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Ashbourne Festival pumps £100k into town's economy

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 08, 2012

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A FESTIVAL fortnight held in Ashbourne each summer pumps more than £100,000 into the town’s economy, a study has revealed.

Ashbourne Festival runs for two weeks each summer and last year, as part of a funding agreement with the Arts Council, commissioned a study into the economic affect of the festival on the town.

The study revealed that an astonishing 19,000-strong audience attends events during the fortnight, with an audience of around 13,000 enjoying the International Streetfest weekend alone.

A formula combining questionnaire results with audience figures calculated that Streetfest alone boosts the area’s economy by £121,000.

As volunteers once again start finalising details for the 2012 Ashbourne Festival, organisers are hoping to build on the results of the study, conducted by students at the University of Derby, after 70 per cent of businesses agreed that the festival had a positive impact with increased trade for the two days of Streetfest.

Festival committee member, Tim Challans said some businesses struggled during Streetfest as crowds of spectators blocked access to their shops. He said: “That’s something we need to tackle in the way we manage the audience to make sure they don’t block shop fronts.

“Even businesses who felt it didn’t help their trade felt it was a good thing for Ashbourne.

“General conclusions are that it increased expenditure in the town in retail and hospitality and enhanced the image of the town.

“75 per cent of businesses would be willing to endorse Streetfest and encourage it.” Each year International Streetfest features a host of street performers from around the globe each year, including acrobats, comedy performers, contortionists and dancers; while the two-week festival features art exhibitions, lectures, craft workshops, music and dance performances, a comedy night and Picnic in the Park.

Councillor Denise Brown said: “It’s nice to get the facts and figures. Personally I think it’s amazing. £121,000 into the economy is astounding.” This year’s Ashbourne Festival is from Friday, June 22 until Sunday, July 8, with International Streetfest on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24.

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