City of Culture to be announced next week
A star-studded bid to appoint Birmingham as Britain’s official city of culture will receive its verdict next week.
The accolade could bring an estimated £800 million to West Midlands economy and bring an extra four million visitors to the city, for a year-long programme of cultural events in 2013.
The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Brookside writer Phil Redmond, who chaired Liverpool’s successful European Capital of Culture festival in 2008. He will make the announcement in Liverpool on July 15.
Birmingham has recruited high-profile local figures such as Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis to support its bid. But the city is up against tough competition from rival cities Norwich, Sheffield and Derry/Londonderry.
Birmingham’s plans include scrapping the current Arts Festival and replacing it with a new autumn festival to rival the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as hosting events including the BAFTAs, Brits and the Turner Prize awards.
Key events will include a four-day festival weekend celebrating contemporary sounds Asian artists across the world, bringing together artists from North America, the UK, Middle East, India and Pakistan.
Also planned is a dance procession in Victoria Square over the May Day weekend and seven nights of dancing on a stage in Victoria Square set against the backdrop of a floodlit Town Hall.
A festival along Birmingham’s canals will include impromptu performances of music, dance, drama and comedy, with bars and restaurants on the canal side taking part with performances and special offers.
And a new gallery will be opened showcasing the city’s manufacturing heritage as well as performances and exhibitions of works commissioned for Birmingham in the past.