Last year’s Festival of Thrift at Kirkleatham delivered a much-welcomed boost for the area according to figures released in its annual report.
Over the course of the event on September 17 and 18, the combined spending of the event’s 35,000 visitors topped £500,000.
The details emerged from an impact report carried out by the Festival organisers which also identified that expenditure from visitors supported 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
In addition the event saw an increase in tourism into Kirkleatham and Redcar, attracting visitors from a wide-ranging area stretching into North Yorkshire and beyond.
The report found that there was a visitor from outside the region in 13% of groups attending and 4% stayed overnight for an average of two nights.
The average party size consisted of three adults and three children, making it very much a family event.
Almost one in 10 visitors came for two full days while half said they spent several hours at the event, an unusually high ‘dwell time’ for a festival.
Overwhelmingly 100% of people responding to the survey rated the Festival positively with 95 % describing the Festival as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
A high degree of loyalty to the event was also evident with almost half those attending having visited the event at its former home in Darlington.
The Festival had a positive impact on Redcar town centre too. The event led to perceptions of the town improving for 63% of visitors.
The number of visitors increased too, with 10% visiting Redcar before the event and 15% visiting afterwards, and spending an average of £10 per head in the town.
Festival of Thrift director Stella Hall said the report highlights the growing success of the event and the positive impact it has on Redcar and the wider Tees Valley region.
“We are so pleased that we were able to help bring some good news to Redcar with last year’s event,” she said.
“Feedback received in our evaluation also showed that following on from the Festival it has produced the less tangible but equally important benefit of increased pride in place.
“This has helped to produce a catalyst for change and increased activity and is something we aim to build on in this year’s event.
“The Festival team is looking forward to working closely with Redcar and Cleveland Council to increase the economic impact of our event for Redcar and the wider region.”
Festival co-founder Wayne Hemingway said: “Tens of thousands of people know that the Festival of Thrift is a great weekend out but these figures are really helping to prove how arts-led festivals can widely engage, create employment, help with business start-ups and contribute significantly to local economies.”
Councillor Carl Quartermain, cabinet member for jobs, skills & leisure, said: “The confirmation that the Festival of Thrift has provided such a good financial boost to Redcar and Cleveland’s economy is very good news. The Festival is a welcome addition to the council’s events calendar and helps showcase our borough to visitors from across the region.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to come down and enjoy what should be another excellent event later this year from this national award-winning festival.”
The 2017 event takes place on September 23 and 24 at Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds. Further details: www.festivalofthrift.co.uk