Thousands more flock to Morecambe’s Baylight Festival in 2024

22 April 2024

Morecambe’s popular Baylight festival brought even more visitors to the town in the February Half Term week in its second year. An independent Evaluation Report out this week from Red Research has revealed that an estimated 28,000 people attended the 3-night event on Morecambe seafront – a third more than in 2023. Organisers Morecambe Sparkle CIC attribute this in part to the popular Under the Sea Parade along Marine Road Central which took place on the Friday night.

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

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. One business commented:

“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 benefitted 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.

“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.”

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