Festival reaps rewards for city business leaders

Rob Young performing in Barclays Bank on Saturday. Image by Nick Dagger Photography.
Rob Young performing in Barclays Bank on Saturday. Image by Nick Dagger Photography.

Many Lancaster businesses reported their best takings ever over the weekend as the city once again celebrated its musical culture.

Landlords and shopkeepers reported that beer, chips, pies and sandwiches had all proved popular at this year’s Lancaster Music Festival, with a number completely selling out of stock.

It is estimated the city benefitted from a £1.7m cash injection with 64,000 people attending between Thursday October 8 and Monday October 12. Lancaster BID were one of the sponsors of the event this year, funding the Square Routes performances in Market Square, Sun Square, Dalton Square and the Judges Lodgings.

Liz Hickingbotham, BID manager, said: “Lancaster Music Festival 2015 has been a great success for many of the businesses in Lancaster, with several venues taking part reporting record takings over the weekend.

“There is no doubt that the increased footfall in the city centre would have also benefited those businesses not hosting musical performances, as many visitors were taking the opportunity to shop or eat out whilst they were in the city.

“The Square Routes performances were all very well attended and enabled Lancaster to show off a wide variety of local and regional performers from Batala to Brass Band and Clog to Salsa Dancing.

“ The atmosphere was really electric with each of the outdoor venues bringing their own personalities to the event.

“Many of the indoor venues were at capacity at peak times over the weekend and the concerts in Lancaster Castle proved popular again this year.”

Barclays Bank in Market Street also got involved, hosting performances for the second year running, and opening a counter service on the Sunday.

Phil Dunster, assistant manager at Barclays Bank in Lancaster, said: “We decided to get involved because anything that’s good for Lancaster is good for all the businesses in the city, including us.

“Our staff are very community minded and we have a member of staff that performed here as a musician last year.

“From a business point of view we were very keen to stand out, and we had a lot of foot flow on the Saturday.

“It’s been very unusual to host music over the weekend, and open our counters on a Sunday, but the Haffner Orchestra went down a storm and we’ve had positive responses from customers, while others have been amazed and incredulous.

We were instrumental in getting the music festival into the welcome packs for international students, alongside our own information.

“It’s been a really interesting weekend here at the bank, with a particular emphasis on family attendance, and Barclays in Chorley have even copied us and put music on in the branch there.

“I’m certainly hoping that we’ll be involved in next year’s event too.”