The festival, which is proposed to be held in 2020/21, would celebrate a series of key cultural and historic anniversaries for the county – including the 70th anniversary of the Peak District National Park and 20 years since Derwent Valley Mills became a World Heritage Site – and would help promote Derbyshire to national and international audiences.
Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis said:
“A Festival of Derbyshire would be a fantastic way of showcasing the cultural contribution and heritage of our great county.
“We have so much to celebrate and we want to use the festival to bang the drum loud about Derbyshire to attract new growth, investment and tourism to bring employment and prosperity to the county.”
Tourism is a vital and growing industry for Derbyshire worth £2.15 billion to the local economy and supporting more than 29,000 jobs directly and many more indirectly.
The festival could also mark 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale and 250 years since Richard Arkwright built the mills at Cromford.
Councillor Lewis added:
“We have many important heritage anniversaries coming up in 2020/21 so there has never been a better time to do this.
“The proposals are at an early stage but I’m confident that a small investment now to develop ideas for the festival – working alongside the Derbyshire Culture, Heritage and Tourism Board and other partners – would bring significant rewards.
“You only have to see what Yorkshire is doing to put itself on the world stage with the recent Tour De Yorkshire to see the benefits. Yorkshire recently boasted a record breaking number of overseas visitors which is helping drive the county’s economy and with that creating jobs and business growth.
“A Festival of Derbyshire would be as much about tomorrow as it is about marking our past and how we can use our huge assets to create investment, jobs and prosperity for our communities.
“As Council Leader I’m not going to apologise for believing in Derbyshire – and banging our drum so the rest of the world can hear. A Festival of Derbyshire will help us do that.”