See ya later – ‘Noted’ takes a sabbatical

A session at ‘Noted’

SAD news is to hand that the Noted Writers Festival has decided not to run a festival in 2018 – but they’ll be back in 2019.

After an action-packed event in May this year, and collectively, a track record of work by more than 235 local, national and international artists across more than 150 free events, attended by more than 5000 people, the organisation find it needs to be “more financially sustainable”.

Thought up in 2014 by a collective of local artists who believed that our city deserved its own literary festival [Canberra had been without one for five years and the well-funded Canberra Writers’ Festival had not begun] the purpose of Noted was to build a festival with and for anyone who loves to write.

With a non-existent budget and financial help from friends like the “You Are Here” festival, the ACT Writers Centre and the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, they ran a crowd-funding campaign and were given space by Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, which then became their auspicing body, major venue partner and “all-round cheer squad”.

In 2015, they say, they ran the inaugural festival on a budget of less than $4500, swelling in 2016 to $26,000 and then, in 2017, to $38,800. New friends came on board in the form of the National Library of Australia, The Stella Prize, YHA Canberra City, The AIDS Acton Council of the ACT, and Libraries ACT.

Each year more than half of the budget was spent on artist fees and they gave their volunteer production team members a small cash contribution via artsACT project funding.

But one-off funding has left them exhausted and the late announcement of 2017 artsACT project funding meant they had to outlay their own cash to hire a production team and book artists without knowing they could go ahead.

Now the plan is to look at alternative revenue sources and cost-sharing programming models beyond government funding.

“If you’ve got ideas for us, please let us know,” the team says. “It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later.”

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