Report number SEG34 of the Executive Member for Growth. (Enclosure)
The Leader introduced report number SEG34 which provided Members with the headline conclusions from the independent evaluation of the economic impacts of the 2016 Gravity Fields Festival. In doing so he thanked and congratulated the steering group. The Leader then introduced Darren Joint, who was the Chairman of Grantham Business Club and by virtue of this, a Member of the Gravity Fields steering group.
Mr Joint stated that he had been involved in the project since its inception, initially as a business sponsor of the event and latterly as a member of the steering group. His business’ association with the festival had helped build its brand recognition and integrity. He added that involvement was consultative and tailored to suit the wants and needs of each business. While his chairmanship of the business club was coming to an end he was keen to continue his involvement with the festival. He said that the appeal of the festival to businesses was growing as its longevity was being established. He added that he was keen to further build the influence of the festival to younger people; while participation from schools had been greater in 2016 than previous festivals, there was still more that could be done.
Some discussion ensued about footfall increases experienced by businesses. Officers advised that some businesses had raised some concerns over the street market that formed part of the final event when market stalls were positioned in front of a number of businesses. More work was to be done working with businesses to see how these concerns could be overcome or improved in the future.
Members were also interested in how the legacy of each of the district’s festivals could be felt year-round. One of the key challenges had been engaging schools; work with primary schools had been particularly assisted in 2016 by their representative on the steering board. Further work was needed to improve engagement with secondary schools. It was noted that inroads had already been made with education establishments for the 2017 Stamford Georgian Festival with strong commitment from the college and schools, some of which had not been involved with festivals previously.
One Member noted the increased ‘buzz’ created by the festival on social media. Feedback from the Arts Council indicated that the festival was one of the top four within the country.
17:03 – As the meeting had been in progress for three hours, in accordance with article 4.6.4 it was proposed, seconded and agreed that the meeting should continue until the business on the agenda had been concluded.
In response to a question, Members were advised that no young people were included on the festival steering group however young people were involved in festival workshops. The interests of young people were represented on the steering group by one head teacher at primary level and one at secondary level.
One Member asked whether a DVD of the festival would be available for purchase. While the Council would keep video footage for posterity, the saleability of any such disc would be lost because of the large amount of social media activity during the festival, including youtube videos.
In summing up, the Leader spoke about increased involvement of businesses and schools. He concluded by thanking the officers who had delivered the festival and those volunteers who had given their time to support it.
Members noted the report.