Morecambe's £900k boost as 28,000 people flock to spectacular 2024 Baylight festival

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Visitor numbers to this year’s much applauded Baylight festival in Morecambe hit the 28,000 mark – bringing a £900,000 boost to the economy.

An independent Evaluation Report out this week from Red Research has revealed that an estimated 28,000 people attended the three-night event on Morecambe seafront during February half-term – up by more than a third on the number of visitors in 2023.

Organisers Morecambe Sparkle CIC say this is in part due to the popular Under the Sea Parade along Marine Road Central which took place on the Friday night.

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Visitor numbers were up every night with some people revealing they came for more than one evening to see the stunning light displays along the festival trail.

The Baylight Under The Sea parade. Picture by Robin ZahlerThe Baylight Under The Sea parade. Picture by Robin Zahler
The Baylight Under The Sea parade. Picture by Robin Zahler

The spending power of the Morecambe community, visitors and staying tourists at Baylight produced an economic impact of over £900,000. This was higher than in 2023 bringing a return on investment of £3.63 for every pound in grants from Lancashire County Council's Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, Morecambe Town Council and Morecambe BID.

This year five local businesses sponsored individual installations from the displays by local, national and international artists along the festival trail. The interactive effects and the shimmering lights reflected in the sea along the site delighted visitors. The report found that 95% of those interviewed said they would like to go to another, similar event in Morecambe in future and 94% would recommend it to others.

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This year more businesses which normally close at 5pm stayed open in the evening for Baylight. The report showed that once again, businesses took on extra staff, invested in extra facilities and extended their product range. They promoted Baylight on their own social media and invested in advertising.

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Some 28.000 people are estimated to have visited this year's Baylight festival in Morecambe.Some 28.000 people are estimated to have visited this year's Baylight festival in Morecambe.
Some 28.000 people are estimated to have visited this year's Baylight festival in Morecambe.

One business said: "The event was amazing for the town and it’s a testament to how Morecambe people will come together for events, it’s a fabulous town!"

The organisers continued their policy of buying locally including local artists’ work as part of the show. Many Lancashire supply chain businesses also benefited from the investment in Baylight because 49% of the grant monies were spent in the county including the Morecambe area itself.

Simon Lawrence, director of growth and regeneration for Lancashire County Council, said: "The first two years of Baylight have been a tremendous success, and it's a real credit to Morecambe Sparkle that they've smashed their already ambitious targets for bringing in visitors to lift the local economy at what is usually a quiet time of year.

"This year's Baylight really built on the significant achievements of the inaugural event, and the creative and original installations add up to a lights festival that is unique to Morecambe.

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"Our aim in supporting Baylight was always to see our initial investment produce a much bigger return for the economy, as one of a huge range of projects we've developed through the county council's £12.8m Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, and I'm very pleased to see the results of this study.

"We will continue to offer advice to assist any future programmes and I'd encourage everyone to support Baylight in the future to build on the success of these first two years."