A bumper programme of 2018 events has been unveiled to celebrate a decade since Liverpool became European Capital of Culture.
The festivities have been revealed 10 years to the day since The People’s Opening of European Capital of Culture 2008, and a string of other ‘major highlights’ for the year ahead are said to remain unannounced.
More than 40 events and festivals are in the pipeline for the Liverpool City Region, including returning favourites, one-off spectacles and a host of firsts.
Alongside them, four seasons going by the names ‘China Dream’, ‘Brittle Heart’, ‘The Art of Football’ and ‘The Future World of Work’ will aim to inspire different ways of thinking about ideas, people and places.
‘China Dream’, running from February to October against the backdrop of the World Museum’s major ‘China’s First Emperor and the Teracotta Warriors’ exhibition, will see artists, musicians and performers from China and the UK present work in the city.
As the season is broken down into three chapters themed around Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Moon Festival, events will include:
- ‘Presence: A Window into Contemporary Chinese Art’, 9 February to 3 June: A brand new contemporary exhibition at St George’s Hall showcasing Chinese artists including Yan Zing, Cao Fei, Sun Xun and Luke Ching.
- Jing Wang cello with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 8-9 February
- Chinese New Year 2018 celebrations, 16-18 February: Three days of light, projections, firecrackers and sound across Chinatown, Berry Street, William Brown Street and Bold Street as a number of artists and organisations use the city scape to present a story of modern China in the UK. A pyrotechnic finale will bring festivities to a close.
‘The Future World of Work’ will take place during May to July with FACT and Kazimier Productions involved in artistic commissions on what lies ahead for the region when half the current jobs may not exist in 20 years’ time. FACT will work alongside the International Business Festival and UNIGlobal to bring prominent thinkers to the city to tackle the big question.
Then in June and July ‘The Art of Football’ will coincide with the FIFA World Cup featuring a host of specially commissioned works with the sport at their heart, and ‘Brittle Heart’ will arrive in November to commemorate both the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and the women’s right to vote. It’ll see orchestras from Liverpool and fellow UNESCO City of Music, Hannover lead the armistice commemoration with a performance of Britten’s War Requiem in the setting of Liverpool Cathedral.
Other cultural highlights revealed today (11 January) include:
- ‘Rapid Response Unit’, from the end of February: Curated by filmmaker and journalist Mark Donne and independent producer Eddie Morgan, the international project bring a specially created ‘newsroom’ to the city centre with well-known artists, musicians and performers taking on the role of reporters.
- Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta & The Bordeaux Wine Festival, 25-28 May: Liverpool will link with Dublin and Bordeaux to host the starting leg of the regatta. As well as the Tall Ships there’ll be a visit from world renowned wine festival Bordeaux Fete le Vin and new commissions from artists including Lulu Quinn and Luke Jerram.
- The Feis Liverpool, 7 July: A brand new annual event celebrating the best of Irish culture in the city with multiple stages on the waterfront.
- ‘Lost Castles’, August: French artist Olivier Grossetȇte will work with communities to recreate structures of lost castles across the city region in the exact places they once stood. They’ll be used as venues for a weekend of performances and events.
- The World Boccia Championships/Rugby League Test Match, August and November: Exhibition Centre Liverpool will host the World Boccia Championships, and Anfield will stage the second test of the England v New Zealand Rugby League series.
- ‘Smash the Keys’, 20-30 September: A music festival focused on the piano, with artists covering the worlds of jazz, pop, classical, grime, swing and hip-hop. Emmy-nominated piano duo Anderson and Row will be among performers.
In addition, 14 annual festivals including Africa Oye, Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, LEAP and DADA Fest are being given additional resources to boost their offering as part of the 2018 celebrations; and already announced attractions including the 20 anniversary of Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool’s 30th year, Liverpool International Music Festival and the return of The Clothes Show will contribute to the festivities.
According to Liverpool City Council, further ‘huge announcements’ can be expected in the coming months promising ‘an epic family festival, a huge sporting spectacle, a massive musical moment, a major public art project with one of the world’s leading artists and a hotly anticipated return’.
Claire McColgan MBE, director of culture at Liverpool City Council, says: “What is planned for this year showcases the scale of our innovation and ambition – setting us apart from other cities and helping us continually use culture to attract visitors, investment and create and maintain jobs.
“Without doubt, Liverpool is the most exciting city in the UK and in 2018 it’s the place to be if you want to experience something special.”