Good for business - IF: Milton Keynes International Festival attracts culture and investment to city

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Providing an overview of the world-class, multi-arts event which has become a biennial highlight in the city’s calendar, Monica highlighted the support organisations across Milton Keynes have poured into the festival over the years.


With many supporting partners in the room, including the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Monica disclosed how the festival was established on the question, ‘how do you build a city,’ and not just ‘how do you create something that’s fun.’


The International Festival, which attracts artists from all over the world, requires an investment in the region of £1.8 million to create. Around a third of this comes from public funding, while the remainder is generated as a result of significant fundraising and through the support of local organisations.


If the International Festival is anything to go by - music, arts, and culture is clearly good for business. It puts Milton Keynes on the map and, as Monica pointed put, creates a different press narrative away from concrete cows and roundabouts.


The festival also acts as a magnet for inward investment and, with 700 hotel rooms already booked our across the city as a result of the International Festival, a significant generator of cash into the local economy.


IF: Milton Keynes International Festival was created in 2010 after Arts Council England identified that the then town's cultural infrastructure wasn't keeping apace with its development and asked The Stables and Milton Keynes Gallery if they could contribute ideas towards changing that picture.


That inaugural festival attracted 90,000 people and was deemed to be a great success and clearly whet the appetite of the local community.


“People pleaded with us to do it again. We had created something extraordinary which, while taking people away from mundane, everyday activities, also put Milton Keynes on the map, so we worked with Arts Council England and Milton Keynes City Council to build a biennial event which has subsequently engaged over one million people.”


While a return to normality after the 2020 event experienced the inevitable Covid induced cancellation and 2021 was adapted to suit the restrictions in place at the time, this year’s International Festival will be anything but mundane.


From Friday July 21 to Sunday July 30, the city will be transformed by live music, theatre, comedy, cabaret, including major commissions. Festival Central in Campbell Park will be the heart of IF and other events, which are set to take place across the city, will include the UK premiere of an ingenious, interactive fairground village, jaw dropping acrobatics, big-name bands in the Spiegeltent, winged angels in the sky and singing plants.


Accessible to all, the International Festival, which appeals to everyone, is mostly free and is kept low cost.


For further information on this year’s IF: Milton Keynes International Festival visit