AN independent analysis of the International Mersey River Festival shows it attracted 200,000 visitors – many from across the UK – and generated almost £7 million for the Liverpool economy.
The three day event, which took place from 13 – 15 June, brought the city’s waterfront to life with a series of nautical events involving Tall Ships and Dutch barges as well as canoe pole and a raft race.
It also featured Music on the Waterfront concerts at the Pier Head with performances from The Christians, Rhydian, Jaki Graham, Esco Williams and a DJ set from BBC 6 Music’s Craig Charles.
A study conducted by The Murray Consultancy has revealed that visitors from outside Liverpool City Region spent just under £4 million – around £80 per person, with local residents spending a total of £3 million.
One in every four visitors had travelled from elsewhere – mainly London, Newcastle, Yorkshire and North Wales.
One in three was staying overnight, with the average break lasting four nights.
Around half of those attending had chosen to attend because of their interest in maritime events, while one in three had already seen other events in the city previously.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The International Mersey River Festival and On the Waterfront concerts are firmly established as must-see events in Liverpool’s cultural calendar.
“It is fantastic that they are attracting so many people not just from Liverpool, but also from further afield and providing a much needed boost to the local economy.
“It has been a spectacular summer of events in Liverpool with the return of the Giants, Liverpool International Music Festival and the Tour of Britain, but we will not rest on our laurels because we know how important large scale, free public events are for our residents and to attract new people to the city.”
Meanwhile, a social media campaign is being launched this week to promote the Mayoral 100 Club, a sponsorship initiative launched by Mayor Joe Anderson to further develop the festival.
Almost £100,000 has so far been raised through over 30 businesses signing up to sponsor the festival. In return they receive access to networking opportunities, VIP festival hospitality, member newsletters, use of the 100 Club logo and branding opportunities. The firms that have already signed up include Albert Dock Liverpool, Bibby Group, TJ Morris, Peel Ports, Laing O’Rourke, The Contact Company and Liverpool ONE.
Three of the companies will be selected at random to become title sponsors of the 2015 International Mersey River Festival, the 2015 On the Waterfront Concerts and a maritime educational programme which will reach 47 schools and 64,000 families. Their logos will also be featured on advertising banners across the city, including on major arterial routes.
Mayor Anderson added: “This year’s River Festival was the most successful ever and a small investment by companies gives a massive return to help us further develop our events.
“It is brilliant that so many organisations have signed up so far and it shows that there is a real appetite from external organisations to support our events programmes. They recognise that as a city we excel at staging outdoor events, and as a result hundreds of thousands of people come and spend time and money in Liverpool.
“This positive economic impact benefits the city, creates jobs, promotes our offer further afield and, equally as important, generates a feel-good factor in the city.”