Buxton must get its act together with an eye-catching events programme if it wants to make the most of the regenerated Crescent, a leading expert has warned.
Without a programme of major events to support it, re-opening the Crescent Hotel won’t bring the economic boost Buxton is hoping for, Eddy Grant will say at a public lecture in April.
The Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of Derby will argue that Buxton’s festivals, hotels, shops, local authorities and restaurants need to work together to create a culture of exciting events which will make ‘England’s Leading Spa’ a tourist talking point.
“Everybody is expecting the Crescent Hotel to transform Buxton, but why would an 80-bed hotel transform anything? Will it be the attraction it wants to be and needs to be?” said Eddy, who was the Major Events Manager for Liverpool’s 2008 UK Capital of Culture programme, developing systems and delivering large scale events including the famous giant robot spiders spectacle, a Paul McCartney concert and the Tall Ships Visit.
His undergraduates recently helped with the Lumiere Durham Light Project, which saw the city attract 200,000 people for a spectacular programme of 29 light installations – including a ‘whale’ in the River Wear.
He will argue that this is the kind of spectacle Buxton needs to support the efforts being made to capitalise on the Crescent’s opening.
“What is there in Buxton?” said Eddy. “We’ve got a number of festivals and events in the university, but we really need to talk to each other to deliver activity. There is all this talent out there, and no-one is tapping into it.”
His free lecture, “Making it happen – Events and Tourism Marketing,” will explain how networking among hoteliers, retailers and event organisers can turn talking into a commercial success.
“Where to hire equipment locally, how hotels can boost the town’s offer by passing business to each other if they are full and just understanding why and how roads can be closed to make events work should all be on the table,” said Eddy.
“It’s about making sure we all sell Buxton to each other and our colleagues with the confidence of knowing that it works, what our offer is and who is going to lead it.
“This information has to be dynamic – they need to use social media. To have a website is no longer enough – it has to be a dialogue so people can ask questions. Changing that dynamic will change what happens in Buxton.”
‘Making it happen – Events and Tourism Marketing’ will take place on April 26, between 6pm and 8pm, at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus. Space is limited and booking is essential at www.derby.ac.uk/making-it-happen.