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In a nutshell

100,000 visitors attend Festival in the City


In the ultra competitive education sector, where schools are doing all they can to hold onto students at post-16 and independent training providers are on the rise, colleges have had to innovate their recruitment strategy in order to increase student numbers.  Taking the best elements of an Open Day but incorporating them into an atmospheric and interactive experience was the goal for MK College’s next major event.


We worked with the team to create the family-friendly Festival in the City website which would take centre stage in a marketing campaign to get as many visitors through the doors as possible. It worked. Over 100,000 people attended the festival at Middleton Hall, centre:mk, smashing all previous records. It truly was a joyous celebration of education.


Milton Keynes College



Festival in the City responsive website mockups

The Brief

A few years ago, the MK College Marketing team came up with the great idea to host a festival inspired event in centre:mk. Essentially Glastonbury without the mud; the festival would be a key recruitment driver. A showcase of live music, art exhibitions, performance, culinary flair and even a pop-up salon – all activities that students of all ages can enrol onto at the College.

Previous years had seen the creation of a strong brand for the event, but there had never been a web presence they could be proud of.  Something that could show off previous festivals and inform visitors of what was in store this year.  Enter into the arena: Dream Digital.

Strategy & Design

On request to keep the brand they had developed internally, in-house, we provided the initial prototyping and wireframes, and collaborated effectively with the College’s design team to create the visual elements.  The next step was to convert these designs into a web-ready template, and integrate them into a Content Management System where all features would be fully editable, future-proofing the site for years to come.

It was crucial that the website was as easy to update as possible, given the dynamic nature of the event and it’s ever-changing timetable.  Building the site from the ground up, we developed the functionality into individual areas; from scrolling sliders, through to bespoke Twitter feeds and galleries – allowing staff to easily add, amend and remove any of these via drag-and-drop within seconds.

A quick visit to the website evidences how fast and agile it is, across all devices.  With page load times playing an exponentially vital role in search engine rankings, we optimised the site so that pages load in under a second; no small feat considering the visual nature of the site.  We did have a helping hand though.  The site was hosted on a dedicated server (not shared, as most sites are) – which contributed to a lightning-speed response time.  More about that, here.

Client Feedback

This was our first time working with the guys at Dream Digital but it certainly won’t be the last.  We were so happy with the development of the Festival in the City website that they’re now creating three more websites for the commercial centres here at the College.  They come highly recommended.

Lee Parker Head of Marketing & Communications

The Bottom Line

The vibrant and feature-rich Festival in the City website and subsequent promotion contributed to the outstanding success of the event, which had a record-breaking 100,000 attendees.  Visitors were able to easily check the timetable throughout the four-day event from their mobiles, and the website’s legacy will carry on, showcasing highlights from this year’s event. We certainly can’t wait for 2018’s conception – can you?