The Big Busk is a big draw for visitors

Visitors flocked to Shrewsbury town centre in their thousands for this year’s Big Busk, with 55% more people coming to the town than on the same weekend last year – when the free music festival did not take place.

And, according to figures from Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District) footfall in the town centre was also 15% higher than during the last Big Busk in 2017.

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The Big Busk returned to the streets of Shrewsbury last weekend after taking a year out in 2018. The Busk was first held in 2013 in memory of talented musician, poet and artist Ben Bebbington, who died after an unprovoked attack by two men in September 2012. This year’s event took place on what would have been Ben’s 50th birthday.


The last Big Busk, in 2017, raised more than £8,500 for Shrewsbury Ark. The final figure from this year’s event is expected later this week.


According to Shrewsbury BID, on Saturday 50,789 people visited the town – up an incredible 55% on the 32,777 people who visited on the comparable Saturday in 2018. The figure is also up on the 44,162 people who were in Shrewsbury for the 2017 Big Busk.


Tim Smith, a member of The Big Busk organising team, said: “These figures are incredible and we feel really humbled by seeing them.


“Anyone who was in Shrewsbury on Saturday would have seen how alive it was with positivity and happiness, thanks to the wonderful musicians who gifted their time to support us and to the people who turned up to clap, cheer, sing along and donate.


“Of course The Big Busk is about raising money for Shrewsbury Ark, but it is also about spreading awareness of the work the Ark does and the issues it helps people deal with, so the more people who discover that message, the better.


“On top of that, The Busk is about community. It is about bringing people together to have a great time and to share a smile, a laugh and a little bit of love. We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event, however they did it.”


Seb Slater, Executive Director of Shrewsbury BID, said: “Well organised, inclusive events like The Big Busk are a key ingredient of what makes Shrewsbury so special.


“The town was absolutely buzzing on Saturday, with both locals and people who were visiting Shrewsbury from afar.


“Our footfall cameras showed that the town centre saw 55% more visits on Saturday compared to the same day last year, when The Big Busk did not take place.


“These figures clearly demonstrate that events like this really do bring people into Shrewsbury to enjoy the atmosphere and visit our wonderful array of shops and businesses.


“Congratulations to all of the organisers who worked so hard to make The Big Busk such a success.”