Big shout out to the gentlemen at The Beaver Podcast for featuring our Festival Chair Kali Weber on an episode. Kali is featured in the first 20 minutes of episode 16.
Please be advised, that although our featured episode #16 running time of 20 minutes is clean, we do recommend parental advisory for profanity and adult topics for further content and other episodes available through The Beaver Podcast.
Alexis Christensen is in charge of raising money for our festival. She was recently contacted to have her brain picked on what makes for a successful sponsorship plan. Without money festivals don’t happen as they should. It’s up to Alexis to put her plan into action and make things happen.
Over the four years since its inception, our NBstreetfest family has been organized by a small volunteer committee of six people. This year is no different. Through this core group, motivated by a firm belief in the festival’s potential and importance, every year members of the committee reach out to businesses and organizations to support making this positive event a reality.
“I think it is important to make a plan,” says Alexis. In order to make this plan, she asks herself two main questions: what is it that you need and what are the ways to get there? According to Alexis, sending out sponsorship letter requests and following up is a good start, but reaching out to people over the phone or in person really goes a long way.
“In order for sponsors to come back, or to be a first timer, you need to ensure they feel good about working with you,” says Alexis. She believes honesty and integrity go a long way. It’s important for her when she’s describing benefits of getting involved, to lay out the strong plan for recognizing sponsors from every level, and makes sure to follow through on sponsorship commitments. She believes this is key. Alexis knows businesses are steadily being asked for money and so looking for gifts-in-kind donations is another great idea allowing cash strapped organizations to become a part of the festival by helping out.
When asked how she stays motivated, Alexis describes a constant desire to want to contribute to the community in a positive way. She firmly believes that taking action is a fulfilling way to become a contributor to positive change and growth. She loves seeing the festival grow each year, and furthermore is inspired at a deeper level seeing the diversity of the community coming together in laughter and fun.
Having a community event organized by a small volunteer committee of only six people means a lot of work for those involved, all of which have full time day jobs. It's helpful when community builders, those that continually sponsor events, come back year after year to help out. It means a lot to the committee.
“Now that we are going into our fourth year, I notice more sponsors becoming involved,” says Alexis. According to her, they can see that the festival, and the small group of volunteers, are committed and constantly working hard on an event that is good for the community.
To gain sponsorship, Alexis may have to help answer the question sponsors might be thinking: what’s in it for me? Alexis assures sponsors they are helping to provide the festival experience to their community, they help bring world class performers to the Battlefords, provide a place for families and tourists to congregate downtown, and most importantly are inspiring change.
To go along with the festival’s theme, this year the committee spiced up sponsorship levels by giving them themed names to match the festival’s personality: The Big Act, The Contortionist, The Magician, The Juggler, and Friend of the NB Street Fest. As a sponsor, your marketing material is shared with thousands of people from the Battlefords, and surrounding communities in Saskatchewan.
“We do this through all our media outlets, in all our print materials, and on our website,” says Alexis.
Depending on your level of support, benefits include: front page listing on day-of-event program, primary and secondary street signage/advertising, recognition in event announcements in local print, social and broadcast media, web and social media presence, primary signage day of event, tickets to Premiere Night, logo on festival banner, and logo placement in day-of-event program.
Not only do we appreciate the wide variety of performers that populate our festival, we are also excited every year to see the vendors. These vendors are an integral part of the atmosphere.
In the first year, it was the goal of the organizing committee to have 16 vendors in total. This included the prospect of eight food vendors and eight artisans. The inaugural year ended up having a grand total of 19 vendors. This was a complete triumph.
Over the years, the continual growth of the festival and of the amount of vendors remains an important part of the fun and excitement for Organizing Committee Chair Kali Weber.
“In the second year we had 21, last year we had 29,” she said. Kali is assured that maintaining a variety of booths every year allows for almost anyone to become a part of the experience.
“We want vendors that are unique, that offer something special, that will keep festival patrons returning for something new each time,” she said. This open policy for vendor invitation includes a call out to Artisans, Interactive Vendors, and Food Vendors.
Anyone who has been to the festival site in the past three years knows how much vendor participation, just being there, enriches the festival experience. This is because we believe patrons come not only for the amazing shows, but they also visit for delicious food, to buy something unique, or to get a caricature or air brush tattoo.
“Vendors help create the vibe of the festival and are part of the reason patrons keep returning multiple times throughout the weekend,” she said.
Not only do we benefit from the vendors participation, but vendors are also benefited by becoming a part of the festival. They are able to expand their market and interact with other vendors for networking. Plus, the festival is a great opportunity to build and expand their customer base.
With an anticipated 8,000 festival patrons expected over the course of the weekend, vendors have the opportunity to earn a great return on their investment, in terms of making a substantial income over the weekend.
“It has always been important that every vendor chosen is an artist, or entrepreneur,” said Kali. “Although home-based businesses have their own place in our community, that isn’t what we are looking for at our festival. We want vendors who are working hard to create their own brand. We like home grown, handmade, and with a lot of heart.”
Kali works hard in her search to integrate existing and new vendors every year. She makes contact with previous vendors first and allows them to apply without adjudication. Then, she reaches out through social media and other avenues like Buy and Sell, Battlefords Now, and Kijiji. She hands out her business card as much as possible and if she’s at different events will approach great vendors to include them in the fun and exciting festival experience.
It’s the sponsors and the people that make it happen. It’s the vendors, the performers, the visitors, and the volunteers.
Through the business community, the festival continues to grow every year.
So, be the change you want to see in the world. It happens with dedication, determination and positivity. In just three years, this festival has won the best community event award from Tourism Saskatchewan. It brings performers from around the world for the only international street performer festival in the province.
“The sponsors are the driving force behind it all,” said Alexis Christensen. Christensen sits on the festival’s organizing committee and is in charge of sponsorships. She said the biggest incentive for sitting on the committee is the people that attend the festival. Members of all ages and backgrounds come together for a free weekend of laughter, fun, great food and entertainment. Our sponsors put faith into this commitment and together we make it happen.
“NB street festival brings new ideas and a new attitude to North Battleford,” said Kent Lindgren, organizing committee member in charge of volunteers, and is also a city councillor. The community coming together, with thousands of people attending, to have a good time in downtown North Battleford, is really amazing, said Lindgren. A festival of this kind creates connection amongst the community, helps people see ourselves as more than our challenges, and invites us to be surrounded by a fun loving group of people creating a positive event.
This event provides art directly in the community, and does it all in a fun and energetic way.
“Being on this committee means contributing to the festival’s continual growth and vibrancy,” said organizing committee chair Kali Weber. Weber asserted the festival is completely unique, creates a sense of community by volunteerism, and brings people together for an arts and cultural experience. The festival offers a unique experience where live performance moves outside of its traditional enclosures, outside of the theatre or hall, to make the whole street a stage. Weber loves to see art available to all people, where the artist and the audience merge into an exciting and free-moving adventure.
“Seeing people return for multiple days brings me great joy,” said Maggi Wilkinson, organizing committee member in charge of the Launch Event and Gala. To her, the festival is very special. She loves seeing the smiles on the faces of people in the crowds. When it comes to support, she knows that without sponsorship the event would not occur.
“It’s so hard to put into words how much we appreciate each and every sponsor we get,” said Wilkinson.
In its fourth year, the festival continues to brim with potential. Awareness of the event broadens and business continues to support this wonderful cause. Everyone on the organizing committee agrees wholeheartedly, it is the people that make this event what it is. It is the sponsors, the volunteers, the vendors, the performers, and you. It’s you in the crowd that makes it all happen, that makes it all worthwhile.
So, be the change you want to see in the world. Join us for an amazing free weekend of excitement and escapade. We look forward to seeing you here, July 28th, 29th, and 30th for the 4th annual NB International Street Performer Festival.