As the events to mark ten years since Liverpool was European Capital of Culture prove a success, Getintothis’ Lewis Ridley reports on the big hitters.
2018 marked a decade since Liverpool celebrated being European Capital of Culture, and events marking the anniversary have provided a huge boost for the city, with culture providing the local economy with an additional £85million, quadrupling the figure of the previous year.
A special End of Year Report into Liverpool’s 2018 cultural activities was presented to the Culture and Tourism Select Committee earlier this week. It analysed the work of the city council’s Culture Liverpool team, along with the operation of St George’s Hall, Town Hall, Liverpool Cruise Terminal and Liverpool Film Office.
In total the whole series of events generated £108million for the city. Some of the events highlighted in the report were:
- China Dream – a nine month programme celebrating Chinese contemporary art and culture coincided with the China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at World Museum Liverpool.
- Liverpool Feis – a brand new music event for the city saw 10,000 fans head to the Pier Head to enjoy a celebration of Irish music. With live performances by Van Morrison and Shane MacGowan. The event’s success means it will return this year on Saturday 6 July.
- Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) – taking place in July, LIMF became a ticketed event for the first time. More than 50,000 music lovers descended on Sefton Park to enjoy the festival which saw more than 70 acts including Young Fathers and Red Rum Club take to the stage over four performance areas.
- Aurora – an interactive art experience which took over the iconic Toxteth Reservoir in September, delivered in partnership with FACT and commissioned artists Invisible Flock, proved massively popular and sold out its entire three week run.
- Liverpool’s Dream – the final chapter in the Giants trilogy has been hailed the most successful free event ever to take place in the North West. It generated £60.6m for the city region economy as audiences of 1.3m flocked to Liverpool and Wirral to see the Little Boy Giant, Giant, Xolo and were wowed by a surprise visit by the Little Girl Giant.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Seeing these incredible figures can leave no one in any doubt that 2008 was a springboard for this city to build on its cultural ambitions – ten years on, we are one of the world leaders when it comes to staging unforgettable, crowd-pleasing events.”
“2018 was a special anniversary for Liverpool and from the outset the aim was to bring new, exciting additions to the city, but also importantly shine a light on the enviable events calendar that we are now so accustomed to. Recognising our success in the cultural world is important, but we are always looking forward to what we can continue to deliver, which makes Liverpool such a desirable city to live, work, study and play in.
“Times of austerity mean we have to think differently about how we stage events – however, having a full cultural calendar is the new normal for Liverpool and we can look forward to another year of exciting activities ahead.”
The report comes the same week as Anderson and notable figures of the city’s music industry presented the new Liverpool City Region Music Board headed by Kevin McManus.
The board intends to combat findings from a BOP report that suggested:
- The region is not seen as an industry hub.
- Homegrown talent leaves for London.
- Overall the music scene is fragmented with no leading sector voice.
- A lack of diversity in programming
- Significant commercial pressures on venues.