For too many people, politics in Britain is broken. Our traditional system of adversarial, two party politics is no longer working for a majority of voters. People are seeking new avenues for political engagement. A perfect storm of anger at unaccountable political elites and ever-increasing economic marginalisation is driving huge disillusionment with mainstream politics. Yet our society faces immense challenges, issues that need confronting and choices that need making. The right political and public response to these challenges is vital. Through our programme of Big Tent events around the country, we are seeking to kick start these conversations - and within an entirely non-partisan framework - while working towards providing the solutions we so desperately need.
Since our pilot Big Tent Ideas Festival in the Summer of 2017, the Big Tent movement has grown rapidly. Our 2018 Festival and Foundation Leaders' Summit in Cambridge attracted over 1500 people, with 200 speakers spread across our 8 tents covering themes including: Society, Economy, Politics, Hopes and Fears, Arts and Culture, Global Britain, and Technology and Innovation. Off the back of our success in 2018, we have raised additional funding and recruited our first Director and core team based in a shared office in a new, CovTech incubator in Westminster. We are now planning the Big Tent Ideas 2019 Festival to be held at Mudchute Park and Farm on Saturday 31st August, on the Isle of Dogs in East London. With 3,500 attendees expected we will be showcasing the power of innovative solutions to both local, national, political and economic renewal. Co-chaired to date by our Founder Chairs, Baroness Sally Morgan and George Freeman MP, as well as entrepreneur and Co-Founder, Mark Davies, in 2019 we are establishing our Big Tent Foundation Advisory Board, as well as the new Festival Management Board.
WHAT WE ARE
The Big Tent Festival has been put together by a politically unaligned, not-for-profit Foundation created to promote innovation in public policymaking and solutions, while pursuing the appropriate solutions to the underlying causes of this political crisis. The Foundation was set up in 2017 by a group of founding patrons, spanning the worlds of business, politics, science, public services and the arts. Over the next few years it will support the growth of the Big Tent Ideas Festival as a new forum for public debate, developing the ideas and backing the people that have the most potential to tackle the
disconnection and disillusionment with mainstream politics. The Festival is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Foundation which we plan to develop and take around the country to help
champion, support and scale innovative policy making approaches beyond Westminster.
The Festival is funded by income from ticket revenue, sponsors and support from the Foundation. The Foundation is funded by its founding Patrons, charitable donations from both companies and individuals and from membership subscriptions.
THE BIG TENT FESTIVAL MISSION
To create a coalition of people from all backgrounds, sectors, parties and beliefs, coming together to challenge established political norms, while highlighting and championing new and innovative approaches to public policymaking.
To take our festival nationwide through holding a series of satellite Big Tent events.
To build a digital platform and community allowing people everywhere to join in and be part of our work at the Big Tent.
To convene and curate truly collaborative policy discussions and solutions.
To promote specific innovative solutions with the potential to drive the scale of change we need to see in our government and society.
To provide a cross-party forum for think tank and other policy agencies to present innovative policy ideas, and to drive conversations around such ideas.
Structure of the Big Tent
The Big Tent Foundation is a non-profit company limited by guarantee. As such, it can receive donations and undertake activities of a political nature, such as inviting future Prime Ministers in waiting to meet the Leadership Council members.
The Big Tent Festival Ltd is a wholly owned VAT registered subsidiary responsible for organising the Big Tent Ideas Festival and is funded by commercial sponsorship, ticket sales and, if necessary, the Big Tent Foundation. In 2019 it is envisaged the Festival will cover its costs, but should it need additional support, this will come through the Foundation.
The Big Tent Trust is a charitable trust which, when set up, will be able to receive tax deductible donations. As a charity, it will be limited as to the political nature of its activities; awarding bursaries for social enterprise is an example of a permissible activity. Gift Aid can be claimed on all eligible donations. Prior to becoming a charitable trust, it is possible to donate via the National Philanthropic Trust’s donor advised fund.