Durham Lumiere beamed £5.8m into the local economy, says report

Report by Public Knowledge shows response is positive to the event and councillors could agree to commission a 2015 Lumiere

Lumiere Festival opens to the public in Durham. The Elephantastic light show
Lumiere Festival opens to the public in Durham. The Elephantastic light show

A festival of light which draws thousands of tourists to a North East city is worth £5.8m to the local economy, a report shows.

The report on Durham Lumiere 2013 also urges councillors sitting on Durham County Council to bring back the event in 2015.

The paper shows £500,000 was spent directly on contracts locally to supply the 2013 event, which attracted 175,000 visitors over four days, resulting in more than 20,000 overnight stays.

The event also attracted more than £3m worth of media coverage.

The council has had an estimated 1,358% return on its £400,000 commissioning fee, experts Public Knowledge say.

A survey of visitors to the 2013 event found that 81% rated their experience as good or very good, 88% said the atmosphere was good or very good, and 80% rated the art installations as good. In addition, 95% said they’d like it return to Durham and 90% said they would attend if it did.


Council Leader, Coun Simon Henig, said: “Having benefitted from working with Artichoke to see three Lumiere festivals in Durham now, it is clear that the economic boost the event delivers is consistent and significant.

“There are not many business deals which see such a phenomenal return on investment and which allow us to show the world what a fantastic destination Durham is.

“There is also a well demonstrated appetite to see a similar spectacular festival in 2015 and we have been fortunate enough very recently to see that belief endorsed by Arts Council England (ACE) which has agreed to increase its financial support to see Lumiere return.

“We have to be realistic though, to make this happen we will need to match ACE’s £500,000 grant in the form of a commissioning fee and even so a significant amount of sponsorship from our partners will need to be raised.

“Lumiere has put us firmly on the world map and has become our signature event.”

If the council’s cabinet agrees the report, the festival will be commissioned for 2015 and the council would also commit to a further £100,000 of in-kind support to ensure that the close working and team approach with Artichoke continues.


David Whetstone
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