St Albans Meraki Festival director launches crowdfunder for community tickets
PUBLISHED: 09:43 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 18 September 2019
The director of a St Albans family festival has taken the unusual move of asking its patrons for £60,000 through a crowdfunding website which she says will enable her to hand out 1,000 free tickets to the community.
Meraki Festival founder Kerry Marks has appealed to members of the St Albans community to help with her fundraiser, which went live on September 11.
In exchange for the money, she is offering 1,000 free tickets for her 2020 event to nominated people or families who have fallen on hard times.
She said funds raised will be used to provide infrastructure - such as activities and washing facilities - for the extra influx of people.
Kerry said: "We want to grow the festival, but at the same time make sure it is fully inclusive so it is not just for people who can afford to come, it is about everyone in our community being involved.
"This is all about managing the growth of the festival while also continuing to support everyone in the community that is requesting financial support through free tickets.
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"People who need a helping hand and people who work with our community, who are volunteers to support good causes, we are saying thank you."
Last year Meraki Festival sold around 7,000 tickets for the event at Herts County Showground, which can accommodate 32,000 people.
Over the last three years, Kerry has offered a selection of free or discounted tickets through partnerships with Home-Start Herts and Tickets for Troops, but this year she wants to expand the service.
In less than a week the fundraising campaign has raised more than £600.
One benefactor, who donated £100, said: "Think it's amazing what you are trying to achieve and hope you manage to raise enough to help families have a fab time too."
The crowdfunder comes after Kerry encountered numerous hurdles in launching an inaugural Meraki Christmas Festival last year. Planning permission went awry, a handful of residents took up arms to campaign against the event, reviews were mixed, and in the end Kerry did not rebook it for 2020. However, Meraki's summer festival successfully went ahead as planned.
Kerry said it wasn't an easy year: "The way I dealt with that was to deliver an amazing summer for everyone and put my heart and soul into Meraki this year and I think that shone through."
See the campaign at tinyurl.com/y2ng44z2