£100m added to the economy by the Birmingham 2022 Festival

The Birmingham 2022 Festival, a six-month arts and creative festival that ran alongside the Commonwealth Games added £100m to the region’s economy.

A series of independent reports revealed the £12m Festival also added a further £87m in GVA – which includes £47m directly from tourists. The research has assessed the success of the programme and how the legacy of the games can be built upon.

Starting in March 2022, the Festival featured a range of projects and initiatives in an effort to cement the city’s reputation as an international centre of cultural and creative excellence. 

It was enjoyed by 2.46m visitors in total, with 96% of attendees rating their experience as good or excellent. It also engaged with 41,894 residents, of which eight out of 10 said it had improved their own perceptions of where they live.

More than half of its workforce of 4,954 staff and 1,315 volunteers, were in new employment as a direct result of the Festival.

Birmingham 2022 Festival says it also aimed to engage with a wide range range of communities that represent ethnic diversity, gender, LGBTQIA+ and disability identities. However, it was met with controversy as some ethnically diverse communities felt “ignored”. The board also came under fire as 19 out of 20 members were white. This was later addressed.

The Festival directly commissioned 34% of the projects while 63% saw more than £1.7m distributed through the Creative City Grants programme that brought communities together with artists to create work for the Festival.

Funding came from partners such as Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Birmingham City Council

Consultancy Indigo led the evaluation of the festival which has found key outcomes that will contribute to the legacy of the Festival.

Culture Central has now been named as the Birmingham 2022 Festival legacy partner and will take forward the recommendations in partnership with funders and stakeholders in the region.

Katy Raines, CEO of Indigo-Ltd, said: “These reports are the result of 12 months’ work collaborating with the Organising Committee, with the support of all the projects and individuals who took part.

“The collective effort in gathering these findings has allowed us to tell a story of how a large-scale cultural festival can resonate with local people, illuminate untold stories of the region for a wider audience, and build capacity and resilience in the sector”.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We always said that Birmingham 2022 was about more than just 11 days of fantastic sport – and the Festival Programme was probably the clearest demonstration of this.
“As the Proud Host City, we were determined to ensure the Games were relevant to people of all backgrounds, living in all parts of the city. Through our £2million funding of the Creative City strand of Festival 2022, we were able to ensure the grassroots creativity and vibrancy, that helps make our city a wonderful place, took centre stage.
“This was the first time there was a community-led strand of a formal Games Festival programme, and we are well into the planning and development of an international festival to act as a meaningful legacy from what we achieved last year.”

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