Fayres and Festivals – Effective (and fun) Strategies for Failing High Streets and Town Centres

Post date: Jan 2, 2012 3:51:50 PM

Street Fayres – Marylebone Village

Any and every street can organise a street fayre. A good example is that of the landlords in Marylebone Village subsidise and organise the annual Summer Fayre as a key community event in which circa 30,000 people visit to enjoy a relaxed event around food, music and the wider offerings of the streets retailers. The 2011 Marylebone Summer Fayre took place on Sunday 19th June between 10am – 5pm and supported Teenage Cancer Trust and raised in excess of £35,000. 


The festival scene has exploded across cities in the UK over the past decade. Some of the more interesting and eclectic ones include:

More at www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/may/21/city-based-festival-listings.


Celebrating 7 decades of British cool: the music, dance, fashion, food, art, design and film from the 1920s to the 1980s. Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway brought their award-winning Vintage, UK’s Best New Festival as voted for in the 2010 Festival Awards, to Southbank Centre in July 2011 as part of the Festival of Britain 60th anniversary celebrations with MasterCard. Over three days and nights, Vintage at Southbank Centre transformed its six levels into a multi-venue playground where, over 13 hours each day (from 12pm to 1am), pass holders learnt the dances of the decades, enjoyed over 70 live performances, boogied to the tunes of 150 DJs, enjoyed exclusive catwalk shows and decade specific make-overs, sampled Vintage food and cocktails and shopped one of world’s most exciting Vintage marketplaces.

Summer Festival – Plymouth

Plymouth had a varied program of one-off events but lacked the marketing co-ordination to punch its weight. The City Centre Company conceived The Plymouth Summer Festival as a new umbrella to package 25 existing activities across the City Centre, including the arts, food, maritime and sporting events, under one brand and in one brochure.

An economic impact assessment of the original 50 stakeholders showed universal positive feedback. Every tourist pound generates 35p for the retail sector, and the project has created a new summer retail peak. For retailers the Company hugely amplified their own events programme, driving an additional 300,000 visitors over 4 months with footfall up as much as 50% on some weekends. Marketing included brochures, a website, bus side, radio and print advertising and the city was dressed with 350 lamppost banners and flags. 

A festival office co-ordinated the PR: the media coverage was immense and importantly 62% was outside of the city. No longer do individual events duplicate effort or worse compete for publicity. The initiative has delivered a step change in marketing activity not just for the City Centre Company but also for the city of Plymouth.


Great town and city festivals of the world are listed by Frommers. Usefully organized into categories and via a searchable website - www.whatsonwhen.com.