Summer festivals bring the crowds and a major boost to town’s economy

In a week in which Tunbridge Wells enjoyed some fantastic sunshine, revellers came in their thousands to attend the various events that were arranged in and around the town.

At the weekend, nearly 10,000 people descended on Eridge Park for the Black Deer Festival, as the weather matched that of the Deep South.

The weekend also saw 7,000 people head to the second Gin and Jazz Festival, which organisers say was one of the ‘best and busiest events’ ever put on at The Pantiles. And this was in addition to the thousand or so keen music fans who turned out for Thursday’s regular jazz night.

Earlier in the week, thousands of sports fans watched four days of county cricket at the Nevill Ground, as Kent took on Nottinghamshire – and won.

“There is a lot going on at the moment in Tunbridge Wells,” commented Deirdre Wells OBE, Chief Executive of Visit Kent.

“Events such as Black Deer do a number of things. Firstly, they really catch people’s eye, helping bring them into the area, and secondly, they help broaden the appeal of a town.

“Festivals and events also bring new audiences and diversity into a town.”

With tourism responsible for £4billion of Kent’s economy, she added: “Tunbridge Wells is doing a really fantastic job in contributing to that with everything that’s going on.”

The busy week has also been a boom for hotels, which have seen a surge in bookings.

Harry Spencer operations director of One Warwick Park Hotel said: “For us, the busy weekend started on the Thursday night with all our bedrooms booked right up until Sunday.

“The good weather helped attract more people than normal to enjoy our daily happy hour and Seventeen, our restaurant, had a very busy Saturday night with some guests having visited the Pantiles festival previously.

“We even saw a spike in bookings for our spa, Coco Blush, with guests preparing for the long-awaited summer.”

With a number of key events and festivals still to come to the Tunbridge Wells calendar, this summer is proving to be a big boon for the town.

Pub in the Park is expected to draw in thousands as celebrity chef Tom Kerridge brings his popular three-day culinary and music festival back to Dunlorlan Park from July 12-14, and where this year 80s pop sensation Rick Astley will be entertaining the crowds.

The Tunbridge Wells park is also playing host to open air movies during the summer holidays, and hundreds of families are expected to attend the Luna Kids Cinema between August 7-11.

The 14th Tunbridge Wells Mela, the annual celebration of culture and diversity in the borough, also returns on July 7 at Calverley Grounds.

And Bewl Water’s Aqua Park is proving to be a big splash with those wanting to cool off in the summer sun, attracting hundreds of fun seekers each week as the area’s newest seasonal attraction.

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