Bumper weekend as festival makes £1.7m

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An estimated 64,000 people attended Lancaster Music Festival this weekend, injecting an extra £1.7m into the city’s economy.

Organisers say trade in pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels was up by between 25 to 50 per cent on last year.

The festival, now in its seventh year, started at 3pm on Thursday October 8 and ended at 1am on Tuesday morning, October 13, taking place across more than 40 indoor and outdoor venues in the city.

Musicians from Africa, North and South America, Canada and Europe, joined local and national acts for the celebration wich has now become the city’s biggest single event of the year.

Festival coordinator Ben Ruth said: “The median estimate of total audience is 64,000 but potentially it could be a lot more.

“The economic benefit to the city stands at around £1.7m, based on each person spending an average of £26 per day. It’s been so much better than we expected. The success of last year has really helped, as has our increased marketing. National exposure, including a place in The Telegraph’s Top 12 events in the UK this weekend, has also been great.

“Our production budget has been £27,000 this year, and that’s £6,000 less than last year, so when you see an extra £700,000 made for the city it’s quite an acheivement.

“Sponsorship has also made a huge difference this year. We have a team of nine core members with seven directors. We incorporated as a Community Interest Company and that has had a profound effect in terms of roles and objectives. None of us are taking a wage, and the money we made will be spent on next year’s festival, which we’ve already started planning.

“We haven’t taken any public money and this is the first year we’re in the black.”

Mr Ruth paid tribute to the scores of volunteers who ensured the festival ran smoothly, along with the directors.

He added: “Special thanks to venue coordinator Adrian Morris, logistics director Nick Rawes, web designer Chris Price, outdoor events and volunteers coordinator Lucy Reynolds, accounts and back office man Stuart Marshall, Carol MacMillan, for the venue and artist contracts, Paul Tarry for the business development, Sarah Thornton for the marketing side, Nick Dagger for the photography and Becca Pattison for the website words.”

The festival is a finalist in the Marketing Lancashire Tourism Awards, with a nomination for the county’s Visitor Event of the Year.

For more on the festival see pages 92 and 110.