Some things old and some things new

More details have been given about Liverpool’s plans to mark the 10th anniversary next year of its tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

And unless there is a change of heart in Brussels, it could turn out that the city will be remembered as the last place in Britain to wear the Euro-crown.

A number of UK cities have placed expensive bids to win the coveted title in 2023, but the EU has now turned around and said that as the UK will no longer be a part of their family of member states, there will be no party on these shores. Some people may be willing to sacrifice the culture crown, but only of they agree to chuck us out of the Eurovision song contest as well.

Although hints have been dropped  of how Liverpool will celebrate a decade since 08, the big announcements are being held back until the start of the year itself.

Nevertheless, we’re promised details then of stunning events that will attract masses of visitors to Liverpool. Whether that will include a return of the Nantes giants remains to be seen. If you believe an announcement at the World Travel Market in London last month, they are top of the Liverpool bill, but in the latest communique from the city council they are nowhere to be seen.

At the travel fair, Culture Liverpool's creative director, Robin Kemp, appeared to let slip not only a visit by Royal De Luxe but the theme for the year and a “nationally important event on every weekend of the year”. Kemp said Liverpool 2018 would allow the city the chance to "Reimagine places, people and idea and challenge their stereotypes about the city."

Will the giants be back or what? Depends what press release you're reading Picture: Wesley Storey

The giants have already paraded the streets of Liverpool telling the story of Titanic and World War One, so will a third visit be so special? Perhaps giants dressed as our two mayors - Liverpool City Mayor Joe Anderson and City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram - could act out their political stories with a butterfly chase through St Lukes, all culminating in a dawn duel on Bramley Moore Dock.

Mayor Joe said: “European Capital of Culture was an extraordinary year for this city, but it was never just about 2008 – it was about the legacy that followed.

“Culture has been the backbone of Liverpool’s renaissance over the past decade, and Liverpool 2018 is a chance for us to recognise the growth in confidence, ambition, creativity and cultural engagement which is seen in every corner of Liverpool – putting us quite rightly as a cultural exemplar on a national and international stage.

Mayor Steve said: “The City Region Combined Authority is delighted to be supporting Liverpool 2018 with £5 million from our Single Investment Fund.

“It will kick-start a new cultural journey for the whole of the city region and it is my ambition that all areas feel the same benefits as Liverpool has done in the last decade. This region is blessed with a huge depth of talent and it is our job to provide the platforms to showcase that creativity and encourage participation. I was Lord Mayor in 2008 and saw first-hand the impact celebrating culture had on people and communities.

“I very much look forward to another outstanding year of culture that will hopefully enrich and improve the lives of all who live and visit here.”

The official launch of the first half of the programme will be made on 11 January 2018, ten years to the day since the People’s Opening which launched European Capital of Culture in 2008. 

Whether Ringo will get back on the roof of St George’s Hall and whether Liverpool’s “precious cargo” of local celebrities will once again be craned up in a container to examine our city centre landscape legacy of student flats remains to be seen. Maybe this time they will stay up there.

What's happening so far


With the exception of the Terracotta Warriors visit, a number of regular cultural projects and familiar events, have already been badged for 2018 including;

  • The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta linking Liverpool, Dublin and Bordeaux on 25 – 28 May
  • The finale of the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race in late July 
  • The Clothes Show which returns to the city for a second year from 19-21 October
  • Tate Liverpool’s 30th anniversary programme including an Egon Schiele retrospective
  • Liverpool Biennial.
  • Liverpool International Music Festival.
  • Milapfest
  • Africa Oye.
  • Rewire, A major new art and technology commission led by FACT.

But there will be some new commissions: 

  • China Dream – showcasing the best of modern Chinese culture.
  • The Future World of Work - what does this mean for society
  • The Art of Football - the global relationship with the beautiful game
  • Nineteen Eighteen (working title) - the centenary of the end of the First World War
  • Easter Fire - a collaboration with Walk the Plank at St George’s Hall “creating a world of fire, entertainment and gastronomy”. Tickets for the event and further details will be available from Friday 8 December.