Friday, 9 July 2010

This town is sold out

One of the things I do is help programme the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival. last night there were three events. New writing in the theatre, Flamenco at the Trades Club and 'dead-pan comedian' Rich Hall at the Picturehouse. All sold out.

So in a town of 4000 people 800 were at arts events. 20% of the entire population. On a Thursday night. Of course a lot of those almost certainly came from out of town. Bringing their money with them. That's about £12000 in ticket spend plus all the drinks they bought, meals they had, babysitters they paid for... that's a decent amount of economic activity in one small town midweek. And there's this amount of activity going on for two weeks. that's a lot of lives altered in small ways, and a lot of businesses supported...

And the point I'm making in this none too subtle way, is that the arts matter. They matter in terms of quality of life, they matter for the things we learn and the way they change our relationship with the world around us. The way they shake up our world-view. And they matter financially and economically.

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