Hospitality & Tourism

Published: August 3, 2021 | Updated: August 4, 2021

BCP leaps out of lockdown with celebration to boost business and re-energise its three towns

The Red Arrows will be headlining at next month’s Bournemouth Air Festival. Picture: Bournemouth Air Festival.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

An ambitious programme of free outdoor activities and events to re-energise its three towns and boost business this summer is being staged by BCP Council.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s inaugural Festival Coast Live! is the council’s answer to bringing life, colour and sound back to the region post-lockdown.

Already underway, the festival sees a full ten-week programme of pop-up cultural experiences, art exhibitions, live music, and activities held at more than 15 open-air locations.

These are being delivered by local professionals, community artists, musicians and dancers with more than 300 individual performances.

It makes it one of the largest free to attend open-air events happening anywhere in the country.

The programme of events is aimed at building momentum and boosting the economy as preparations get underway for the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

Taking place from September 2 to 5, the air festival attracts over 750,000 visitors across four days, resulting in fully booked hotels and venues across the region.

The large influx of visitors also contributes around £32m to the local economy and supports around 500 jobs across the tourism and hospitality sectors.

This year the air festival has secured headline attractions such as the Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Cllr Drew Mellor, pictured left, Leader of BCP Council, said: “We already have a reputation as one of the UK’s most popular resort destinations but we aren’t content with resting on these laurels in the wake of the pandemic.

“Our Big Plan is to transform our area into a world class city region – one of the best coastal places in the world in which to live, work, invest and play.

“That’s why we are capitalising on the increased number of people holidaying at home this year, using our experience and local creative talent to deliver a brand new, colourful festival experience.

“This will encourage more families and children to spend time enjoying our town centres, high streets and seafront – supporting our local businesses throughout the summer.

Two of the performers in Festival Coast Live! Picture: James Bridle.

“Alongside the Bournemouth Air Festival, one of the biggest headline events for people coming to the South West, our amazing array of cultural, family friendly events will bring our communities back to together in the best of ways when we need it most.

“This will strengthen our economy at a time when many other councils will be struggling to get going following a flurry of event cancellations and uncertainty.’’

Festival Coast Live! has been made possible thanks to a £500,000 investment from BCP Council.

The annual Air Festival sees support from local, regional and national companies including Sunseeker, Atlas Elektronik, Porsche Bournemouth, RNLI, South Western Railway, Curtiss-Wright and the Armed Forces.

More information about BCP Council’s Big Plan, can be found at