In business, we often talk about economic growth and prospects purely in terms of sales, orders and ‘the bottom line’ – profit. In truth, of course, it’s much more complex than that, especially when we look beyond individual companies to wider economic development.
Much of the debate around the economic future of Bradford as a city and district understandably tends to focus on buildings – past, present, and future; and, while the upkeep of buildings and other infrastructure of Bradford remain crucial to our future success, perhaps too often the role of culture and performance in sustaining the survival of those buildings – or underpinning their delivery – gets overlooked.
I’ve written before about the importance of footfall in the city centre, and once again last weekend we had impressive events in City Park, a destination that continues to grow in appeal to a huge spectrum of audiences, and in boldness of performance.
Further afield, Ilkley Literature Festival is filling not just venues but hotels, pubs and restaurants for most of October, with a world-class line up of writers for all tastes. Haworth and Saltaire, amongst others, also lay on fantastic events of their own annually. Not to mention Bradford’s panto, one of the UK’s biggest.
Maintaining a vibrant, accessible and well-publicised programme of events not just in the city but across the district is vital to ensuring that it remains a place where people want to live, work, visit and spend their money with local businesses.
Our Council, and all of the organisations that sponsor events and festivals, deserve credit for a continued commitment to culture in harsh economic times, where there are always good arguments for spending the money elsewhere.