Baylight’23 stormed through its target for visitor numbers in the February Half Term event in Morecambe, despite the rain every evening. An independent Evaluation Report out this week from Red Research has revealed that an estimated 21,000 people attended the 3-day event on Morecambe seafront – that’s more than double the target of 10,000. The spending power of the Morecambe community, visitors and staying tourists at Baylight produced an economic impact of over £800,000 representing a fantastic return on the investment from the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, Morecambe Town Council and Morecambe BID for putting on the event.
The stunning installations from national and international artists along the festival trail delighted visitors with the interactive effects and shimmering lights reflected in the sea along the site. The Report found that 98% of those interviewed said they would like to go to another, similar event in Morecambe in the future and 97% would recommend it to others. Many of Morecambe’s businesses which normally close at 5pm stayed open in the evening for Baylight. The Report showed that some businesses took on extra staff, invested in extra facilities and extended their product range. 88% promoted Baylight on their own social media and 31% invested in advertising. Many Lancashire supply chain businesses also benefitted from the investment in Baylight, with 44% of the grant funding spent in the County, including the Morecambe area itself.
County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for Economic Development and Growth, said:
“It was clear whilst Baylight ’23 was underway that it had created a real buzz in Morecambe, and I’m very pleased that we now have the evidence to show what a tremendous success it has been.”
“Despite the weather being less than kind people turned out in their thousands to support the event and experience the lights against the spectacular setting of Morecambe Bay.”
“The Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth fund was created precisely to support this kind of activity where our investment has helped to lift the local economy now as well as sowing the seed for a much bigger benefit over the longer term.”
“It’s a real credit to the Morecambe Sparkle team that they’ve smashed their target for Baylight ’23, and demonstrated that there’s a real appetite for a winter lights festival in Morecambe which we’ll be helping them to build on with the second lights festival event next year.”
County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for Economic Development and Growth.