Stone Food & Drink Festival 2016 Survey has shown that the local economic impact to be in the region of £750,000*.
Students and staff from Staffordshire University Business School conducted the survey over the weekend of the festival, and comprised interviews with 611 visitors to Westbridge Park and covered questions ranging from average spend to group demographic and visitor satisfaction. Once again the results have proven a boon to the not-for-profit event, offering a useful insight into visitor experience as well as a way to gauge the festival’s economic impact.
65% of the sample were return visitors suggesting strong visitor satisfaction whilst the event continues to attract a new visitors each year, backed by 60% of those sampled saying they would actively promote the event to friends and colleagues. Of those sampled, 94.6% said they were ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Satisfied’ with their experience; the remaining 5.1% claiming to be ‘Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied’.
Both the economic and visitor satisfaction results are of particular interest to the team of volunteers that organises the event, as Chairman Richard Stevens explains: “It’s great to get feedback straight from the horse’s mouth – the event is run entirely by volunteers who put on a fantastic event for people to enjoy whilst bringing visitors into the town to boost the local economy. The survey results help us ensure that we are meeting both of these aims and can continue to improve the event in coming years.
“We are particularly pleased with the 2016 visitor numbers as we matched those of 2016 – welcoming over 15,000 people through the gates of Westbridge Park over the three days – despite torrential rain on Saturday. The fact that we can still attract such crowds in inclement weather added to the fact that we have a growing waiting list of traders wishing to take a stand at the event is testament to its success and certainly bodes well for future growth.”
Student Jade Bradley who is analysing the data said “In terms of visitor demographics, as may be expected for a town centre event the majority of visitors – 67.1% of the sample – hailed from within Stone itself, but a healthy 32.9% travelled from outside town.”
Suggesting the festival has a truly universal appeal, the age groups were evenly spread over 16-34; 35-54 and 55+.
Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development at Staffordshire University Business School who led the survey team says: “It’s good to see a volunteer organisation have such big economic impact for the town of Stone and the results confirms that this is such an enjoyable event! It provides excellent training in research methods for a huge group of students as well as experience of social media marketing which will help them to find jobs once they graduate. “The use of social media may be one of the reasons why we had such an increase in people buying their tickets online in advance this year allowing them to both use the fast queue and save money.”
The 2017 Stone Food & Drink festival is set to take place on Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th October. For more information on the event, including how to get involved as a volunteer, visit www.stonefooddrink.org.uk.
*Total net income generated for local area based on findings of 2014, 2015 and 2016 report. Figures calculated by applying the Additionality Equation to estimated visitor spend; as recommended by BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)