2017 was a special year for Liverpool’s event scene, as Culture Liverpool came together with partnering organisations throughout the city to produce ’50 Summers of Love’, with the theme of 1967’s famous ‘Summer of Love’ running throughout.
This was also the year that three major coups happened with ‘Sgt Pepper at 50’, ‘Armed Forces Day’ and ‘British Style Collective’ presented by The Clothes Show all taking place in the city. All that, and much more, are listed in our event highlights below.
Chinese New Year
The city pulled out all the stops in 2017 to welcome The Year of the Rooster as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. From Friday 27 to Sunday 29 January, traditional Chinese activities were blended with interactive fun – through an Augmented Reality trail – and visual spectacles, as Illuminos’ ‘Jingwei & The Ocean’ projections took over the Chinese Arch, The Arch Building and the Black-E.
Performances, including martial arts demonstrations, the Dragon, Unicorn and Lion parades and the firecracker displays delighted the crowds once more. Family workshops, art installations and the popular Chinese market on George Street completed the year’s offering.
50 Summers of Love
1967 saw some of the biggest cultural shifts of a generation and was ultimately the moment that avant-garde forced its way into the mainstream. Never a city to shy away from getting involved, Liverpool played a big part in this movement. It was the year that ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was released by four local lads, ‘The Mersey Sound’ poetry was published, the Metropolitan Cathedral opened and homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK.
Fast forward to 2017, the Liverpool City Region celebrated the famous ‘Summer of Love’ by hosting ’67-17: 50 Summers of Love’, which saw a season of events and performances span the weeks from 12 April to 3 September.
Bluecoat Display Centre, Milapfest, The Bluecoat, Metropolitan Cathedral, LightNight, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Sound City 2017, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Africa Oye, Squash Nutrition, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Young DaDaFest, Unity Theatre, Albert Dock, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool PRIDE, Pagoda Arts, Knowsley Feelgood Festival, Knowsley Flower Show, Southport Flower Show, International Beatleweek and Liverpool Comedy Festival all featured, alongside Culture Liverpool’s very own Tonight At Noon, Mersey River Festival and Liverpool International Music Festival, plus many more!
Sgt Pepper at 50
As part of ’67-17: 50 Summers of Love’, Culture Liverpool celebrated a golden summer with the golden anniversary of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
The album was unlike anything that had gone before and its power and impact transcended that one heady period of time, so that over 50 years on, it is widely regarded as the most important rock and roll album ever made.
To mark its 50th anniversary, 13 never-before-seen events were commissioned, influenced by each track on the album. Internationally-renowned artists worked in partnership with the city’s homegrown creative talent to bring to life this series of incredible reimagined pieces of work.
From 25 May to 16 June 2017, dance, music, art, theatre and sheer magical spectacle was produced on both a large and small scale, as the city paid tribute to its most famous musical pioneers.
Armed Forces Day
The City of Liverpool lived one of its proudest moments when it was given the go ahead to host the national event for ‘Armed Forces Day’ alongside the ‘Mersey River Festival’ on Saturday 24 June 2017.
Not for the first time, Liverpool’s iconic waterfront was the focal point as the city celebrated the ordinary people who do extraordinary jobs and said thank you to the Armed Forces on behalf of the nation.
Current personnel and veterans of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force joined together in a celebratory parade which started at St George’s Hall and culminated at the Pier Head, with Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson OBE, and Prime Minister, Theresa May in attendance.
British Style Collective presented by The Clothes Show
The British Style Collective, formerly known as The Clothes Show, undertook a city-wide take over of Liverpool from 7 to 9 July 2017. One ticket, four venues and a heap of fashion credentials later and Culture Liverpool couldn’t have been more proud of being an official city partner for this incredible event in yet another major coup for the city!
Liverpool International Music Festival
Liverpool International Music Festival in partnership with London Midland celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2017 with its biggest undertaking to date. More than 100,000 festival-goers enjoyed the four day event which took place at Sefton Park and The Palm House and included more than 350 performances from DJs, bands and artists for free across its three stages.
Performing this year were artists Gorgon City, Cast, Naughty Boy, Corinne Bailey-Rae, a world premiere of ‘Garage Classical’ with DJ Spoony and the RNCM session Orchestra, DJ sets from Jax Jones, Norman Jay MBE and Trevor Nelson and live performances from So Solid Crew, Fuse ODG and Fleur East plus many more.
Highlights from across the weekend’s included Gorgon City’s headline set, Fleur East’s electric performance and Cast’s homecoming gig as well as stand out sets from Louis Berryand JP Cooper on the main stage. Newcomers including Jessie Reyez, Youngr and Taya wowed crowds with their fresh, raw talent on the main stage alongside exciting new Merseyside talent who played the LIMF Academy stage including LIMF Academy’s three most ready artists Mary Miller, Gazelle and Remeé. Tea Street Band, She Drew The Gun, The Farm and The Christians were firm favourites at itsLiverpool stage.
Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2017: Race Start
The famous Clipper Round the World Yacht Race sailed into the historic Royal Albert Dock on Monday 14 August marking a week-long celebration before the race officially started on Sunday 20 August.
As ever, Culture Liverpool championed the artistry through a range of accompanying street theatre performances, whilst a Food Village and live music entertained the visiting masses.
Aptly tying in with Liverpool 2018 programme was the #Liverpool2018 boat, which was was amongst the 12-strong fleet that took place in this years Clipper race.
River of Light
Feedback from visitors from the first instalment of ‘River of Light’ in 2016 ensured that the 2017 celebrations would be bigger and better.
Joining forces with Wirral once again, Culture Liverpool enlisted the help of one of the UK’s most successful firework companies, Titanium Fireworks, who produced a mesmerising display with an accompanying soundtrack to match provided by Capital Liverpool. A ‘Scouse finale’, including tracks from The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Paul McCartney added the finishing touch to a stunning spectacle on the River Mersey.
As always, street theatre and animation activities were provided in addition to the main event, with performances from artists such as Spark!, Bring The Fire Project, Katumba, Halo and The Lantern Company.
Service of Remembrance
Every year, Culture Liverpool remembers the fallen servicemen and women with a special ‘Service of Remembrance’ and ‘Dedication’.
On Sunday 12 November, the commemoration was marked in an extra special service, with the remembrance of the Battle of Passchendaele – one of the most controversial battles of the First World War, infamous for the scale of casualties and the muddy conditions in which soldiers had to fight. It was also an area where horses were used to transport food and equipment to the front line.
In recognition of the role of horses, ‘Joey’, the life-size puppet, from the National Theatre production of ‘War Horse’ joined the city’s civic and religious leaders along with military representatives to lay a wreath in memory of all those who have lost their lives during conflict.
Led by The Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy and the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, the service took place at the Cenotaph on St George’s Plateau, Lime Street.
Members of the public joined local dignitaries as the city remembered and honoured those that suffered or died in war.