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After successfully running a £150,000 ‘save Noisily’ fundraising campaign and receiving more than £155,000 from the Cultural Recovery Fund, organisers of dance music festival Noisily (cap, 4,500), have announced plans for the 2021 edition of the event on 8-11 July in Coney Woods near Market Harborough. Access talks to the festival’s co-founder Lachie Gordon (pictured) about his plans for the event and use of the funding.

You launched a fundraiser with the aim of generating £150,000 – how successful was that and what did it involve?

It was successful in that we raised £115,000. We created a campaign with our marketing team but, to be honest, we more or less just explained that we needed to be supported in our time of need and it [the money] was rapidly donated by thousands of Noisily community members. Noisily is a community of creatives, artists, musicians and performers but we are so much more than that – we are a close-knit family who co-curate a platform for alternative art and culture to be showcased to the world and, as families do, our community stepped up to the plate.

You were also award £156,000 from the CRF – was that in line with what you applied for?

Yes, that’s exactly what we applied for and we were over the moon to receive it. It was a lifeline.

How is that funding being spent?

The money has allowed us to plan the event with confidence by paying our production staff to plan the 2021 event without risking our ticket buyers’ money.

You have issued a press release that mentions a few “cheeky changes” – what changes are planned?

We’ve always wanted to focus on building local talent but the need for headliners and big names has pushed us to bring in talent from abroad more than we’d like. Covid has made us rethink. Given the uncertainty of bringing in non-UK content, it gives us a great excuse to really focus on the incredible talent that exists in the UK.

Are you preparing to stage Noisily as a Covid-safe reduced capacity festival or as a full capacity event?

We’re aiming for a full-capacity Covid-safe event, with testing at the gate. There have been leaps and bounds in rapid testing and our goal is to deliver an event that represents as close to the event that we’ve built a reputation for delivering as possible. It should be noted that this is just one of the routes we’re looking into and we do not yet have all the answers as to how this would work, and of course we’re planning for all scenarios such as reduced capacity with social distancing, so that we will be able to put on the event in any scenario short of a full lockdown in the area.

 Has there been any major lessons learned by the festival team this year or any positive outcomes from the way you have had to pull together to cope with the impact of Covid-19?

We’ve just been blown away by the support of our community. Noisily means everything to our core crowd, it was overwhelming and inspiring to see the generosity and kind words that were outpoured when we explained the situation, we were in. It’s been very affirming to see how much the event means to people.

You joined AIF this year. What led to that and how beneficial has being an AIF member been?

They’ve been doing an incredible job making representations to the government and supporting the industry in this incredible difficult time. I don’t think we can overstate how instrumental they’ve been in helping to keep events like ours afloat. The support and guidance they gave in our application for the CRF, for instance, was invaluable.