Our Philosophy on Application Fees

TL/DR: Everyone's means, advantages, and situations are different. To respect that, we allow people to chose how much they'll pay as an application fee.  We charge application fees because we want to honor the time and effort the Selection Committee puts into this.

We've wrestled with the concept of Application fees for a long time.  We feel we need to charge them (read on for why), but we never want finances to be an obstacle to anyone participating in The BurlExpo. We've seen application fees that are all over the map, but what can seem to be a very reasonable fee to one applicant may seem a very high fee to someone else.  In order to acknowledge in a very dollars and cents way that we all have different backgrounds, levels of privilege, and financial situations, we've decided to utilize a "Pay What You Will" model, with a minimum.  It's our hope that using this method will allow applicants with greater financial resources to pay a higher fee, which will in turn help support those applicants who may be less fortunate.  

If you are able to pay more than the minimum, please do.  It's a way in which the community can support its members.

We've seen needs-based fees and scholarships before.  They all require an applicant to, at the very least, contact someone at the festival and say "I can't afford this", and then the festival asks for whatever information the deem appropriate to judge whether or not the applicant meets the qualifications for a reduced fee.  We don't know your story and we don't need to decide who can afford our application fees and who can't.  That's a decision that we trust you to make for yourself.

Paying More Does Not Increase Your Chance of Acceptance; Paying Less Does Not Decrease Them

Purchasing an application fee is a little like purchasing on of those first-class, "Forever" stamps from the post office.  If you bought it back in 2001, it cost $.34.  If you bought one yesterday, it cost you $.55 – but neither one has a monetary value on it, they both just say "First Class" and the Post Office treats them both the same.  The Application Reviewers don't know how much your "stamp" cost, and they can't find out (even if they wanted to know).  Each application is reviewed on its own merits and on a variety of crtieria.  How much you paid to apply is not one of those criteria.

So why charge application fees at all?

We have a couple of reasons:

  1. People value what they pay for.
  2. It shows respect for the time and effort the Selection Committee puts into reviewing every act.
  3. It makes you be more selective about the acts you submit.