Sound of music returns to Wakefield

Wakefield City Centre is set to come alive to the sound of music next summer when Long Division makes a return thanks to support from Wakefield BID.

The multi venue city centre festival was launched in 2011 and ran in Wakefield for six years, taking place in various venues ranging from the Cathedral and the Orangery to smaller locations.

After taking a break in 2017 to consider new ways forward, festival organisers have joined forces with Wakefield BID and Long Division will return for 2018 with plans to involve more venues, more artists and branching out to new forms of entertainment such as comedy to attract even greater numbers of visitors to the city.

“Long Division grew steadily during its early years but when visitor numbers began to plateau we decided to take a year out and think about where we could take it,” explained festival director Dean Freeman, who gave up a job in the NHS and cashed in his pension to create Long Division.

“There was a genuine question mark as to whether it could happen again as we couldn’t see a way it could grow but then the BID came on board. Their support has massively revitalised it and we are tremendously grateful to them.”

In the past Long Division has attracted on average 1,800 festival goers bringing in some £100,000 to the local economy in terms of secondary spend over and above transport and ticket costs. The aim is to increase this significantly by getting more businesses involved in the festival which is scheduled for June 1-3 next year.

A key aim for Wakefield BID, which was launched earlier this year, is to market Wakefield and attract visitors from far and wide.

“Long Division has a committed following of festival goers and we want them to continue to come to Wakefield and bring their friends. There is great potential to grow Long Division still further and make it a major event for visitors. The festival thrives on holding events in venues of all shapes and sizes so we would urge any business wanting to raise their profile to get in touch and get involved,” said BID manager Elizabeth Murphy.

Although details for the festival are still being finalised it is planned to begin on Friday June 1 with an evening opening event, continuing from 12 noon to 11pm on the Saturday with as many as 20 different stages running at various times. It is hoped to attract a well-known performer to take to the precinct stage on the Sunday.