Award for 2019 - TweedLove's Transcend Festival
Extract form TweedLove's application
TweedLove, and latterly Hillside Outside Ltd, were born out of a ‘kitchen table chat’ back in 2009 and a love of mountain biking in the Tweed Valley. In 2010 the first TweedLove Bike Festival was held, a joint effort between Neil Dalgleish, Hillside Agency, and Emma Guy of the Hub in the Forest with the support of both their colleagues and staff and many local clubs, businesses and riders.
Ten years on it has grown from the first small, ‘free for pals’ event to one of the biggest bike festivals in the UK (and listed by Red Bull as in the top 10 worldwide) but the vision has always stayed the same “to create experiences that are all about having a great time on and off the bike, and to celebrate the best place in the UK to ride your bike.”
Each year TweedLove now stages around 30 events and since it began has attracted around 200,000 riders and spectators to the valley for the events. This has had a huge economic impact on the local economy generating around £9m and delivering a significant knock-on effect of (unmeasured) repeat visits and for many other local businesses. Over the last decade TweedLove also acted as a catalyst for attracting new people to make the their home here, and led to a strong new identity for the Tweed Valley as the country’s leading cycling destination - the ‘Valley of the Bike People.’
In 2019 we launched Transcend Bike Festival - a reinvented version of the TweedLove Bike Festival. We love all of the excitement and fun of the races but extensive research with the bike industry and customers all suggested that the industry, riders and spectators all wanted a weekend with entertainment and a real festival experience - with bike riding for everyone, all weekend. So, together with like-minded, forward-looking local businesses this is what was created and delivered.
We created a new identity, moved to a new location and developed a new programme of events on and off the bike. Transcend incorporated camping onsite, uplift to the trails, an expo village, a full programme of DJs and live entertainment, a pumptrack, a kids’ zone, bike demos and a beer-fest-style friendly atmosphere all in one location – a unique offering in the UK. We also included the UK’s first two-day, multi venue, blind-racing, uplift-assisted enduro event.
The events programme offered something for all kinds of riders, and their bikes, from children to professionals and from e-bikes to gravel as well as offering something for the non-racers, and non-riders, too in the form of yoga classes, animation workshops and much more. The programme provided those who didn’t want to race, or even participate in an organised event, the opportunity to come along and enjoy the goodness of the festival and nip out on the trails whenever they wanted.
It was this provision of inclusivity, with immediate access to UK’s best MTB trails, that made Transcend a unique concept in the UK bike festival market and showcased the Tweed Valley MTB scene so strongly.