Festival of Chichester eyes up summer possibilities with major IT upgrade

The Festival of Chichester is planning confidently for the future with a major IT investment – thanks to generous grant support from Chichester District Council.

Simon O’Hea
Simon O’Hea

CDC is giving the festival a grant of £1,600 towards the cost of a new website and a new vastly-improved event registration system.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “This is brilliant news for the festival in such an uncertain year – and we are hugely grateful to the district council for recognising the importance of what we do, not just in Chichester but in the wider district. The new systems have been masterminded by our committee member Simon O’Hea who has done a wonderful job in envisaging just how much more efficient we really ought to be… and are now going to be!”

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The website will launched at the end of February.

Simon explained: “The website incorporates an online entry system, the purpose of which is to enable festival organisers to communicate their requirements easily and clearly. They are led through the process by a series of intuitive menus. The data they supply are reviewed and moderated by the festival coordinator before being used to create the brochure, posters and website and social media entries, without the need for cumbersome double entry of data. So, an added benefit is to reduce the administrative challenge of processing more than 200 festival entries each year.

“The process also facilitates email communications between the festival committee, people organising events and the general public interested in knowing what is going on. There’s a sign-up button to receive email updates from a revitalised news area. At the same time, we’ve decided to improve the appearance and functionality of the festival website. The new site features a modern design, improved functionality and easy access to essential information. It’s going to be much easier for people to find out about events that interest them, and visitors to the Chichester area will be able to find out more about things to do in the area, thanks to input from Visit Chichester / The Great Sussex Way. Come back to festivalofchichester.co.uk from March 1.”

In the meantime, the festival is planning to do all that it possibly can this summer, within whatever restrictions prevail.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith explains: “We are still looking forward to the 2021 Festival of Chichester between June 12 to July 11 and hoping to be able to return to a lively, eclectic programme of arts events. However, because of the current circumstances, the festival committee feels that we need to again delay our festival entry window from February to March.”

The aim at the moment is that event registration will open on Monday, March 1 and close on Wednesday, March 31: “As previously advised, all entries will need to be submitted via a new registration form on our website. You have the usual guidance and information to help you complete your application. If all progresses to plan, the box office at The Novium will open for ticket sales on Saturday, May 1.

“If the national situation means we won’t be able to progress to a full live festival in 2021, we’ll be planning for a new kind of online festival, perhaps also including some open-air events or socially distanced gatherings, depending on the rules applicable at the time.”