Nicole Amil having fun on the Green

'Awesome' and 'magical' - now signature events need to be start of new era

Jim Parker

As Del Boy would have put it, Lovely Jubbly – or in this case Lovely Jubilee.

The Jubilee weekend celebrations and Torbay Airshow have been dubbed a huge success from start to finish. And what it has done is to put the focus and emphasis firmly on events and how vital and important they are to the future of Torbay’s economy and prosperity.

I’m not just talking about the visitor economy  and the spending power of holidaymakers. These events bring the locals out in their thousands as the Bay’s community spirit shines through to bring visitors and residents together.

A perfect example of that was the Music on the Meadows event which kicked off the celebrations on the Friday. There was hardly a blade of grass to be seen on Torre Abbey Meadows as crowds lapped up live music as well as enjoying the food,  drink and fun activities provided by the local community.

The English Riviera BID Company recognises the importance of events as they look for Torbay to become more of a year-round destination. It is what the people who pay their wages – the levy-paying businesses – want and that is why they made a £25,000 contribution to the air show and Jubilee weekend.

ERBID chairman Tim Godfrey said: “We have a relationship with Phil Black and his events team at the council. We want to grow that relationship.

“The whole idea is to develop year-round, sustainable events – sustainable events that draw people to the destination and this beautiful place and to enjoy what we enjoy.

“That is part of what the levy payers said they wanted during the consultation for ERBID 2.”

Fingers crossed and budgets allowing, you can expect to see the air show return next year and Torbay Council putting more ‘capacity’ and resource into making these events happen.

Council leader Steve Darling said: “I am optimistic that we will able to find the funding next year and do a repeat performance next year.”

He added: “I have had some really positive feedback. It was a great job from everybody. I have had conversations with senior officers and elected members to see how we can do our level best to make sure that this year is not seen as a one-off.

“It went extremely well as the first post Covid event. It was about  bringing the community together.

“There will be a conversation about capacity and how the council can help people get these events over the line.

“We need to build on this and we are having real thoughts on how events can be what we are all about as far as the visitor and community experience goes.”

Cllr Nicole Amil, chairman and champion of the air show, summed up the weekend as ‘awesome.’

She added: “There was an enormous feel-good factor. It brought the communities and visitors together and it generated much-needed support for the local economy.

“We need to build in this. I was overwhelmed by the whole weekend.  I want to say a big thankyou to everyone. The Jubilee team pulled out all the stops and did an amazing job.”

ERBID Company chief executive officer  Carolyn Custerson said: “I asked our members what the thought. One of the hotels described the weekend as a ‘triumph’ for the English Riviera.

” Post Covid to deliver what we delivered was remarkable. A lot of businesses saw 100 per cent capacity. We have not seen the levels of footfall for a long time. There was a 55 per cent uplift in traffic to our website.

“The Music on the Meadows wit the Bootleg Beatles took us to a new level that we have not reached before.

“It felt like you were at the Isle of Wight festival. I have not felt like that in Torbay in 12 years. It was that festival vibe.”

Carolyn said the event showed what huge potential Torre Abbey has as a venue for bigger events and concerts.

She says: “We need these bigger signature events. Torre Abbey has the perfect backdrop. It was a night of magic.”

A magical weekend all round – and surely the start of a new era for our Naturally Inspiring  English Riviera.