- 1st September 2012
Our first Gravity Fields Festival has been acclaimed as a major success – not by us, by you – the people who really matter.
We have received hundreds of compliments about the eight day event which celebrated the life and achievements of Grantham’s most famous son, Sir Isaac Newton.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Linda Neal said: “We are working hard to make Grantham and the whole of South Kesteven box its weight both as a centre for investors and visitors and the Festival was a fantastic springboard that has helped us really put our district on the map.
“We said from the outset that we hoped to make the Festival a bi-annual event and I am delighted to be able to report that plans are already in hand for Gravity Fields 2014.”
One of our targets for the Festival was to bring more visitors to the area and on the first Saturday there was a massive upsurge in visitors to Grantham with full car parks, a crowded Saturday market and a Family Science Day that drew thousands to the George Centre
Nearly 7,000 people visited the centre on Saturday to see its one-week-only apothecary and alchemy shops and special science related presentations – 2,200 more than the previous week.
At 4pm, when businesses are normally winding down, Centre Manager Hilary Pearce confirmed some 800 people still present. Friday’s visitor count, when the festival’s opening ceremony drew a crowd of around 500, was 300 up on the previous week.
“The figures were brilliant,” she said. “The events we helped stage for Gravity Fields gave the centre a weekly increase of 11.7% where nationally it was only 1.9%. Year on year figures show a 5% increase against a decrease nationally of 3.4%.”
Centre traders also had up-beat comments. Margaret Williams of Country Casuals welcomed the new faces in town and Lisa Richardson of The Gift Box said: “It was great to see so many different faces in the centre. Sales to new faces was definitely an asset to The Gift Box, we even had couples shopping!”
Cllr Frances Cartwright, SKDC portfolio holder for grow the economy and economic development, said: “We promised that Gravity Fields would bring increased visitors and trade and we certainly delivered.”
The closing ceremony brought scenes that Grantham has never seen before. More than 10,000 people turned out to see a fire pendulum, aerial shows, pyrotechnics, crazy costumers and even a light show which lit up the Guildhall and the night sky.
There was also a parade of 1,000 people before Cirque Bijou – fresh from the opening ceremony of London 2012 – performed fantastic aerial feats from a crane.