Torbay Council’s first Grinagog event has been hailed a great success and one of the key partners who worked hard to bring the music festival to the Bay has been awarded an MBE for his festival work.

Continental Drifts, Music Director, Chris Macmeikan (DJ Tofu), who was instrumental in staging Grinagog, has been awarded a MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the Queen for his outstanding service to music and festivals.

Grinagog was supported by Arts Council England who see the potential in developing local creatives, events and a wider cultural offer to residents and visitors.

Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver said: “I would like to thank everyone who worked extremely hard to make this event such a success. I would also like to congratulate Chris on his MBE, a wonderful accolade for all his hard work.

“We have never had this type of event in the Bay and our great assets such as Torre Abbey and the Riviera International Conference Centre (RICC) proved perfect venues for the festival.

“We are becoming established as an events destination and there is a collective belief that this festival will grow. It was sold out in its first year and is a great investment given the benefits to the local economy and potential future growth.”

Chris Macmeikan said: “I am so honoured to receive a MBE, which is specifically for festivals and music. Among all the gigs we do, Grinagog is for me personally the most important event and was my dream project.

“I am from Torquay and I feel the area is in my DNA and I believe that Continental Drifts and Grinagog have the potential of creating a transformative and important cultural event in the national calendar for the next 50 years and beyond. Vive Torquay and its cultural makers and shakers!”

Evaluation has shown that the event has had a significant positive direct economic impact on the local economy in addition to providing a fantastic experience for residents and visitors from outside the area. Over 40% of tickets were bought by locals and the rest from regional and national postcodes.

Feedback quotes included the following:

“Grinagog has been the best thing to come out of Torbay in a long time!”
“This is an event I could confidently invite friends and their families to visit for the weekend for a quality culturally relevant event.”
“A great atmosphere with so many different things to see! I loved that even the people who didn't have tickets could stroll through some of the area and get a feel for what was going on.”
“Great festival …. overall 10/10.”
“Grinagog was, in my opinion, a huge success and I could see the amount of effort and commitment from Council staff. It was first class.”
“I don't actually live in Torbay - I've only visited this once! But I would definitely visit again.”
“I would love a good, live, all year round music venue with decent bands. I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who organised and helped at Grinagog. I know a lot of hard work, time and effort went into this. Well done. This is exactly what our town needs.”

Grinagog was a great partnership effort with a team from Torbay Council working with Continental Drifts, an international events company, and a large group of creatives including local promoters, bands, venues, music marketers, music online media and other organisations, who all offered their services for free or at cost covering rates to make the event a success.

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