Organisers and volunteers of the Looe Saves the Day festival will be presented with a very special award by judges at this year’s Cornwall Tourism Awards on 1 November for their amazing achievement in organising a community led event for thousands of music lovers in just 18 days.
Although the timing of the Looe Saves the Day festival meant it was not eligible to be considered for a main award in this year’s Tourism Event and Festival category, the judges at the Cornwall Tourism Awards were so impressed by the way the local community pulled together to rescue the festival at such short notice, they have decided to present the town with a special award.
News of the surprise award was announced to more than 250 LSTD volunteers during the wrap party held at Trelawne Manor Holiday Park on 19 October.
“Tourism is all about teams, and events are about teams coming together to create something that attracts visitors to a destination to have a great experience” said Robin Barker, organiser of Cornwall Tourism Awards.. “This year’s Awards panel were hugely impressed by how the Looe community worked together to create something out of a crisis, showing how well community teams can deliver if there’s a will and shared passion. ”
“The panel unanimously decided to award a special community award to Looe Saves the Day – and to offer congratulations to everyone involved.”
“This really is the icing on the cake” said Festival Directors Armand Toms, the Mayor of Looe, and local Cornwall Councillor Edwina Hannaford. “The wrap party was always going to be a special night for everyone involved in the Looe Saves the Day festival but the news that we are going to receive a special award has made it a real night to remember.”
The decision by residents and businesses from the small Cornish fishing port to come together to stage a festival after the official Looe Music Festival was cancelled less than three weeks before it was due to take place, has received widespread praise from individuals and communities across the country, with many highlighting the incredible community spirit which made it possible.
“We recognised that the festival was very important to our local economy, generating more than £18m over the past seven years” said Edwina Hannaford. “Everyone was disappointed by the unexpected cancellation at such short notice and so we decided to see if we could put on an event to replace it.
“Normally organising an event on this scale would take many months of preparation – we had just three weeks – but we were determined to give it a go if the local community were behind the idea.”
The local community certainly were behind the idea, and with funding in place, the stage built, hundreds of acts booked – both for the main stage and the 28 bars, cafes and restaurants throughout the town, and more than 250 volunteers recruited, the Looe Saves the Day group prepared to welcome thousands of people to the town.
This was no easy feat – the group had to pull together an event management plan and 20 individual appendices covering everything from crowd and traffic management, health and safety to providing public toilets, as well as raising the money needed to stage the festival, which included meeting extensive safety requirements.
Led by Looe Town Council, which agreed to take on the role of official event organiser, and despite some weather issues on one of the days, the group staged an incredibly successful community inspired and community organised Looe Saves the Day event, with enthusiastic festival goers enjoying an incredible range of music over the three days.
“While the acts which took part were awesome, this was always about more than just the music” said Armand Toms. “This was about a community coming together to turn a potential disaster into a success for the whole town. I said at the end of the festival that I was incredibly proud of everyone who worked so hard over to make it happen and I am delighted that this hard work and community spirit has now been recognised by judges at the Cornwall Tourism Awards”.
Many of those who attended the festival were full of praise for the community feel of the event and are keen to see it repeated next year. Looe Saves the Day organisers are also keen to ensure that Looe stages a music festival in 2019 and have been seeking the views of local residents and businesses on the kind of event they would like to see. A public meeting is being held on 24 October to enable people to have their say, with organisers planning to announce a final decision in November.
“Everyone who was involved with this year’s event wants to be involved next year which is fantastic news for Looe “ said Edwina Hannaford. “While we managed to stage an incredible festival in less than three weeks this time, it was certainly a challenge and relied on the goodwill of large numbers of people.
“While I am sure we will have the same positive support for whatever kind of event is decided for next year, we need to start planning now to ensure that the proper processes are in place. “
Notes to editors
Please see below a selection of videos about Looe Saves the Day festival :