Festival Review 2022
Once again our festival experienced a year like no other, coinciding with 10 days of national mourning for her Majesty the Queen. As a community event we went ahead with the deepest respect for her memory, bringing people together to share memories, stories and places. The resulting feedback has been truely heartwarming as visitors continually praise the local volunteers and staff who helped them connect with their places and learn new things.
This year 2,150 organisers, c.100 coordinators, and 43,500 volunteers put on 4,945 events* attracting 1 million visits. Together they made a valuable difference to their communities and the heritage sector as a whole.
Making a difference
- Boost to the economy: £11.6 million added to local economies
- Building community pride: 80% of visitors feel more proud of their local area after attending a festival event
- Providing a gateway to the sector: c.1/3 visitors had not visited a heritage site/event in the past year while 2/3 report that from visiting Heritage Open Days events in previous years they have gone on to visit more heritage sites/events
Encouraging new stories
Each year we promote a theme to encourage new stories - 623 events were inspired by this year's national theme of 'Astounding Inventions'. Alongside a planning resource pack for organisers and the festival spotlight of their events, we also published a series of popular blog posts highlighting astounding inventions from the worlds of engineering, archaeology, medicine and gardening to share more stories.
- The Gas Man cometh: Beverley Civic Society once again took up the research challenge... and came up trumps with the discovery that their beautiful street lamps are possibly the oldest still standing in situ in the world! A guided walk helped locals see their town in a new light. While the research itself has helped Beverley hit the headlines, from regional radio to a letter in The Times!
- Speak in verse: The Alfred Gillett Trust were on to a winner with a very curious invention in their collection. The unique latin verse machine provided a focal point for their event which helped them reach a new audience.
Working in partnership
Conservation Stations: Following a conversation at a conference we have been delighted to work with Icon (Institute of Conservation) this year to raise awareness of the work of conservators, particularly through matching local sites with experts and encouraging cross-team working. 46 events with a conservation focus were registered for the festival creating interesting new offers for visitors and providing a valuable promotional platform for individual conservators and the work of the profession.
New Wave: 10 local organisers from across England completed the New Wave training programme, working with young adults to plan events. Whilst not all were able to go ahead due to the unprecedented circumstances of this year’s festival, when the group came together for their final review session there was much learning and JOY to share, with exciting plans for the future!
A big thank you
A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in and contributed to our wonderful festival. Whether by visiting, volunteering, or planning and promoting. Every cup of tea poured, form filled in, poster put up, or story exchanged has made a difference. THANK YOU and see you next year!
Save the date! HODs returns: 8-17 September 2023
* Event number taken from the eve of the festival, before the news of the Queen’s death was known. Whilst many places did have to cancel or adjust their plans, over 85% went ahead in some form.
Find out more
- Download a summary of facts and figures from 2022 here
- Explore some of the team's festival favourites in our alternative New Year Honours
- Explore some of the fantastic events that took part through our Festival Spotlights
- Hear more from local organisers in our Case Studies
- Feeling inspired? Why not join the community?! Find out how to get involved here
- Learn more about the history of the festival with our anniversary book celebrating 25 Years of People Power