Organisers of next year’s Long Division in Wakefield city centre have announced that 90 per cent of the eagerly-anticipated festival will be free to enter.
The event has attracted some of the music industry’s biggest names over the years and is returning after a year’s hiatus, this time with the backing of Wakefield BID.
With twice the amount of venues planned - including Wakefield Cathedral - the city festival is to undergo a radical reinvention to make it the biggest yet, including more music, comedy, theatre and even art exhibitions.
And festival director, Dean Freeman, with a new team of board members behind him as well as the BID, is ditching entry fees for the most part to entice more people into the city.
He said: “I have always wanted Long Division to be something that could unite the city of Wakefield.
“The ticketed system will always create barriers, with music and culture locked behind doors that not everyone can access and only happening in places that benefit the few.
“That’s why I spent months creating a proposal for Wakefield BID.
“I understood that we shared similar goals to see the city centre thrive.
“With the support we have from Wakefield BID we are now able to do this.
“It’s not just a case that bigger is better. We now have a board of Wakefield-born and based artists, designers and enthusiasts helping to drive the vision forward.
“We all live and breath the city and believe culture is a way to improve the lives of all.
“You only need to look at Live At Leeds or Tramlines in Sheffield to see the potential scale of this type of festival.
“But we’re not interested in being the biggest, we want to cultivate what is unique about the city, use the festival model but deliver it with a Wakefield accent.”
Wakefield BID’s manager, Elizabeth Murphy, said they are delighted to support the event and loved the free-entry aspect.
She said: “By making Long Division a largely free event, we stand to attract even more people to Wakefield this summer.
“The festival has a proven track record of pulling in visitors, bringing a boost for the local economy in terms of increased business for city centre bars, cafes, restaurants and shops.”
Created by Dean in 2011, Long Division became Wakefield’s largest annual music festival, attracting big-named acts such as British Sea Power, The Fall, Ash and Wakefield’s very own, The Cribs.
The event was cancelled last year to allow for fresh ideas.
Next year’s event, which will be held on June 1-3, will see a four-tier ticket system introduced, including the free tickets, which will gives access to most of the 20 venues.
Although acts are to be announced in the coming months, Dean is advising people to sign up for the free tickets already available, or the Early Bird Pioneer ticket for access to 100 per cent of the venues and acts.
Any profit made from the weekend is to be ploughed directly back into the city.
Dean added: “This will be by far the largest Long Division to date, in terms of audience levels, number of performances and number of venues used.
“An attendance of at least 3500 over the weekend is expected.”
Tickets are on sale from today, December 1, at www.longdivisionfestival.co.uk