Culture24 / Emerge Festival

Arts Impact Fund investment

The sector support organisation launched the Emerge Festival, a new collection of museum lates held over one weekend.

Culture24 / Emerge Festival

Region: London
Discipline: Sector support organisation
Investment size: £150,000

Culture24 is a Brighton-based charity and sector support organisation that enables museums in the UK to develop their digital capabilities and connect with audiences more meaningfully. Alongside this, since 2009, the organisation has been working hard to create a museums ‘lates’ culture in the UK by coordinating the national Museums at Night campaign. 

Building on its expertise in this area, Culture24 has developed a new festival model of museum lates: the Emerge Festival. Taking place on the nights of Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September 2019, the festival will see over 30 venues across 11 London boroughs open into the early hours with a special programme of events. Visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a skyline photography masterclass at the Monument, a retro tea-dance at the Fusilier Museum and get a behind-the-scenes tour of London Zoo’s Library.

The tickets cost £15-£40, for either one or both nights, with the cheapest tickets available for 18-30 year olds; a key aim of the festival is to introduce many of the participating venues to new audiences. 

If successful, Emerge will transform the lates business model from one reliant on public subsidy towards something more commercially viable, funded by ticket sales and sponsorship. This allows for reinvestment of any profits back into the festival, whilst also making a financial contribution to participating venues. 


If successful, the Emerge Festival will transform the lates business model from one reliant on public subsidy towards something more commercially viable, funded by ticket sales and sponsorship.

Culture24 approached the Arts Impact Fund for investment of £150,000 to produce the inaugural Emerge Festival and support its growth in the second year, taking the venture to profitability. Beyond 2019, Culture24 intends to replicate the festival in regional UK cities. 

Each festival will take place across multiple venues, delivered in partnership with local museums and with programming organised in coherent circuits. It will also involve local cultural, community and voluntary stakeholders to make sure the festival is truly catering to and representative of its target audience of 18-30 year olds and local communities. For example, a group of Audience Advisors, made up of young people from this demographic has been engaged to help inform the 2019 festival’s programming. 

Our due diligence focused on modelling different ticket sales scenarios for the Emerge Festival, to understand the minimum sales numbers to make the event a viable concern after loan repayments had been taken into account. We were also interested in the financial benefits to museums of taking part. Whilst they are responsible for bearing the cost of their own programming, they will receive a guaranteed minimum payment from Culture24, scaled according to their size. Depending on the level of ticket sales for the festival, museums can receive additional income above the minimum payment, enabling them to take part in any upside, and any revenues from food and drinks sales are kept by the venues in full. Finally, all participating museums benefit from Culture24’s programming budget for the festival, which further boosts their exposure to potential audiences.

Visit the Emerge Festival website for full details of venues, artists and tickets.