New figures on BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter and the benefits to the city and surrounding area have been released.
Earlier in the year the University of Exeter estimated that the Big Weekend would bring about £3.5 million of benefit to the local economy. Visit South Devon has said that tourism alone would have seen an uplift of around £1.7 million as a direct result of the event at the end of May.
And latest figures show just how popular the spin-off Radio 1 Academy proved. Held over two days at the Phoenix in Exeter (as well as at venues in Teignbridge) the Academy triggered a massive 98 million impressions on Twitter for the #R1Academy hashtag. More than 8,000+ young people enjoyed a series of live ‘masterclasses’ from acts like Tom Odell and Jake Bugg, as well as workshops and training events designed at inspiring those who attended to work in the creative industries.
Patrick Cunningham, Director of Exeter Phoenix, said: “The enthusiasm and excitement that Radio One's visit generated was very evident and Exeter was lucky to benefit from it. This was an inspirational experience that will clearly live long in the memory for those who participated and will help guide them in their career choices. The Academy was a high quality production involving internationally-recognised artists and broadcasters – the type of event that we would hope to see more of in the future.”
To view a new video from the Academy, click here, the password is Academy
Held over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 28/29, the Big Weekend saw headline acts including Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Ellie Goulding and Craig David perform in the estuary setting of Powderham Castle.
Hosted by Radio 1 DJs, Radio 1’s Big Weekend is Europe’s largest free ticketed festival. Up to 50,000 people enjoyed the two-day festival with the majority of the free tickets going to residents of Teignbridge, Exeter and the surrounding areas.
The 2016 event was produced in partnership with Exeter City and Teignbridge District Councils at Powderham Castle. Each council committed £100,000 and worked hard behind the scenes in the months leading up to the Big Weekend on tasks including implementing a transport and travel plan, litter picking and street clean-ups, parking, licensing and support services.
Exeter City Council Leader Pete Edwards said the positive promotion generated by the event had “exceeded my wildest dreams.”
“Exeter was beamed into homes across the world via radio, television, website and social media. What better stage could the city have had?
“We desperately wanted to get things right and I think we have carried it off. There was a variance of £49,956 for each authority but, in the grand scheme of things, I feel it is a small price to pay for bringing world-class entertainment to so many people and opening up a wonderful window for the world to view Exeter.”
Cllr Edwards said that a ‘belt and braces’ transport plan, with greener ways of travelling to the event, was put into place so that the road infrastructure could best support 25,000 people heading to and from Powderham each day. The plan allowed congestion to be kept to a minimum. Despite widespread advertising and getting in touch with ticket holders directly, not as many people as had been expected took advantage of the bus travel and that caused a variance in the original budget.