Midas was commissioned to brand and promote the first Chiswick Book Festival, working alongside the Festival Director, BBC Media Correspondent, Torin Douglas.
The first Festival took place from 25th – 27th September 2009 and Midas was responsible for creating the Festival’s brand, logo and website, inviting key authors to participate, and organising the overall PR – raising the profile of the Festival itself through national media, and promoting all events both nationally and locally.
In co-ordination with Torin Douglas, Midas’ aim was to create a good cross-section of speakers to appeal to different audiences and age ranges. We secured the participation of high-profile authors for a variety of individual and panel events, at different venues around Chiswick.
The Festival opened with a talk by Anthony Horowitz and was followed by evening drinks and a talk by Antonia Fraser; both events attracting audiences of 350 people. The Festival also featured Sir Ian McKellen, former Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson, Lynn Barber on An Education, playwright Michael Frayn, best-selling author Katie Fforde and others for a women’s fiction panel, and Sophie Hannah and Roy Mitchell (creator of BBC One’s New Tricks) on a crime panel. There were also talks on history, architecture and workshops on how to write, all complemented by a children’s section to the Festival. A Book Quiz supper was organised for the Saturday night and a Comedy Evening starring The Aspidistras took place on Sunday evening at Chiswick’s famous Tabard Theatre.
Publicity generated by Midas included listings, features and interviews in The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Time Out, Sunday Express, The Independent and the Daily Mail, with a strong online presence and coverage in local media, including The Chiswick Times. The Festival was also featured on Radio 5 Live, Talk Radio and BBC London.
As a result of a combination of high-quality speakers and strong media coverage, every event sold out. Since then the second and third Festivals have enjoyed growing success, with speakers Terry Pratchett, Michael Morpurgo, Val McDermid, Adele Parks, Kate Mosse, Andrew Motion and Michael Wood.