Belper’s Arts Festival is set to return – and organisers are predicting it could give the town’s traders a massive £110,000 boost.
A huge programme of events has been lined up for the second-ever festival - with 179 events ranging from workshops and talks to an arts trail, theatre, music, literature, film, photography and ‘open houses’ going off around the town between April 18 and May 31.
And your indispensable guide to the first of the festival events is on pages four and five of this week’s Belper News. Next week we will bring you more so make sure you get your copy of the paper for everything you need to know about the festival.
Last year, around 11,000 people attended the festival with visitors coming from as far afield London, Manchester, Halifax and even Australia and Canada – pumping about £70,000 into the local economy.
This year it is hoped visitors will reach 16,000 with people spending thousands in the shops, restaurants and cafes of Belper.
Organiser George Gunby said: “Behind the creativity is an attempt to grow the arts economy in Belper. The festival will provide entertainment and will be responsible for introducing people to new skills and developing existing ones.
“It’s also a chance to show businesses what the people of Belper are capable of.
“I hope they use the talent that surrounds them. For example at least two feature films are scheduled for production later this year. Belper has a great selection of cafes and restaurants, all of which can benefit from a thriving arts community and economy.”
This year the performers include Canadian Manitoba Hal and John Doble, a New York writer, who is coming to see his play performed.
Internationally acclaimed Derbyshire wildlife artist Linda Wain has also given the festival her backing.
n Turn to Pages 4-5
Let the entertainment begin: organisers and volunteers gather as Belper Arts Festival prepares to get under way this year.