Montpellier traders get festival fever as they look to boost business
TRADERS in Montpellier say they are to forge closer links to Cheltenham's festivals.
Shop owners in the upmarket shopping district marked this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival by holding their own living library window display competition.
More than 20 businesses took part, depicting literary works as diverse as Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland and Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, they are planning to make the contest an annual event along side the Literature Festival.
And they are not stopping there. When it comes to the town's jazz, science and music festivals, they hope to hold a variety of on-street shows linking to the theme.
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Margaret Cavanagh, chairwoman of the Montpellier Association, said it was about turning the district into a must-visit area for people flooding into the town.
She said: "The living library contest was such a success.
"Traders put in a lot of effort to get their window displays looking good and we had loads of positive comments from customers.
"So we thought – why don't we do more of this kind of thing?
"Cheltenham is really known for its festivals and they bring a lot of people into the town.
"From now on we will look at ways in which we can join in by holding events at the same time along a similar theme.
"We are looking at hosting jazz bands during the jazz festival and fun on-street science experiments during the science festival."
The jazz, science, music and literature festivals bring thousands of visitors to Cheltenham each year. Although events take place all over the town, the majority are based in a tented village in Montpellier Gardens, Imperial Square and the Town Hall.
Members of the Montpellier Association hope a raft of activities linked to the festivals will draw crowds to their shops, providing a shot in the arm for trade.
They are also in discussion with festival organisers about installing a pedestrian crossing at Montpellier Walk.
Margaret added: "It's about doing our bit to get into the spirit of the events and building on the festival atmosphere. There is so much potential."
Lit Fest brought in famous faces, P9