Month-long feast of events aims to put Berwick on the festival map
BERWICK is aiming to put itself well and truly on the cultural map by hosting a festival month which it is hoped will increase the number of late season visitors to the town.
The organisers of three multi-day festivals - the Food Festival, Film and Media Arts Festival and Frontier Music Festival - have agreed to work more closely to maximise the effectiveness of their marketing and promotional activities.
Joe Lang, a board member of Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, said: “With all three events taking place in rapid succession, there are clear benefits in promoting them together as Berwick’s ‘festival month’.
“An annual month of food, film and music festivals also gives Berwick something to shout about - a distinctive and promotable asset that sets us apart from other towns as a visitor attraction.”
The trio of events, scheduled to be held between September 7 and October 10 this year, already attract thousands of visitors to the town in the shoulder months, helping to extend Berwick’s tourist season into the autumn.
Admissions and ticket sales for the three festivals totalled almost 12,000 last year - and all three have plans to be bigger and better this year with at least 17 days of events in store for Festival Month 2013.
Joe, along with Graham Head of Berwick Food Festival and Hamish Bell from the Frontier Music Festival, went along to Berwick Town Council’s events committee to ask for its support in helping to maximise its potential.
“Our immediate concern is the 2013 season but we are also looking to the longer term,” explained Joe, “particularly now that the film festival has Arts Council backing to stage full-sized five-day festivals for three years.”
They would like to see Berwick ‘dressed up’ to look the part of a festival venue, with flags and banners for the duration of Festival Month and in the run-up period.
“In the past it has been too easy for visitors to come to the town during a festival and still be unaware that it is taking place,” said Joe.
Clerk Sue Finch revealed that 20 new banners have been ordered to decorate Marygate for the Riding of the Bounds in May. It was felt these could also be used to promote Festival Month.
Councillors were also happy to give their backing to a request for more prominent promotional signage to be erected at the council’s four specific sites around the town.
Coun Jennifer Waterhouse, committee chairman, said: “We welcome this initiative and the town council will do its best to support it.”
Coun Jim Smith added: “The food, film and music festivals have all been successful and I think it’s a good idea for all three to work together for advertising and promotional purposes. It’s always great to see the town dressed up for special occasions. It makes it look much more attractive to visitors.”
Festival Month organisers also asked the council to support the development of a compact website to promote the events but councillors felt their own upgraded website would be suitable.
“The last thing this town needs is more websites,” said Coun John Robertson. “We are in the process of upgrading the town council website which will enable it to market the town as well as provide information on council business.
“We are well placed to market Festival Month through our website and other avenues such as our events leaflet.”
An events committee sub-group, together with Festival Month representatives, will look at the ideas in more detail.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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