Festival investment reaps rewards for Morecambe

1 February 2023

Morecambe’s Vintage by the Sea Festival generated more than £1.5 million for the local economy and attracted 45,000 people, a new report shows.

As curators and producers Deco Publique enter the 10th founding year of the award-winning festival, they are sharing the many successes of the event which returned last September after a two-year Covid enforced absence.

Just one of the Morecambe businesses which felt the festival’s positive impact was Brucciani’s which hosted the Destination Morecambe exhibition.

Paolo Brucciani described the event as incredibly busy for the café: “All I can say is this broke the scales, off the chart in numbers! Two days of non-stop customers… we couldn’t have wished for a better turn out.”

The Platform, run by Lancaster City Council, saw a record number of visitors over a single weekend as 15,000 people attended the Vintage Marketplace. The Winter Gardens also had their busiest weekend, attracting 7,500 visitors.

Some 31% of those surveyed were new to the festival and 43% travelled from as far as London, Dumfries and Cardiff.  When surveyed, 93.55% of visitors agreed that Vintage by the Sea highlighted Morecambe’s potential as a tourist destination.

“This event is a complete asset to Morecambe,” said one visitor. “It’s the most vibrant I have ever seen. It completely celebrates all the beautiful things about Morecambe and invites people from all walks of life.”

Vintage by the Sea is part of HemingwayDesign’s family of not-for-profit events and was co-founded in 2013 by Morecambe-born Wayne Hemingway along with Gerardine Hemingway and Morecambe-based culture company, Deco Publique. Last year’s event achieved national press coverage as well as radio interviews and regional television features.

The range of high quality entertainment offered by the festival encouraged visitors from across the generations – 31.36% of survey respondents attended with children while one 89-year-old described the festival as ‘wonderful.’

“I relived my youth and being there brought me so much happiness.” Another said: “We had three generations from Scotland. It was a lovely weekend…absolutely fabulous.”

Last year’s festival was supported with funding from Arts Council England, Lancaster City Council, Morecambe Town Council and Morecambe BID with sponsorship from The Midland Hotel & English Lakes and Taylors Funfairs.

The evaluation report calculated the festival’s positive financial impact to Morecambe as £1,562,148 which in real terms means £16.86 was returned into the local economy for every pound spent on the festival, its programme and delivery. This was money spent by festival visitors in shops, cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants. The report also shows that, on average, overnight visitors stayed two nights in the resort.

A Deco Publique spokesperson said: “2023 marks a decade since the first Vintage by the Sea festival and 10 years since we founded Deco Publique in Morecambe. We are planning for the anniversary festival on the first weekend in September and looking forward to developing a programme that is completely celebratory of Morecambe, its communities and the thousands of visitors who return to Vintage by the Sea every year.”

“Achieving funding that supports the festival is critical to ensuring Vintage by the Sea returns and we anticipate hearing the outcome soon.”

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