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Riverside Festival’s boost to local economy

Published on Friday, June 15, 2018

Image: Riverside Festival

VISITOR numbers to Leicester’s Riverside Festival have more than doubled in the last five years and brought a major economic boost to local businesses and traders, new figures show.

About 40,000 people attended this year’s festival on June 2 and 3 – a huge increase on the 18,000 who attended in 2014, and 10,000 more than the 30,000 who came in 2017.

Figures presented to the City Centre Tourism Board this week showed that this year’s event brought in an estimated £1.32 million to the local economy, in terms of money visitors spent in local shops, bars, restaurants and goods bought from local stallholders at the festival, as well as on local transport, petrol and parking.

Calculations presented at the meeting showed that every £1 spent by Leicester City Council on staging this year’s Riverside Festival brought an estimated £73.33 to the local economy.

This year’s Riverside Festival benefited from good weather, and a number of new attractions making their debut – these included the Broken Records Swing Dance festival in Castle Gardens, and the Art on the River scheme giving artists the chance to display and sell their original artwork along the banks of the River Soar.

Leicester deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “It is very encouraging to see how this festival has grown in popularity and size over the last few years, and these figures demonstrate the benefits it has brought to our local economy.

“Every pound we spend on staging the festival is money well spent because it brings vastly more into the city, as visitors spend their money with local businesses, restaurants, shops and stallholders.

“This year’s festival also saw a number of new events, to ensure we continue to offer a diverse range of attractions for all ages and tastes.

“It’s fantastic to see it doing so well and bringing so many people to this vibrant part of the city.”

The Riverside Festival is now in its 21st year, and regularly includes a programme of street entertainment and live music, a funfair and children’s activities, a street market selling arts, crafts and food, as well as plenty of river-based activities including a narrow boat rally, rides and demonstrations.

It is supported by the Canal and River Trust, live events company JTH and
Westcotes ward community funding.

Westcotes Ward councilor and deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell added: “Riverside has grown year on year, and it is a fantastic family event not just for local people, but for visitors from across the region to explore this wonderful part of the city.”

The Riverside Festival marks the beginning of Leicester’s summer festivals and events season.

Forthcoming events include the Rathayatra Festival of Chariots on July 15, the Leicester Caribbean Carnival on August 4, the Castle Classic and Ride Leicester cycle races and rides on August 12, the City Festival from August 18 to 27, and Leicester Pride on September 1.

For details of all summer events in Leicester visit: