A PLEDGE of £500,000 has been called for to plug funding for a light festival.
Durham County Council’s cabinet has been asked to release the funds as plans are made to bring back art event Lumiere to Durham next year.
The event is said to be worth £5.8million to the County Durham economy.
Last year’s celebration, the third of its kind, attracted 175,000 visitors over four days, resulting in more than 20,000 overnight stays in accommodation and generated £3million-plus of media coverage reaching a global audience.
The proposals last week won £1.2million from the Arts Council to help stage Lumiere in 2015 and 2017.
The council has now asked members to agree to a commissioning fee of £500,000 and £100,000 of in-kind support to help the project, run in partnership with Artichoke.
Council Leader, Councillor Simon Henig said: “Having benefitted from working with Artichoke to see three Lumiere festivals in Durham now, it is clear that the economic boost the event delivers is consistent and significant.
“There are not many business deals which see such a phenomenal return on investment and which allow us to show the world what a fantastic destination Durham is.
“There is also a well demonstrated appetite to see a similar spectacular festival in 2015 and we have been fortunate enough very recently to see that belief endorsed by Arts Council England, which has agreed to increase its financial support to see Lumiere return.
“We have to be realistic though, to make this happen we will need to match ACE’s £500,000 grant in the form of a commissioning fee and even so a significant amount of sponsorship from our partners will need to be raised.”
If cabinet agrees, the commissioning fee will be paid to Artichoke from the authority’s remaining Performance Reward Grant.