jjoyce wrote:A few thoughts as a music fan and attendee:
FMF is billed as a big deal with sponsors, headliners in significant venues and everything. People who pay for all of that aren't going to be crazy to hear "we're just amateurs doing this part-time" as an excuse. The Wisconsin Film Festival's success is due, in no small part, to its volunteers who are EVERYWHERE, well-trained and visible. True, going to a movie isn't like going to a club to see a band, but going to a club isn't the same as going to a festival. There should be easily-identified volunteers in t-shirts at every venue to help iron out problems and serve the customers.
Respectfully, we'd never describe ourselves as "amateurs." We do emphasize that we can't afford to do this full time, year round, because people often assume that it is a full time job (as it should be).
We had great volunteers at every venue and we heard lots of feedback as to how helpful they were.
We are extremely grateful to our sponsors (all 7 of them, all of whom are completely local)-- but we are not wholly subsidized by sponsors, to say the least (I would estimate that sponsorship makes up about one tenth of our income). We thought about providing every volunteer with a tshirt; unfortunately it was an upfront cost that we could not afford.
As far as the further comments on disorganization, as preorganized as we were we could not plan for bands getting sick at the last minute or broken equipment, setting off a domino effect that we had to deal with in the moment. Based on what we are hearing now, attendees seem to think it would have been better to cut bands out of the lineup entirely rather than delay or move shows. If we had done that, would we be fielding complaints as to why certain bands hadn't had the opportunity to play, rather than why certain bands played too late or in a different venue? Probably. It's hard to say which decision would have been more appropriate, but we've definitely learned a lot from the conversations after the fact.
And once again, thank you for the constructive criticism, it will go a long way towards helping us build on our success for next year.