Festival could give city a £2m economy boost
IT IS set to spark a hive of excitement and cultural creativity, as well as boosting the city's economy.
Last year, 75,000 people attended the Freedom Festival and it is hoped there will be a similar turnout this weekend.
An independent evaluation revealed that last year's festival provided a valuable boost for the region's economy, generating £2.1 million.
The social and economic analysis discovered that for every £1 invested in Freedom 2010, £5.75 of additional spend was created. It also revealed that businesses experienced a superb boost for trade. McCoy's in Princes Dock Street had double the number of customers that would usually come through the doors.
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This year, the showpiece event, which begins tomorrow, will see the hub of performances held in the historic area of the old Fruit Market, which is renamed the Freedom Quarter.
The creative force behind Freedom, festival director Peter Irvine, said: "We think there is a large opportunity for Freedom to drive the regeneration of the Fruit Market and improve the people of Hull's feeling about their city.
"This is the first year we have concentrated it in one area but people will be going through the city centre to get there. The stronger the core, the wider the radiation."
With critically acclaimed indie rockers Spiritualized and Motown sensation Martha Reeves among the line-up of acts, the festival is set to once again attract a huge amount of visitors. Mr Irvine said: "We hope big acts like this will attract people from outside the city to come into Hull and spend their money."
Cuts to public sector spending meant organisers had to look for other funding sources this year. Hull City Council has funded the festival to the tune of £200,000, £115,000 has come from the Arts Council and additional contributions including private sector sponsors have provided about £80,000.
Pauline Davies, corporate director for regeneration at Hull City Council, is confident the festival will bolster the economy. She said: "Freedom does an enormous amount for the city and when we are bringing in thousands of people, that is going to boost business in the local shops and cafés.
"If we get 75,000 people again, that is a lot of people spending their hard-earned money in our shops and cafés and there is also the opportunity for local produce to be sold."