I’m sure the retailers in St Nicholas Arcades were not the only city centre businesses who were pleased to see the return of the Lancaster Music Festival weekend and the vastly increased footfall it brings into Lancaster. I know they would join with me in giving a massive vote of thanks to Ben Ruth and his valiant team for putting together an even bigger and better event in 2014 involving even more businesses and locations.
Ben’s team were once again able to benefit from an increased financial contribution from Lancaster’s city centre businesses via Lancaster Unlimited, the city’s Business Improvement District. The existence of the festival and its threatened demise through lack of funding was a perfect example of the reasoning behind creating a BID fund to secure and augment existing, successful local initiatives.
Of course, sourcing funding is the first stage of any project but by no means the largest part of the workload. The many hours and days of meetings, phone calls, communications, site assessments and then finally stage managing, event co-ordinating and even performing must ensure that Ben and the team have fully 12 month’s work from festival to festival. Much of this done on a voluntary basis to boot!
There are similarities between Ben and the music festival organisers and the BID Management Group who are all volunteers from the business community within the BID levy zone.
Each member spends a huge amount of time away from their own business working on various groups that decide the most effective use of BID funding. Their efforts are rewarded when they see the likes of the music festival attract such high numbers into the city in the hope of benefitting all BID businesses who have the foresight to take full advantage. Well done Ben and Lancaster Unlimited.
To find out what the Lancaster Unlimited team have in store next, look at www.lancasterunlimited.co.uk.
By Jerry North, director of the Chamber, Vice Chair of Lancaster Unlimited and Manager of St Nicholas Arcade.