Brum Zine Fest 2019: Comparatively Stronger

by Brum Zine Fest in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 7th July 2019 we successfully raised £5,487 with 53 supporters in 28 days

We're mobilising to resource this year's #BrumZineFest gloriously by paying artists and covering working costs despite not securing funding.

by Brum Zine Fest in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Brum Zine Fest 2019: Funded By You

Greetings folks!

It's just over a week since our crowdfunding campaign came to an end, by which point only the final hours of the Brum Zine Fest 2019 event itself remained, making for an incredibly special weekend and the conclusion of a wholly unconventional way of making a festival happen. On 7th July 2019 we successfully raised £5,487 with 53 supporters in 28 days; the same 28 days that we'd been organising and pulling together all aspects of the event, from programming amazing artists to moving hundreds of chairs around and getting the space festival-ready.

As a team we are incredibly amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity, trust and support we received from so many different people and organisations in so many different forms. Without over-glamorising all the parallel kinds of additional work this has been for our team: honestly, the interconnected network of you all who turned out for us has made this festival far richer and more of a joyful, victorious and entirely collective effort than if our Arts Council application had been successful. In addition to the crowdfunder we received additional donations and purchases of festival merchandise on the day, as well as collaborating with BCU's Faculty of the Arts, Design, & Media to engage students and alumni directly with the workings of the festival. This allowed us not only to fulfill the work with full production budget, but also created new connections and ways of working which we had not explored previously, and all the relationships built here run far deeper than financial aid.

Not only we were able to do all we promised and more, bringing practitioners to the city from London, Oxford and even Berlin, stallholders and other artists involved have expressed that this festival has been a boosting experience for them, particularly watching the crowdfunding campaign gain momentum and reach its target (which we hadn't dared to dream was possible in such a short period of time time), and there's a feeling that our city and others absolutely showed up for us and makers when we needed it the most, which is something money cannot buy.

For many projects £5,000 would be seen as no great sum, but to the artists we work with, the scale at which we are working and the positions of those working as part of our team it makes a huge difference, and it has been an honour to invest in those whose work we care about and don't see represented or resourced enough elsewhere, as well as working with lots of local suppliers to keep the value flowing around the city's wider creative ecosystem of which we're proud to be a part.

Over 300 people joined us to take part in workshops, buy and trade zines and make new connections and, whilst we'll be producing more evaluation stuff for ourselves, for you, for those who took part in the form of a zine and film again this year, here is some of the initial feedback we've had about the day.

"My favourite thing about Brum Zine Fest was how friendly everyone was. As someone who suffers with social anxiety this really put me at ease.

"We ended up with collages and zines about football, Vikings, autism, family, monsters and much more. Zine makers were as young as 4, and all the adults had a go too. People told me that they didn't realise how creative they could be, how they didn't get time to do this kind of thing at home as there were too many distractions, how they didn't always find time to do these things with their kids. It was such an amazing reaction. We ran over by 50 mins as everyone was enjoying it so much. I don't often do these things, I'm not keen on public speaking, but I said yes without thinking because it sounded an amazing opportunity. And it was. My heart is full!"

"For me the day was flawless."

"Such an insightful talk from Sofia who runs OOMK and Rabbits Road Press at @BrumZineFest yesterday, discussing how print can empower individuals and communities across the world."

"I felt at home. That sounds silly but I was so nervous and anxious arriving, all of that dissipated once I was met with friendly supportive faces."

"I've met loads of new people which I would now consider friends of mine. Also the food was amazing. I also loved the pronoun labels - very thoughtful."

What's Next?
For those of you who are expecting crowdfunder rewards, we'll be busy fulfilling those next week and appreciate your patience on these. We've prioritised paying our artists and following up on the festival itself however we can this week, but we're also really keen to send you a formal thank you and some goodies in return for your contribution to this year's activity, so expect these through a letterbox near you.

Those who are set to receive a copy of the Comparatively Weaker zine, we'll need a little more time than estimated to pull those together and printed, but we aim to get these to the presses by the end of the month. There'll also be more updates on what's next to follow on our website and twitter @BrumZineFest as we absolutely don't intend to stay quiet in between festivals. We just need a little bit of time to land after this year's festival adventure.

In the mean time, thanks so much for reading, for those who joined us on the day and wished us well with our work, and we'll catch you on the flipside!

We, simply, could not have done it without you.

Byng x

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Zine Homeslice

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