to blanket a region in activity, they face unique challenges of their own.
What should be considered the bar for success with a smaller scale festival? What should a smaller science festival with limited resources choose to spend money on? What priorities should be emphasized in year one? In year five?
Science Festival Alliance (SFA) members have shown that smaller science festivals can be an enormous success, whether they grow year-over-year or maintain a sustainable, smaller-scale momentum. Over the years, the SFA has worked with smaller and midsize festivals to get them to contribute planning documents and other production materials to sciencefestivals.org. Some of these resources are compiled here: please contact us if you are ready to add more.
An example of the timeline for when certain tasks related to festival production should be completed. Things to consider in this process: press releas...