Tourism chiefs and traders are eagerly anticipating more festival fever as thousands of visitors are set to bring a predicted £2m boost to the Fylde economy.
Hot on the heels of a St Annes Kite Festival greeted as the most successful yet, Lytham gets set to host the exciting new manifestation of the town’s Proms - an eight-day Festival featuring some of the country’s top musical performers along with literature. comedy and other performance events.
Events such as this is really what summer in Fylde is all about – and the more we can do to attract people here, the better
Organisers Cuffe and Taylor claim their forecast of a £2m to the local economy, based on benefits of similar events to cities such as Manchester, is a conservative estimate – and the enthusiastic dual messages from delighted Fylde tourism bosses is ‘bring it on’ and ‘the more the merrier’.
“Events such as this is really what summer in Fylde is all about – and the more we can do to attract people here, the better,” said Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee.
“A few years ago, events such as Lytham Proms, the Wartime Weekend and the Kite Festival didn’t exist - but since being introduced, they have grown so rapidly and shown what is possible.
“I think the national economic situation means there is an immense appetite out there for ‘staycations’ and people will come in great numbers if the right attraction is there.
“The rapid growth of the Proms, the Wartime Weekend and the Kite Festival have shown that and it was borne out last weekend in spectacular style when thousands turned up for the Saturday of the Kite Festival.
“I looked along the Promenade and saw a sea of people as far as the eye could see - I don’t think I have seen anything like that for 20 years.
“It was brilliant and we need to build on that and what has been achieved so far by the Proms organisers.
“Arts festivals in Lytham and St Annes have also come along lately to add to the traditional daws of our club and carnival days and it is brilliant to see people enjoying themselves and spending money.
“Of course, the right weather makes a big difference but the potential is there for more and more events right through the summer calendar and ideas are always very welcome.”
Barbara Mackenzie, president of the Holiday Association of Lytham St Annes, said: “There was hardly a bed to be had in our members’ hotels last weekend.
“It was brilliant to see so many people in town - that is what a resort such as ours is all about.
“As far as Lytham Proms is concerned, that has grown quickly to become one of the really key part of the Fylde calendar and it is great to seeing it growing and potentially attracting even more epople.
“A lot of us have been booked up for months and it is something we especially look forward to every year.”
The new-look Lytham Festival starts on Sunday withe concert by Blackpool singer Rae Morris at the event’s new Lowther Pavilion stage, which will then host Tenors of Rock, Rebecca Ferguson and Scouting for Girls on the following three nights.
Jazz, comedy and literature events feature at various venues around town, while from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, top performers Faithless, the likes of Billy Ocean, Sinitta and Jimmy Somerville, McBusted and West End stars Elaine Paige and Marti Pellow feature on the main arena stage on Lytham Green.
For the first time, a special campsite is being made available for visitors and Cuffe and Taylor director Peter Taylor said: “This marks a huge change for us to move from the three-day Lytham proms on a single site to a week-long Lytham Festival.
“We are really excited and are sure it will be a great success.
“People attending the event over the last four years have been really loyal and have thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of music that has been available.
“We were not going to change that because it is a formula that works. However, we want to offer people more choice and much more in the way of entertainment.”
Robert Silverwood, vice-chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: “Lytham Proms has provided a brilliant boost of local businesses over recent years and the event being extended is really exciting.
“During the Festival, people will be her looking to eat, drink and browse the shops and the fact that they will potentially in town for longer is a major lift for us all.”