Funding plans for East Lindsey festivals

EAST Lindsey District Council’s Executive Board has agreed to invest £350,000 into cultural events that will raise the profile of the district as a visitor destination and give local people the chance to develop new skills.

The decision, which is still subject to full council’s approval in November, would build on the success of events such as SO Festival, which provides an important boost to the economy, along with other events like Wolds Words in Louth and the Festival of Bathing Beauties in Mablethorpe.

Since first embarking on a festival programme in 2009, the Council has continued to use cultural events as a way to broaden the tourist offer to attract new visitors and create opportunities for local people to volunteer for performances and as support staff in a variety of roles.

In September the Council announced its intention to develop a programme of events for 2012 branded East Lindsey Live, which will include market towns and other communities across the District and the funding, if approved by Council, along with that from key strategic partners, such as Arts Council England, will achieve that.

As well as events from April to October, some organised by the community and some by the Council and its partners, the 2012 programme would climax with a nine day SO Festival taking place District wide with the final three days being SO Festival 2012 in Skegness.

London 2012 has recently confirmed that the Olympic Torch will travel through Louth, Legbourne, Withern, Maltby le Marsh, Mablethorpe, Trusthorpe, Sutton on Sea, Mumby, Hogsthorpe, Ingoldmells, Winthorpe, Skegness and Wainfleet All Saints as it makes its way from Cleethorpes to Lincoln on June 27, 2012, tying in with SO Festival.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure at the Council, Coun Adam Grist, said this would be an important investment by the Council: “We’ve been building up to this for some time and in 2012 the eyes of the world will be on the UK for the Olympic Games. We need to use 2012 as a springboard into the future and ensure we generate significant levels of publicity for our District which makes people want to come and visit.

“As well as attracting more visitors we want to use cultural events to inspire people to develop new skills by volunteering and to take part in sport and leisure to improve their health. We also want to involve businesses to ensure they reap the benefits of any investment we make in events and festivals into the future.”

In early November, the council launched the East Lindsey Live brand to promote the events it’s planning and those of other organisations and the event accreditation process is already open at www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/eastlindseylive. By having an event accredited organisers will receive free publicity to support that of their own.