AV Festival 2016 Evaluation Report 

“AV Festival has once again shown its important artistic and economic contribution to the North East. AV Festival 2016’s bold political themes and programming make it relevant and engaging for its loyal existing followers as well as new audiences.”
BOP Consulting

The independent evaluation report of AV Festival 2016 by BOP Consulting is now published. AV Festival 2016 was the sixth edition of the biennial Festival of contemporary visual art, film and music and took place from 27 February – 27 March 2016.

Since 2010 the Festival has commissioned BOP Consulting to assess its economic and cultural impact and examine the audience’s response. In 2016 this was measured through a survey of 397 visitors to the Festival.

Overall the report concludes that:

“The Festival continues to make a vital contribution to the cultural calendar locally and nationally, and has played an important role in establishing the North East as a cultural destination. Artistic impact continues to grow, from a high existing base. The Festival is characterised as being challenging, thought-provoking, rigorous and as having a strong local impact. This consistency in audience quality ratings shows how AV Festival builds on past successes while offering something new each time. The Festival is a great asset to the North East and is well positioned to deliver a successful Part Two of ‘Meanwhile, what about Socialism?’ in 2018.”

To find out more you can download the BOP Consulting report here.

The five key evaluation findings are:

The audience is enthusiastic and loyal
AV Festival 2016 attracted both new and existing audiences, of which half were motivated to attend by the political theme. 39% were repeat visitors, of which 77% attended in 2014 with a further 71% having also visited in 2012, indicating loyalty and satisfaction. A large proportion (85%) said they were keen to attend the Festival in 2018.

Quality ratings have reached new heights
Audiences rated the quality of AV Festival 2016 very highly. In all, 95% of visitors reported their overall experience as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ the same as in 2014. 93% said the same about the quality of the programming and 97% about the choice of venue, both a percentage point increase on 2014.

Visitors continue to be attracted from outside the North East
The proportion of visitors from outside the North East (24%) remains consistent with 2014 figures. One third of visitors came from London and one sixth came from outside the UK. The average number of days that visitors reported they were attending the Festival for was 2.8, the same as in 2014.

AV Festival contributes to the North East as a cultural destination
AV Festival makes an important contribution to the cultural calendar of the North East. 90% of those surveyed agreed that it was important that the Festival was happening in this area. A higher proportion of returning visitors were coming to Newcastle specifically to visit AV Festival, with 67% of visits to Newcastle and 49% of visits to the North East attributable to the Festival.

Valuable national media coverage is secured
AV Festival 2016 generated a significant media impact, both nationally and locally. Full-page reviews appeared in national broadsheet and specialist magazines including the Guardian, Sight & Sound, Art Monthly and The Wire, with international reviews in ARTA magazine and Artforum Picks.

“AV Festival brings together past and present, history and archive, art and documentation from right across the world. Here, everywhere is local.”
Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 5 March 2016

The next edition of AV Festival and Part Two of ‘Meanwhile, what about Socialism?’ takes place in March 2018.