SOCIAL, CIVIC & ECONOMIC VALUE
Community & social empowerment | Equality, diversity & inclusion
BUSINESS PARTNER BENEFITS
Business and/or brand awareness | Developing community links | Direct access to target audiences | Entertaining
Established in 2019, the Sufi Festival aims to bringing different communities together in a spirit of cohesion and harmony. Taking place in July, across various Glasgow locations, the 2022 Sufi Festival saw more than 50 different artists deliver a wide range of activities to share and celebrate the Sufism tradition of Islamic Mysticism. Thanks to support from the C&BS Fund, and sponsorship from Esplanade Vale Media Ltd, the 2022 festival expanded from a one-day to a two-day event and included international as well as local artists for the first time, delivering theatrical performances, song, ritual dance, spoken word poetry, Caribbean dub, hip hop, visual art exhibitions and creative art workshops.
Funded in part by the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland, and supported by The University of Edinburgh, Al Waleed Centre and Safera Foundation as well as The Tramway, the 2022 Sufi Festival is set to become a significant event Glasgow’s cultural calendar.
Sufism is a tradition bound into the history of Islam with a focus on devotion, contemplation, learning and creativity. Neither a sect nor a tendency, but a dimension of Islam akin to Zenn in Buddhism, it shares touchpoints with many mystical traditions of Christianity, Buddhism and other religions. Sufism value music and other creative arts as powerful vehicles in life’s journey, and Sufism has a rich artistic heritage, particularly amongst its poets. Perhaps most notable is Rumi, a 13th century cleric from Persia, who delivered a message of universal love and tolerance through his epic poem Mathnawi. To celebrate the wisdom, arts and culture of Sufism, Sufi Festival was founded in 2017 by Tariq Mahmood.
During the pandemic, Esplanade Vale Media broadcast a documentary about the 2019 Sufi Festival on their satellite channel British Muslim TV (BMTV), a channel that delivers content to a population demographic very similar to the Sufi Festival’s live event audiences and therefore providing an excellent fit. Following this 2020 collaboration, discussions began around involvement in future events and the business organisation agreed to sponsorship that included 28 consecutives days of ads leading up to the Festival, 138 minutes of airtime, airplay of the 2019 documentary to raise awareness and 368 minutes of live airtime over the two days of the 2022 Sufi Festival.
Match funding through the C&BS Fund allowed the festival organisers to offer a more diverse and higher quality programme of content which delighted all that attended and helped to raised the profile and reputation of the festival.
The positive outcomes
Over 4,000 people attended the 2022 Sufi Festival, with feedback reflecting overwhelming happiness and joy as well as improved mental health and wellbeing. One attendee reflected: “There was a very special vibe, a real meeting of souls – hearts open – it is always a privilege to hear other people’s stories. There was a warmth from the heart – many paths all leading to one point.” Christina McKelvie, Minister for Equalities and Older People thanked the festival organisers for playing a vital role in bringing Scotland’s communities together in challenging times and emphasised the importance of unity and togetherness. Baillie Christy Means, Glasgow’s Deputy Lord Provost, commented: “Glasgow needs more events like this. It’s a really fantastic opportunity to build bridges… to foster kindness and inclusion.”
With branding across all marketing mediums and into diverse communities, and their own technicians involved with the live transmission over the festival weekend, the partnership was a great success for Esplanade Vale Media. The televised broadcast through BMTV reached greater audiences, raised their profile and provided an opportunity to tap into Scottish viewership and promote their services to both individuals and organisations. Additionally, the media company benefited from increased visibility and awareness amongst a regional target demographic, through the 4,000 attendees in Glasgow. For Sufi Festivals, having a TV channel provide weekend coverage of their event has helped to increase their credentials as a top-quality Scottish festival.