The Outwith Festival 2019 was a boon for Dunfermline’s economy, attracting more than 9,000 attendances and a spend of £334,000. This is one of the main findings of economic impact research completed today. Although the festival is only in its third year, the report also found that the event is already attracting visitors from the rest of Scotland, the UK and overseas with over one in five festivalgoers travelling from outside of Fife.
Comparisons with last year’s report reveal that audiences in 2019 increased by 26% on 2018’s figure of 7,100. However, it is also the level of spending and the length of stay which have stepped up this year. As the festival has grown the net economic impact has more than doubled compared with 2018’s £155,000 as the event draws more people from further afield, spending more money in Dunfermline and staying longer. The proportion of people staying one night or more rose from 11% in 2018 to 15% in 2019. This year the average spend per festivalgoer was £51 and those that went for a meal and drink spent 59% more than the average reaching £81. Nearly eighty percent of festivalgoers said the September arts festival was the main reason for their visit to Dunfermline, a rise from 72% last year.
Equally important though is how people rate their experience, increasing the likelihood of them returning in future years. Feedback on the Festival experience was very strong with 96% rating Outwith very good or good and nine of out of ten people said they would return to the Festival.
Delivering Dunfermline, which organised the Festival in conjunction with Avocado Sweet, Fire Station Creative and Write Rammy, commissioned the economic research consultancy, 4-Consulting to measure the impact of the Festival in both 2018 and 2019. The research in 2019 is based on 2,355 advance ticket sales through ONFife’s Box Office and over 250 online and face-to-face surveys.
Audiences attended 74 film, music, comedy, literature, theatre and art events in 23 venues with over 300 performances from 3-8 September.
Chris Foote, Delivering Dunfermline said: “The economic impact findings are even better than we expected for a Festival that only started three years ago; the festival has brought in over three times what it cost.
“And while our costs are offset by support from our funders and by ticket income, they’re already much lower, thanks to the time and skills that the Festival partners and volunteers continue to donate all year round.”
Jane Livingstone and Michelle McWilliams of Avocado Sweet said: “Apart from the money coming into the local economy, the less quantifiable benefits are considerable. As a result of the media coverage generated by this event Dunfermline’s national profile is rising. The Festival also provides a platform for local artists, performers and community groups – many of whom had a greater impact by working together.”
Outwith Festival has received funding from EventScotland, Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Fife Council and Fife Events Fund. The Festival would also like to thank supporters: ONFife, Heritage Lottery Fund, Police Scotland and Fife College.