Ship shape feedback for River Festival

An independent report has revealed that 2016’s International Mersey River Festival has been the most successful to date.

The report revealed that from Friday 3 to Saturday 5 June, the free festival attracted 250,000 festival-goers, with a massive 200,000 of these visitors travelling from outside Liverpool to be part of the maritime and music celebrations.

It resulted in bringing in £13.7million to the local economy – up by £5.2million on 2015. The report found:

  • More than £4m was spent on food and drink
  • £3million spent on accommodation
  • £2million in the city’s retail area
  • The remainder was spent on other visitor attractions, tickets for events and merchandise at the festival

The study also found that:

  • This year’s event was more of a family affair, with nearly twice as many families enjoying the activities – 41.2 per cent of festival goers – than 2015.
  • Overseas visitors travelled from countries such as Ireland, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy.
  • Out of the 34.5% people staying in hotels, 68% of these people who were staying for at least one night, and four out of five of these were hotels based in Liverpool.
  • Other than taking part in the River Festival, other popular activities across the weekend include dining out, visiting the Albert Dock, Liverpool ONE and the museums.
  • The overall satisfaction ratings with the event came out as 9.4 out of ten, with people in particular praising the location, the quality of the offer and the organisation of the festival.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We know that whenever we stage a maritime event they are hugely popular.

“We were really proud of River Festival’s 2016 programme – there really was something for everyone to enjoy, including street entertainment, Tall Ships, air displays and fantastic live music from start to finish.

“This independent report has really surpassed our expectations. We are particularly delighted that so many people from outside of the city came along to take part in the event, bringing a huge and welcome boost to the local economy.

“We have huge ambitions for this festival moving forward, and are already looking ahead to the future and how the whole region can be part of the celebrations, bringing a new dynamic to the event.

“The River is the lifeblood of the city region, and there is real potential for developing a programme that will bind us all together. Whether you’re in Southport or Runcorn, the River gives us a sense of history and a sense of place and it really is our calling card to the rest of the world.

“It’s an exciting time and talks are already taking place regarding a potential month-long festival which incorporates different events from business to environmental.

“Once again, the importance and value of cultural events has been highlighted, but let’s not forget there’s more to come with the Liverpool International Music Festival later this month and the new-look fireworks display in November, so here’s to more fantastic free cultural spectaculars!”

 When asked for feedback on the event, the following comments were given by interviewees:

  • “Really good event, nice location.” (Eire)
  • “Surprised at how nice it is” (Sweden)
  • “Great, good variety, great location, there’s history.” (New Zealand)
  • “Absolutely brilliant, better than I expected. Very helpful people and we’ll definitely come back.” (Essex)
  • “Good variety for all ages and tastes.” (Scotland)
  • “Well organised and a wide range of activities.” (Doncaster)

 The report was produced by The Murray Consultancy Ltd and the executive summary is available online at

Liverpool Waterfront