26 MAY, 2016, 9am – 1pm

Thanks to everyone for joining us at Best-in-Fest/FUND, your support was much appreciated. Stay tuned for our next Best-in-Fest Masterclass. Please scroll down for Speaker presentations.

Attending Organisations

Speaker Presentations

Sian Redmond: Click here to download PDF

Avril Bannerton: Click here to download PDF

Jill Downey: Click here to download PDF

Helen Carroll: Click here to download PDF

Feargus Dunne: Click here to download PDF

Claire Fitzgerald: Click here to download PDF

Michael Johnson: Click here to download PDF

Associate Partners


Ireland loves festivals.
We host over 10,000 of them annually, providing memorable experiences for both local and international visitors, and contributing positively to the local economies in which they operate.
Festivals enhance our lives.
As festival and event organisers, we understand that sustainable funding is key to the successful delivery – and profitability – of our festivals, however the acquisition of funding can be an ongoing daunting and challenging task.
At our inaugural Best in Fest FUND Masterclass we’re facing that challenge head on.
Join us and be inspired by heroes of the Festival & Events Industry in Ireland.
Hear from dynamic founders who have created memorable – and financially viable – events. Learn from some of Ireland’s most successful event & festival sponsorship professionals, and give yourself a clear understanding of the public and alternative funding models available.

Who Should Attend?

  • Festival Directors/Organisers
  • Festival Marketing & Sponsorship professionals
  • Festival & Event Board Members
  • Festival & Event Sponsors/Sponsorship Agencies
  • Suppliers to Festivals & Events
  • Representatives of Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce etc
  • Event Management students
  • Anyone with an Interest in the Festivals & Events Field

Why Attend?

  • Get inspired and get ready to hit the market with your festival/event
  • Unscramble the ‘dark art’ of commercial sponsorship
  • Gain insight on how to market your festival to potential sponsors
  • Understand how to present your festival’s unique proposition to brands
  • Price point: how to devise sponsorship costs that work for rights holders and sponsors
  • Learn how to grow your sponsors year on year
  • Managing your sponsors expectations
  • How to evaluate sponsor effectiveness
  • Network with the best in the business


08.20 – 09.00Registration Tea & Coffee
09.00 – 09.10Welcome address by Sinead McNamara, Co-Founder, Best-in-Fest
Session I: Revenue build through commercial partners
09.10 – 09.30Approaching the market: how to match your unique proposition to potential sponsors brand & communication goals
Sian Redmond, Head of Partnerships, Live Nation
  • Presenting the platform: audience footfalls, profiles, event USPs & historical research
  • The offering: shaping and presenting sponsorship levels
  • Working collaboratively with clients: matching festival assets with brands objectives
  • The sales journey: realistic expectations and how to avoid the ‘slow no’

09.30 – 09.50Building solid commercial relationships: how to manage & maintain year on year
Avril Bannerton, Managing Director, Taste of Dublin
  • Attracting the right level of sponsorships
  • Shift in Partnership Expectations
  • Building on Long Term Engagement
  • Partnerships for the next generation

09.50 – 10.10In a data driven world how to prove value for commercial partners pre and post event
Jill Downey, Managing Partner, Livewire
  • The approach & which numbers matter
  • What sponsors care about
  • The journey to renewal
  • Effective reporting post event

10.10 – 10.30Shining the light on successful sponsorships
Helen Carroll, Senior Marketing & Strategic Partnerships Manager, Business to Arts
  • Factors Influencing a Successful Sponsorship Approach/ Overview of Leverage/Activation & Sponsorship relationships
  • Current Arts, Music & Festival Sponsorship trends: Business to Arts 2015 Arts, Festival & Music Sponsorship Summary Report
  • Auditing the sponsorship opportunities in your organisation
  • Top tips for successful sponsorship: developing your network/writing proposals/making initial approaches/effective deal negotiation

10.30– 11.00Panel discussion/Q&A
11.00 – 11.20Networking coffee break
Session II: Public and alternative funding platforms
11.20 – 11.40Statutory funding – the landscape
Feargus Dunne, Lecturer in Tourism/Event Management, IT Tralee
  • Government/Government agency funding in Ireland – An introduction
  • Funding applications – Key points
  • Common pitfalls for festivals/events
  • Alternative sources of funding
  • Possible learnings for the events industry

11.40 – 12.00Fund it: Rewards based crowdfunding
Claire Fitzgerald, Administrator & Moderator, Fund It
  • Overview of different platforms available and choosing the right one
  • Reward based campaigns
  • The different phases of a successful campaign
  • Preparing your campaign: tips for success

12.00 – 12.20What lenders look for – how to succeed in Raising Finance
Michael Johnson, CEO, Microfinance Ireland
  • Funding your business or event
  • The ‘whites of the eyes lender’: what they look for
  • ‘Showtime’ – track record and who else is in the game
  • Investor V Lender: different approaches
12.20 – 12.40Panel discussion/Q&A
12.40 – 13.00Closing remarks


Avril Bannerton
Managing Director, Taste of Dublin

Avril Bannerton leads up a team of Events Specialist, organising and promoting large-scale consumer events and exhibitions.
An expert in sponsorship management, Avril designs unique features within events to complement and promote various quality consumer brands; successfully merging commercial interests and consumer entertainment.
In June 2006, in association with Brand Events UK and Channel 4, Avril Bannerton brought Taste of Dublin to Ireland.  The event took place in Dublin Castle and attracted 13,600 visitors.  The four day festival celebrated the capital’s finest food and drink and featured twelve of Dublin’s most prestigious restaurants and chefs serving their signature dishes.
Taste of Dublin was so successful that it moved to a larger venue in Iveagh Gardens, off Harcourt Street, with twenty top restaurants and over 30,000 visitors, every June. It is now established as a key event in the Dublin social calendar with its line up of gourmet food, celebrity chefs, food tasting, cookery demonstrations, tutored wine tastings, music and entertainment.
In 2014, Avril returned to manage the 9th Taste of Dublin event. This event proved to be the most successful Taste of Dublin to date with attendee and revenue numbers up by a 1/3rd on the previous year.   Taste of Dublin 2015 proved more successful again in terms of both sponsorship engagement and attendee levels. Planning for Taste 2016 is already underway and responses to date suggest that it will be even more successful.
Avril was proudly awarded Image Businesswoman of the Year 2010.

Jill Downey
Managing Partner, Livewire, The Complete Sponsorship Agency

Jill is Managing Partner of Core Media’s sponsorship consultancy, Livewire and is a board member of the Core Media Group. Livewire is another example of Core Media’s diversification beyond its media business. Already, less than one year old, Jill and her team are helping property owners realise true commercial value through new sponsorship packages and rights expansion via digital and content assets. Equally Livewire helps multiple brands gain real and measurable value from their partnerships in sport and entertainment. Previously Jill was deputy Managing director at Starcom and, together with the MD, more than trebled that business by winning major accounts such as Musgrave, National Lottery, An Post, AIB, Heineken and UTV Ireland, as well as winning Agency of the Year in 2012.

Sian Redmond
Head of Marketing Partnerships, Live Nation Ireland

Sian Redmond is Head of Marketing Partnerships for Live Nation Ireland. Having worked with Live Nation for six years she is responsible for the portfolio of sponsorships for 3Arena, The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and in partnership with Festival Republic and MCD managing sponsors across all of their outdoor festivals including Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Marlay Park Concerts, Slane, Punchestown Music Festival, Longitude, Electric Picnic and New Year’s Festival Dublin. In her role she has overseen the rebrand of The O2 to 3Arena, worked on the naming rights for the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and worked with Heineken to agree and implement a multi asset sponsorship across ten venues and festivals. Sian manages partnerships for brands in ten different categories working on activation and customer engagement to meet brand objectives. Sian began her career working on large scale events before starting with Live Nation Ireland in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, then moving across the Liffey to 3Arena where she is now based.

Feargus Dunne
Lecturer in Tourism and Events Management, Institute of Technology, Tralee

Feargus Dunne is a lecturer in event management and tourism at Institute of Technology Tralee, Co. Kerry. In his role, he lectures in event management to students on various degree programmes across a wide spectrum from adventure tourism to multimedia studies, as well as supervising Masters Research in the festival/ events area. He is actively involved in research on issues relevant to the festival/events industry in Ireland, and is currently examining the role of government/ government agency funding in assisting the Irish festival/events sector. In spring 2015, he was selected to lecture on an EU programme on managing successful events from elite to grassroots sport, in Malta.
Feargus assists various Irish festivals/ events with training and volunteer needs in an advisory capacity, and organises small scale events at IT Tralee and in his local community. He has also written opinion pieces on issues in the events industry, for the popular news site The Journal.ie

Helen Carroll
Strategic Partnerships Manager, Business to Arts

Helen joined Business to Arts in 2016 and is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to optimise coverage that enhances the visibility and impact of the organisation’s many programs, services, and events.
Helen has a strong background in arts management. Prior to joining Business to Arts, she was Assistant Manager of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, overseeing all operational, contractual, and financial aspects of productions, events and conferences. Having worked as Senior Marketing and Press Officer prior to this, Helen developed and implemented strategic marketing campaigns and sponsorship opportunities for international and national productions. In the past she has also worked for Dance Theatre of Ireland, EventHaus Ltd. and IMG Artists, London.
Helen graduated with a Masters in Cultural Policy & Arts Management from University College Dublin in 2011 having previously obtained a Bachelor in Laws (LL.B) from Trinity College Dublin. She is an Associate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (ARIAM, 2006) and received a piano performance diploma from the London College of Music (Dip,LCM 2004). She is also an Associate and full teaching member of the Royal Academy of Dance, London.

Claire Fitzgerald
Moderator, Fund it

Claire joined Business to Arts in 2012 as Office Administrator and Moderator of projects on Fund it. With a career spanning many aspects of the arts, Claire has previously worked with Rowan Yarns in Edinburgh (Design Consultant); the Events Department of The Edinburgh University Student Association; and the Education Department of The National Gallery of Ireland.
As Moderator of projects on Fund it, Claire guides and supports all Project Creators through their fundraising campaigns, from submission to completion. Her work has ensured Fundit.ie retains one of the highest success rates of any reward-based crowdfunding site in the world, and has seen the success and reach of Fund it continue to grow.
Claire graduated from UCD with a BA Honours in Art History and Film Studies; is an Adobe Certified Associate in Web Communications; and holds a Certificate in Fundraising from Fundraising Ireland.

Michael Johnson
CEO, Microfinance Ireland

Michael Johnson was appointed CEO of Microfinance Ireland (MFI) in 2014. He previously worked as CEO of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Board for 18 years. Under his leadership MFI has grown from lending €2M a year in 2013 to achieving nearly €6M in lending 2015 .This lending, delivered in partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices, is now supporting over 1,900 jobs.

Contact Us

If you would like to further details on the event please call Sinead on +353 (0)87 773 3199 or email bestinfestivals@gmail.com

The Gibson Hotel, Point Village, Dublin 1