LondonFreeList - free and nearly free in London

Five For Free
What is Five for Free?
London Free List's campaign to persuade promoters of all cultural events in London to give away 5% of their tickets for free.
Why is this needed?
Research carried out on the capital's economy shows that at least 25% of Londoners are simply excluded from most non-free events. Many people are unaware of this because you become invisible when you live on a low budget - you simply don't get on the radar screens of those organising many cultural events.
If you support our campaign please write and tell us here.
Apart from the obvious, what are the benefits?
It sends a message that culture is for everyone, not just the more affluent. It brings a new vitality and buzz to audiences, which benefits everyone, including the performers. London's free culture is already one of its great strengths, as we demonstrate on this site, and to extend it generically in this way would enhance London's reputation even more.
Wouldn't it cost a lot?
It needn't cost a penny, and indeed could increase promoters' profits. Few productions are more than 95% full at all times, so the seats are there to be filled. And the more people who see a production, the more there are to tell other people what they are missing - people on a low budget don't live on another planet. Even when a production is full and it all comes off the bottom line, 5% is surely bearable, and what you get for that modest cost is fantastically valuable. Isn't it worth the risk?
What has the experience been with similar schemes?
The National Theatre has had a lot of success with the Travelex £10 scheme. But £10 is still a lot of money to many Londoners. Several venues operate Pay-What-You-Can schemes which also work very well.
How would it be implemented?
It would be entirely up to the promoters - creative pricing is the key. With some ingenuity this could be used to market the event with competitions etc. The only requirement is that the spirit of the scheme is to increase access, so for example to give the free tickets to existing affluent patrons wouldn't be cricket.
If you support our campaign please write and tell us here.
Here's what some supporters have said:
Holly:
What a wonderful idea! Not just from the point of view of those people who couldn't usually afford to go to a lot of events, but because by giving them the chance to do so we increase the general cultural awareness of the population. Kids who might otherwise have never had the chance to see theatre or art events will have the chance to enjoy them and perhaps spark an interest that might lead them to become part of the future generation of artists, performers etc. London's art scene is becoming increasingly part of accessible and popular culture (with free events at the V&A, Tate modern etc) - and the whole buzz and excitement of London is benefiting. Lets keep getting our fantastic culture out there, for everyone to enjoy and take part in!
Kathryn:
London is an expensive city but also a fabulous city, but lots of the things that make it great aren't inclusive for those people who don't have a high income. As we start getting ready for a cultural Olympiad, let's include everyone!
Lucy:
I fully support your agenda. As a single mum, who feels my 5 year olds education is best met via experience it is depressing to find I can't do things with her, or find the maze of the internet often conspires against me, as I juggle work child care and house hold chores.
Rakhi:
Wicked idea - so many great things in London that people need to open their minds to.
Adele:
May I as a low budget pensioner wholeheartedly endorse your scheme. Many of us have had to curtail both our cultural and social life due to living life on a shoestring; schemes like this help to keep us active and in the main stream of life. Others on low budgets would also get the pleasure to experience and develop a love of theatre etc. and to support the many events that we are excluded from due to cost.
Constanza:
It is true that we need more free events in which everyone can participate, specially in the winter days when the sky is so gray and its so cold, and young people, older people, children and all people really, need to get out to do something diffrent, to have a little bit of an artistic experience... I think they should definitely donate 5%.
Tracy J:
The price of most events is difficult for me to afford… and I’m in full-time work, so for people who are unemployed, or in part-time work it’s impossible. I’d be happy to pay a tiny bit more on my ticket to enable less well of people to get into events.
Zoe:
I fully support what you guys are doing. People on modest salaries shouldn't have to lose out on all the culture on offer in London - especially when there are seats left empty and going to waste. But it's not just those on modest salaries that are missing out - there are those who could afford it but wouldn't be willing to pay certain prices for things they're not already interested in. Your scheme would get people engaging with stuff outside their own cultural perimeters. I really hope you succeed with this scheme.
Kate:
A great idea, I love London but often end up staying in and not exploring everything it has to offer because of the expense.
Carolyn:
A brilliant idea, if it is a success in London it should be implemented to other towns and cities as well. More bums on seats I say, the more cultural input people have, the better society should be.
Janet:
Best wishes with this. I truly hope that it gets picked up on. To be an exemplary global city we need to take steps to provide culture and education to all.
Susan:
Pensioners would be most appreciative too - don't forget the silver surfers!
Rachel:
I think it's a great idea. Hopefully it would encourage more people to get involved in writing and performing too!
Anais:
Of course I support your idea. My position being that of a fresh graduate who has less money than when she was a student, and many are in the same situation. However, your proposed scheme is more important to truly disadvantaged families or other people who would never think of buying tickets for shows they are not sure to enjoy.
Millie:
Five for Free is an excellent idea and let’s have more of it so that young and old can have the opportunity to get out and about and enjoy more of London.
Albane:
That is a great idea ! Thanks so much to the people who had it !
X:
I think the campaign is great, there are many events I would like to visit and see but cannot because of the cost. As a one parent family it is very difficult to access these events.
Colin:
My wife and really enjoy opera and ballet and would love to go to see these productions live but simply cannot afford to. These productions are priced only for the well-healed! I support 54free!
Claire:
I definitely support this, it's an excellent idea.
Caroline:
I think it s great to be able to see live performance and support new artists for free. Excellent Idea !
Liz:
What a brilliant idea! I would love to take my son to the theatre, a show etc but being on a low income always holds us back. Good luck with the campaign!
Alex:
Just to show my support for the Five 4 Free campaign. I'm working in a box office at a theatre at the moment and know how easy it could be to let some people come in for free. We could for example give the first 5 concession tickets away free every night. I'm also on a really tight budget at the moment, so would relish the opportunity to be able to have a bit of life culture-wise.
Anna:
I would just like to say that a Friend and I went to the 99 comedy club and made use of the 5% free tickets as per your website, and it is one of the best evenings we have had in a long time. As we both work for the arts we can't afford to go mad on a night out, so I am not sure if we had gone otherwise. I would definitely say more venues should take heed!
Meenal:
The Arts, present a forum where are unspoken thoughts are articulated and new things are learnt. When we laugh and cry together, we’re reminded of our shared ‘human-ness’. It's so easy to lose sight of each other in such a huge and hectic city. This initiative extends a hand in the direction of those feeling invisible, anonymous and disenfranchised. I wish you every success.
Zulka:
Hello, I do support your brilliant idea. Living in London is extremely expensive and especially when there is a family of at least 2 children on summer holidays waiting to be entertained. I had thought that the only free thing is breathing while walking in parks in London before I discovered your website. Lots of luck
Pearl:
Yes we have heard that London may be a beautiful place but it is too expensive to shop around but even if we do visit, we probably sightsee and get some experience and perhaps visit one or two museums. London's events should be for free.
Margie:
This is a very good campaign. It would make London more available to Londoners. great idea.............
Elaine:
I would like to register my support for your campaign. I think it is a brilliant idea and should be implemented as soon as possible. Good Luck,
Jenni:
I'm a mature student, and love the culture of London. However, most things cost money and now that I live on a tight budget events that interest me are expensive to go to. Theatre normally costs around £15 plus and so do most things really. This means that most of the time I am unable to go. Londoners are great, and would be more likely to take part and support cultural events if they were not alienated by the high cost of events. The pricing seems to be aimed at tourists to London and indeed tourists seem to know more about London events than the Londoners themselves. Surely this is a shame. We have a great city with loads of things to do within it, but how many Londoners actually attend the events? A lower cost would allow more Londoners to attend and enjoy the city that we live in. I really hope that the campaign is successful.
JH:
Allowing people on low incomes to remain part of London's exciting cultural scene is a truly brilliant concept - Thanks!
Andy:
Campaigning for 5% of tickets is a cool idea. It should encourage Londoners to try out cultural events they couldn't otherwise go to. Good job guys!
Ian N.
As someone who appreciates the amazing range of events on offer in the capital but often can't afford to go unless it's listed as free, I think the 5-4-Free campaign is a great idea. Keep up the good work!
Alero
The Five 4 Free campaign is a wonderful idea! London is a fantastic city with a myriad of new and wonderful things to do, the opportunity to participate in cultural events that ordinarily you couldn't afford would be so great; it'll enhance the kudos of the city more and make London an even more exciting and accessible place for everyone.
JJ
London has to be one of the most expensive places to live and I think this idea is great. I've raised my daughter in this city but there are so many things that we've had to miss out on because everything is so far out of our price range. You seem to pay more for everything in London and it is a shame that a lot of Londoners miss out on what makes London special. I think this idea is long overdue and I hope your campaign is successful.
Aliona
5-4-free is an incredible idea!!! People with low budget need to take part in cultural events even more that those with full wallets. Citizens with small income should not be separated from the society!
Vicky
Yes I think it is a brilliant idea....cultural events should be available to everyone rich and not so rich!!!
Reesa
I think this is a brilliant idea! By inviting people to a selection of free events in London, it inspires us to get more involved all around and also try other things that we might have to pay for. I think events that are accessible for everyone improve the positive energy in the city. Families can take their kids out more!
Bev
This is an excellent idea to enable both child and adult to have life experiences they would otherwise be without. Everybody should have the ability to enjoy the arts and money shouldnt be an issue when it is an education in itself. From the money that is earned each theatre should put on at least one free performance a week or give 10% of their seats at a highly discounted price.
Penny L:
I support the Five for Free Campaign as I work with adults who have learning disabilities who live in registered residential care. If they go to events their support worker's costs also have to be covered. This limits their access to most live performances.
Angela D:
I support the Five For Free Campaign. It's a fantastic idea - events would be more diverse, and it would contribute to the cohesiveness of the city.
Adnan M:
I support the Five for Free Campaign
Debbie:
Great idea!
Louisa @ Training Link:
We work with socially excluded people and some of the projects would benefit from this scheme.
Gill:
I support 5.4.free
Kate:
I support your campaign
Geri:
I this idea is simply great. I don't get out enough cos it is too expensive when you have a new mortgage you are fighting to pay.
Chris G:
Sounds like a great idea. I work with disadvantaged children (and their families) and many of them go nowhere over the summer holidays as it is expensive.
Tatjana
I support the Five for Free Campaign.
Peter F:
I think this is a great idea I am a school governor and am shocked how many kids have never been to theatre, dance, music galleries etc. Their choices and opinions are limited as a result. As a regular theatre goer I would happily pay an extra few pence on my ticket to cover the admin involved.
Naomi:
I think Five 4 free is a fantastic idea. Many events in London are just too expensive. Why should people miss out just because they don't have enough money? If companies can give out tickets for magazines for competitions, why can't they give them out to people who need them and would really enjoy a new experience?
Kellie:
What a fantastic idea. There are some many events/places/theatre shows I would like to take my children too, but financially I am unable to do. It breaks my heart having to tell my children that we can't afford to go to places that their friends go.
Five For Free