Film festival is drawing in younger crowds

Statistics have revealed that a Berwick festival is helping to attract younger people to the town.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 8:24 am
Audience at The Maltings for Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival.

The figures show that 45 per cent of the audience at the 2018 Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival were under 35, with 56 per cent under 40.

“We feel that is a really important statistic,” festival manager Diana Stevenson told a meeting of Berwick Town Council on Monday.

“We know that the majority of those young people are not from Berwick. We also believe that if young people in Berwick can see an event in this town which is bringing in young people from other parts of the UK they are more likely to attend so we feel that, bit by bit, we are really able to engage more young people in Berwick in this event.”

Last year’s festival attracted 9,500 visits, an increase of two per cent on the previous year.

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“The really significant increase last year was the box office attendance which was up 47 per cent,” Diana revealed. “That’s significant not just because it means more people are coming but that they are prepared to pay to come.”

Box office data also shows that 34 per cent of the festival audience came from a TD postcode, followed by 23 per cent from London.

“People in Berwick are really taking the festival to their hearts but London being the second biggest postcode shows the festival is relevant to people across the UK and, particularly, from London,” said Diana. “People who are really informed about what we do are making the commitment to travel to Berwick to attend this event so we are really happy with those statistics.”

Peter Taylor, festival director, said the event had gone fromstrength to strength since it was founded in 2005 and was spreading Berwick’s name around the world. The 2019 event is from September 19-22.

It features a programme of films at the Maltings, exhibitions and installations around the town, special events, talks and performances and activities for school groups, young people and families.

The festival has confirmed funding from Arts Council England until 2022 and is also supported by Northumberland County Council. It must raise around £100,000 a year on top of that to continue.