Saturday, 11 July 2009

My phone's on vibrate for Rufus

To Manchester for the Manchester International Festival (MIF) and the opening night of Prima Donna, the debut opera by Rufus Wainwright.
Rufus turned up to meet his public dressed like a Victorian undertaker and was to be seen pressing the flesh in the bar at the interval amid the Mancunian glitterati, orange-hued WAGs and bemused opera fans.
The show, needless to say, was a sell out and warmly received by the diverse crowd - if not all the critics. Rufus even turned up on stage to take three curtain calls.
The previous night local lads Elbow had taken to the stage at the city's Bridgewater Hall with the Halle Orchestra for what will be remembered by many as the highlight of the festival.
But it's not just about the evening events. Last Friday, the daytime programme included Gustav Metzger's public art installation, Flailing Trees, in the Manchester Peace Garden and a MIF-inspired walking tour of Manchester's architecture.
The programme runs until July 19th and has brought in visitors en masse to the city, boosting the local visitor economy.
So are culture breaks the new seaside holidays?
The Northwest was the first English region to develop a Major Events Strategy. Since 2004 major events have brought in over £145m to the region, according to figures from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
The first Manchester International Festival in 2007 attracted an audience of over 200,000 and had an estimated economic impact of £28.8m, while the 2008 Liverpool Biennial brought 451,000 visitors to the city and generated a spend of £26.6m.
So clearly cultural festivals are providing a hugely valuable to boost tourism across the Northwest, but is it just about the numbers? What really makes a festival a success and do local people actually get involved?
Over to you ...

No comments:

Post a Comment