After stunning visitors in 2019 with an out of this world experience, Dorset Moon has been awarded the prestigious Events and Cultural Gold Award in Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole’s Destination Awards.

Over three summer weekends  at three stunning locations – St. Peter’s Church, Bournemouth; Sherborne Abbey and the Nothe Fort in Weymouth – more than 41,000 visits were made to explore Luke Jerram’s monumental Museum of the Moon; an astounding seven metre diameter spherical sculpture of the moon. It features a detailed NASA image of the lunar surface and each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.

A full programme of lunar-inspired events orbited the sculpture, including a silent disco under the moonlight, and seven brand-new artworks were created for the event.

View more images in the Instagram gallery here

View the full list of artists and events here

Businesses were given free resources to help create their own moon-related packages and offers. Over 50 businesses across Dorset got behind the campaign and used the Dorset Moon assets to get involved in the celebrations. A survey of Sherborne businesses evidenced that 60% said they were busier and profit had increased on the weekend of Dorset Moon compared to a normal July weekend – and 100% of the businesses said arts festivals were vital for bringing in new visitors from outside of the county to a town.

This stellar event was commissioned by the Arts Development Company and produced by the Dorset Festivals Consortium, made up of Dorset’s three popular arts festivals: Inside Out Dorset (produced by Activate Performing Arts), b-side and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea. It was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England.

Our Chief Executive, Sarah James, remarked:

“Dorset Moon transformed the three locations it appeared at, attracting huge numbers of audiences, including new visitors to Dorset and boosting each of the local economies; many local businesses recording record sales for that time of year”.

Dorset Moon attracted nearly 12,000 cultural tourists from outside of Dorset to visit and experience both the event and the surrounding attractions and businesses – 14% of these visitors stayed overnight in Dorset.

Find out more about this and our other projects in our latest annual report