In the last post I talked about how we review and implement changes/improvements to the Festival each year. By way of a more detailed example, I thought I could talk a bit about the VAULT Festival LATES, which occupy a unique space in the programming each year.

The LATES are really fun. If you’ve not been to one, they’re fairly easy to describe: a big takeover of all the ‘public’ spaces in The Vaults, along one theme, from 10.30pm until the early hours. We’ve had gig nights, EDM, big themed parties and all kinds of other things – it’s a versatile slot suited to a wide variety of events. The key thing that makes them different to ‘shows’ at the VAULT is capacity – we tend to be looking at between 600 and 700 people for a given night.

As we only run LATES on Fridays and Saturdays, there are twelve slots to fill throughout the festival. In programming them, we aim for a broad sweep, so each week offers something different. Lots of different people come to VAULT over the six weeks so we try to make sure that there’s a LATE event which appeals to everyone at some point, because, well, it’s nice to stick around and have a party.

In previous years we’ve always talked with the companies and individuals behind these nights directly – it’s not a secret that those of us around the programming table tend to know a bit more about theatre & performance than we do big nights out, so we’ve tended to reach out to people with a good track record for making these kind of memorable events.

This year we’re changing that. You can now apply directly to run a LATE in the same way you can a theatre or comedy show. We’ve made this choice for a few reasons:

Primarily it’s to bring the LATES in line with the way the rest of the festival is run. We can’t select everything that applies, but we want an open platform for applications. We think equality is important we put promoters/musicians & party people on the same footing as the artists in our other programmes.

It’ll offer a broader range of events for us to programme. There have been loads of nights so far we’ve been extremely proud of, but we know there’s lots more variety out there: it’s exciting to think of what we’re going to get sent.

Very boringly (but importantly) it lets us fold the LATES into the same Admin process we use for all the other shows. With so many things in the programme we have to keep a really close eye on where everyone is in the process. Have they been sent the right info? Do they have a contract? Do we have their poster, images and copy? Bringing the LATES into this system will be a good streamliner, admin-wise.

There is always something of an imbalance in how we talk about the LATES in relation to the rest of the programme. As there are only a maximum of 12 each year, it’s possible that in some of our communications, they get a bit swallowed by the volume of everything else we have to talk about. I’m really hoping that by adopting this new structure we can get to grips with how best to position them in all our outgoing comms so the companies get as much exposure as we can give them, and it’s easy for audiences to find them when they’re on a quest for a night out.

It might sound like a small change to the outside, but we’re excited about it – we think it’ll be a better platform for artists, and offer our audiences more. So if you’ve got an idea for a LATE, head over to the apply page now and get reading!

Best for now,


Mat Burt is Director of Communications. As one of three Festival Directors, he has joint responsibility for the programming and delivery of the Festival. The Communications Department specifically looks after messaging to our visiting companies and audiences; this includes things from marketing, web & social media to box office, sales and lots of copy editing. He is a small part of a wonderful team.