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Pay What You Feel: how our ticketing system works

Bristol Ideas
Bristol Ideas audience

Written by Bristol Ideas

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We explain our new ticket pricing structure – and why we introduced it in response to the cost-of-living crisis. We invite our audience members to join us in a community approach to pricing, which means that we ask people to pay what they feel they can afford in accordance with their means.

It is important to us that ideas and debate are affordable to everyone and, now more than ever, we want to ensure that our events are accessible to everyone who would like to attend. By introducing these new ways of paying, we hope to make our events open to more people than ever before, make finance less of a barrier and help our audiences in these uncertain times. We hope this approach will enable you to try new events in new spaces and discover new ideas, topics and conversations.

It is also important to us that our commentators, artists, writers, poets and thinkers are properly and fairly paid, and that our work is able to continue. We want to be able to have a more transparent conversation around the costs that go into supporting speakers, artists and Bristol Ideas.

We will be offering a range of ticket prices for our events – a Recommended price, a Pay It Forward option, and a Supported option. You can find out more about each of these below. We invite you to make your own decision on how much to pay for an event based on what you can afford and your own financial circumstances at that moment. This might change from event to event. Your ticket option will remain private and you will not need to bring anything with you to ‘prove’ that you need a certain ticket.

We hope that those who can afford to pay more will do so to help us make sure that everyone can attend our events.

Pay It Forward

The Pay It Forward option enables you to book a ticket above the standard price, and will help to subsidise a ticket for someone who requires the Supported option. This option is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and would like to help somebody else with the cost of their ticket.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and stable income and I have the means and desire to contribute towards making the event affordable for others and supporting Bristol Ideas.


This recommended price is based on what we’d traditionally charge for a similar event. It helps us make sure that basic costs are covered. This price is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and have enough to live on.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and disposable income, and I can comfortably afford the recommended ticket price.


This option is lower than the recommended price. It is subsidised by Bristol Ideas and fellow audience members who have booked at the Pay It Forward rate. This price is aimed at people who could do with support to get by.

  • Is this for me? – My access to income is low and unstable and I worry about meeting my basic needs. I would select a concession rate due to my personal circumstances.

We hope that by providing guidance on this new approach to ticket pricing, you can make informed choices about what to pay, balancing your own means while continuing to support Bristol Ideas activity.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, so please contact us if you have any queries.

Thank you for your help in making Bristol Ideas events accessible to all.

Image credit: Evan Dawson

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