THE Lakes Alive street arts events in Cumbria this year attracted audiences of around 50,000 and had a net economic impact of just more than £3 million, according to an independent study.

The report, by Helen Corkery Research and Marketing, found that for every £1 spent on the events, £3.50 was generated for the Cumbrian economy.

Average audience spend was much higher than last year. The report’s author believes this is because many of those from outside Cumbria who attended the events in Kendal (Mintfest), Bowness, Cartmel, and Derwentwater, also paid for overnight stays.

Almost three-quarters of audiences from outside the region said the events were their main reason, or one of several reasons, for being in the area.

“The figures demonstrate the continued pulling power of the programme, and the significant value that it generates within the Cumbrian tourism economy,” said the report.

Eighty-five per cent of audiences said the events made them feel more positive about the area, with residents saying they enhanced the surroundings, heightened local pride, and showed off Cumbria to visitors.

This year, Lakes Alive attracted 17,000 new people, over 80 per cent of whom said they would be very likely to attend another event in future.

Audiences rated their enjoyment of events as 8.3 out of 10, with more than one in three rating the events at a maximum 10 out of 10 for quality.

The report said: “It is clear that many continue to be drawn to the Lakes Alive events because they are sociable, family and child- friendly, and suitable for all age groups.”

Julie Tait, director of Kendal Arts International which stages Lakes Alive, said: “This report shows that Lakes Alive has made a significant contribution to the local tourism agenda by encouraging more overnight stays and boosting cultural and general tourism.”