LA Zine Fest recently announced they will be moving to sliding scale exhibitor fee system, backed by crowdfunding. This makes an already great and affordable show even better:
Why this is important:
Acknowledging the fact that all exhibitors are not the same in terms of their financial security is a good step toward combating uncritical depictions of these events that puts everyone on equal footing. If we’re to have have a future where festivals are fair and accessible for their exhibitors, we have to begin by identifying and taking down the barriers that both privilege and exclude. Recognizing that for some, these fees are a costly gamble, while for others, they represent no struggle at all, seems like a small and obvious concession. But it’s one that can frequently be elided in how festivals are marketed, discussed, and received.
By likewise exploring crowdfunding as an alternative to arrangements where artists bear the brunt of a festival’s costs, LA Zine Fest’s organizers have shown a sincere and measured understanding of their community’s willingness to share burdens. While many events emphasize the value of free admission to the public, this can often be done at the expense of obscuring how festivals are financed and to whom they assign their costs. Crowdfunding campaigns that outline what festivals need and how these resources will be spent, instead provide an opportunity for all parties to contribute in ways that are transparent, informed, and more equitable.
We applaud the LA Zine fest in their efforts to make their festival more accessible and sustainable and hope others will follow their example!