Festival Workers Association

Principles

Festivals need to open their books.

Artists and their publishers shouldn't be asked to pay thousands in fees or have money solicited in their names without there being 100% transparency in accounting. All revenue, expenditures, and payments/gifts in kind made to staff, special guests, or outside persons and organizations should be publicly disclosed.

Artists need a say in festivals.

No matter how-well intentioned, those who manage these events are not sufficient proxies for the needs and concerns of those whose labor makes them possible. Artists should have their own independent, democratically-elected representation included in the planning and execution of festivals.

Festivals need to make honest and measurable commitments to understanding and reducing costs for all exhibitors.

Too much of their initial financing and too much of the risk associated with their performance is being placed on the backs of artists and their publishers. Festivals need to first devote themselves to improving the material standing of all of their exhibitors before growing themselves in ways that result in higher costs or subsidize the few at the expense of the many.

If someone is getting paid, everyone is getting paid.

If a festival is providing compensation or gifts in kind to its staff, special guests, or others, everyone else should be compensated for their participation in readings, instructional sessions, or similar festival-related activities.

Festivals need formal commitments to diversity and inclusion, including favoring broad, need-based support over hierarchical or individual celebrations.

Dispossession on the basis of things like racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia is a systemic problem. It must be countered systematically with means that improve the standing of all members of these communities, not just for the most visible or well-established.