Today I had the opportunity to highlight the brilliant Caerleon Arts Festival and the new International Conference Centre in the Assembly.
The Conference Centre is being built at the Celtic Manor and the Caerleon Arts Festival continues to grow and succeed. Both are situated in Newport West and in different ways are important to the growing cultural scene growing here in Newport
At the Economy and Infrastructure Questions session to day I said "The ‘Wish You Were Here’ study found that music tourism from festivals and concerts generates up to £113 million annually for the Welsh economy.
Our ability to attract more events, conferences and festivals will be boosted by the international convention centre, built as a joint project between the Celtic Manor and Welsh Government, when it opens in Newport. Designed to attract major events from across the world, it will rival any convention centre in Europe.
Smaller festivals, which are a mix of music, art, literature and comedy, like the one in my own constituency in Caerleon, also play an important role.
What support and encouragement can the Welsh Government give to attract large-scale events to Wales while also supporting grass-roots festivals that add to the rich variety of our cultural life?"
In response the Cabinet Secretary replied "Yes, this is a very interesting area of work. I actually asked my officials to carry out some research concerning the most inclusive forms of artistic activities and it was found that smaller festivals and musical concerts are actually the activities, the events, that people are most likely to go to from right across the socioeconomic spectrum.
So, I’m very keen to ensure that we do maximise opportunities for local community festivals and concerts to grow. We’re committed to attracting more major international sporting and cultural events to Wales, especially those that help to maximise the return on investment in existing and in planned facilities.
We’re particularly keen to attract those events that offer an opportunity to volunteers to become participants. In the coming years, with our support, Wales will host some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious events, such as the Champions League final and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Alongside these global brands, we’re also supporting a thriving portfolio of local and regional cultural events and festivals, such as the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, the Good Life Experience, the Iris Prize and Focus Wales and also, of course, RawFfest."