Music in the Park could be back in Leyland next summer by public demand

A retro pop concert is set to return to Leyland next summer after it proved the jewel in the crown for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in South Ribble last month.

By Brian Ellis
Saturday, 16th July 2022, 12:30 pm

Councillors are expected next week to give the thumbs up to Music in the Park 2 following the stunning success of the inaugural event featuring a host of 1980s music icons.

Around 3,000 pop fans gathered in Worden Park on June 3 to turn back the clock with the likes of Tony Hadley, Go West, Heaven 17, Doctor and the Medics, Carol Decker and T'Pau.

Now the council is looking to repeat the experience with stars from the 80s and 90s in 2023 - and hopefully make it an annual "signature" event for the borough.

Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley headlined at last month's Leyland concert.

Officers say planning is at an early stage. One idea being floated is that it could become a two-day event, rather than one.

But first South Ribble Council will be asked on Wednesday to approve an urgent £60,000 budget for organisers to book acts in advance.

"Once this is done a further report will come to council with more detailed plans and a request for a further budget," says a report to go before councillors.

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Around 3,000 turned up for Music in the Park in June.

The report says the council held off planning a 2023 concert until after the first one in June to see how successful it was.

Now, based on comments from concert-goers, the authority has launched a drive to repeat the experience next summer.

The report says the idea of not hosting a follow-up show was rejected "based on the feedback we received from the inaugural event this year and the desire to look to establish an event that attracts people from South Ribble and from across the North West to support the local economy."

The total cost of last month’s event was just over £160,000. But income from tickets sales covered half of that (£81,000).

Carol Decker and T'Pau perform at last month's concert.

With £47,600 already in the pot from the original Music in the Park event, which was planned for 2020 but cancelled due to Covid, that left a bill of £33,277.

The council carried out a survey of people who attended and, from 413 responses received, 61.5 per cent rated it 10/10 for experience with 88.62 per cent rating it 8/10 or higher.

An incredible 97.1 per cent said they would recommend it to a friend if the council was to host the event again.

"The overwhelming sense of opinion was that people wanted the event to return in 2023," says the report to councillors.

Heaven 17 were one of the bands to feature at Worden Park.

"While the feedback was really positive there were improvements we know we can make going forward."

The main areas highlighted by visitors were the cost and variety of items from the bar and the difference in price of the VIP offer and general admission.

The report adds: "The other benefit to hosting the event, aside from the visitors enjoying the event, is the economic impact upon the borough.

“Using the data we have from the event and the feedback survey it is estimated the event boosted the local economy by £106,700.

"A further £125,280 was estimated to have been spent at the event, part of which will have gone to local vendors, supporting the local economy and jobs."