LIVERPOOL will keep on staging spectacular public events to ensure its long-term economic well-being despite the recession, a top council executive said.
But although the Sea Odyssey event with its three giant puppets was a stupendous success such crowd-pullers can only be staged every three years or so.
Judith Feather, Liverpool City Council events and cultural infrastructure manager, said the long economic downturn should not mean we lose the momentum achieved so far.
Ms Feather said: “Times are tough but I feel very positive after our successes over the last year.”
The highlights included the Music on the Waterfront Smooth FM and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra concerts, the arrival of the Olympic torch, Sea Odyssey and the Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
Ms Feather said: “These events were in addition to the 47 organisations which the council helps fund, such as the Philharmonic, Everyman & Playhouse and Unity theatres that make such a huge contribution to the city’s culture. The big event in Liverpool next year will be the 70th anniversary and final national commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic from May 24-28. I’ve done the 50th and 60th commemorations so this will be my final one. “This is when the Merchant Navy and the armed forces come together and the main element for me is it is all about remembrance.
“It’s important to the city that we mark these key cultural moments so the Literary Festival on May 17 will coincide with the Central Library’s reopening from 10am to midnight and a Light of Night celebration. We must publicise far more widely the library’s treasures and archives.”
There will be a further big announcement in January about the city’s event plans.
Ms Feather added: “We can’t do events of the magnitude of Sea Odyssey year-on-year.
“Although we all loved it these projects are very expensive and can only be done about one-in-three years.
“What I’m very proud about is that we exposed the north end of the city (which often gets left out) to a cultural event like Sea Odyssey and it worked, the residents loved it.
“We need to keep an eye on what’s happening elsewhere and also market events using all the new media to ensure we network with young people.
“What we do with the Pier Head and St George’s Hall have very, very positive benefits. The economic figures do stack up. Would you rather go to a city without giants and world famous ferries? There’s much to be done with the cruise-and-stay market. But this will go ahead. We need to be known out there for our extra facilities and added value.”
Attracting the International Festival of Business in June-July, 2014, led by Liverpool Vision, is a massive vote of confidence by the government in Liverpool.
Ms Feather added: “The city council can’t do this all on its own. Everyone needs to contribute, such as property owners illuminating showpiece buildings at night. We only get one run at it and it’s in nobody’s interest to take our foot off the gas. Look back over 10 years and remember how things were and you realise how far we’ve come.”