The award is for any event, festival, exhibition or performance that has drawn visitors to the area and enriched the cultural diversity of the area.
Over three summer weekends at three stunning locations - St. Peter’s Church, Bournemouth; Sherborne Abbey and the Nothe Fort in Weymouth - more than 41,000 visits were made to explore Luke Jerram’s monumental Museum of the Moon; an astounding seven metre diameter spherical sculpture of the moon. It features a detailed NASA image of the lunar surface and each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.
A full programme of lunar-inspired events orbited the sculpture, including a silent disco under the moonlight, and seven brand-new artworks were created for the event.
Businesses were given free resources to help create their own moon-related packages and offers. Over 50 businesses across Dorset got behind the campaign and used the Dorset Moon assets to get involved in the celebrations. A survey of Sherborne businesses evidenced that 60% said they were busier and profit had increased on the weekend of Dorset Moon compared to a normal July weekend - and 100% of the businesses said arts festivals were vital for bringing in new visitors from outside of the county to a town.
This stellar event was commissioned by the Arts Development Company and produced by the Dorset Festivals Consortium, made up of Dorset’s three popular arts festivals: Inside Out Dorset (produced by Activate Performing Arts), b-side and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea. It was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England.
Kate Wood, Artistic and Executive Director at Activate said:
"We were delighted to come together with b-side and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea to create the Dorset Festivals Consortium. By bringing all our knowledge and expertise together for Dorset Moon we were able to create an epic cultural event in three beautiful locations across Dorset. Being awarded Gold in the Destination Awards is testament to the power of this collaboration."
Sarah James, Chief Executive of the Arts Development Company remarked:
"Dorset Moon transformed the three locations it appeared at, attracting huge numbers of audiences, including new visitors to Dorset and boosting each of the local economies; many local businesses recording record sales for that time of year."
Dorset Moon attracted nearly 12,000 cultural tourists from outside of Dorset to visit and experience both the event and the surrounding attractions and businesses - 14% of these visitors stayed overnight in Dorset.
Due to coronavirus, the gala dinner was cancelled but the team collected the award on a sunny (and windy!) day at Bournemouth's Pier Approach.
(L-R): David Squire, Managing Director, Yellow Buses; Chris Saunders, Director of the Destination Awards; Kate Wood, Artistic and Executive Director, Activate Performing Arts; Simon Lee Dicker, Dorset Moon Producer, b-side; Andrea Francis, Festival Director, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea; Sarah James, Chief Executive, The Arts Development Company.