International Fest big earner for city

AN EVALUATION  has revealed that Manchester International Festival is a multi-million pound earner for the local economy.

It also confirmed that and the region is a leading centre for culture on the world’s stage.

The festival (MIF), a biennial event established in 2007, celebrates global diversity by hosting original, new work and special events of internationally renowned and emerging artists and performers from across the world.

A report presented at the council executive on Wednesday 13 January 2010 recognised both the success of the 2009 events, which brought more than £35million-worth of revenue to the city, and the future potential of MIF – next staged in 2011.

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure said: “Although this was only the second festival, there is already the sense that this is now part of the city’s fabric and I’m excited to see what MIF has in store for us in 2011.”

In 2009, performances premiered at the festival included Rufus Wainwright’s debut opera Prima Donna (which is currently appearing in New York, Toronto and Paris), Turner-Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller,  synth-pioneers Kraftwerk, and Zaha Hadid’s extraordinary Bach concert chamber.

Independent cultural advisor, John Knell, who contributed to the evaluation, states that the festival’s “edge, personality and international impact…must be preserved and invested in.”

With an estimated economic impact of £35.7million, MIF is instrumental in attracting tourism and inward investment to the area, and will now be developed to further transform the city’s cultural, creative and commercial possibilities and establish it as a global brand.

It was important in 2009 that there were opportunities for all Manchester residents to be involved in the festival and this was achieved through audience access programmes, discounted tickets and free events.

More than a third of the programme in 2009 was free of charge, meaning it was accessible to everyone regardless of income, and the decision to move the festival’s Pavilion to Albert Square improved the visibility of the festival to passers-by.

Last year’s programme also sought to build and develop strong community ties; 331 volunteers were involved, more than 2,000 people took part in educational activities, some 12,500 children and parents flocked to the Great Indoors weekend at the Town Hall and around 25,000 people turned up to witness Deller’s Procession along Deansgate.

Reviews cited in the report recognise the strong community element present in the 2009 festival.

Manchester City Council will now be asked to approve revenue support of £2m for MIF 2011. It anticipates a further report from festival director, Alex Poots, outlining his exciting plans for 2011 building on the achievements of the festival in 2009.

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