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Linares defends ‘wider benefits’ of £2.25m music festival

Culture Minister Steven Linares has hit back at the GSD’s “myopic” view of the Gibraltar Music Festival, saying that to focus on the cost was to miss the wider value of the event to the community.

Mr Linares was responding after Opposition MP Roy Clinton attacked the government for allowing a £1.42m overspend on the festival and running up a total bill to taxpayers of £2.25m for the two-day event.

Mr Clinton said the government should better prioritise its spending, but Mr Linares – while acknowledging the cost to the public purse - insisted the event must be viewed in broader terms.

He said the festival generated “almost incalculable” worldwide media exposure for Gibraltar, going further “…than we could afford to pay for in advertising terms.”

“Just that benefit is probably worth close to a million pounds in advertising,” Mr Linares said.

The minister said 14,000 people attended the festival last year, including at least 4,500 from outside Gibraltar.

All of Gibraltar’s hotels were full that weekend, something he described as “unusual and of course hugely important”.

Mr Linares cited research by the UK Music Reports of 2014 which found that overseas music tourists spent on average £750 per event, with hotel accommodation, food and drink, merchandise and other costs thrown in.

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