Following an action packed 2018, 2019 did not disappoint with another annual calendar of events brimming with activities for all the family to enjoy.

Picture of Chinese arch in Liverpool at night surrounded by projections and pyrotechnics and people watching on

China Dream / Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year saw Culture Liverpool once again support the Chinese community in Liverpool to present a three day festival of culture and art from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 February. This year’s celebrations welcomed the Year of the Pig and blended Chinese cultural history with contemporary twists.

Chinese influenced street theatre took place in and around the infamous arch, building up to a unique show called ‘The Quest for the Arch’. Featuring projections and pyrotechnics the story followed the journey of a little girl and a pig from Shanghai to Liverpool, accompanied by a specially commissioned soundtrack provided by musician and composer Jah Wobble.

The main event on Sunday 10 February saw the usual traditional celebrations take place with a number of street and stage performances, family workshops, a fairground, Lion, Dragon and Unicorn parades, firecracker displays, augmented reality trail around Chinatown and of course the popular Chinese market on George Street selling gifts, souvenirs and Chinese cuisine.

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival on Liverpool's waterfront

BBC 6 Music Festival

In a coup for the city and our music scene, Liverpool welcomed BBC 6 Music for their three-day alternative music festival.

Taking place across the city centre the event was hosted by Eventim Olympia and Mountford Hall, along with the Invisible Wind Factory and Camp and Furnace. Accommodating everything from spoken word and poetry to live DJ performances, the festival featured the likes of The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Anna Calvi, Jon Hopkins, Hot Chip, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Ex:Re. Plus Little Simz, Bodega, Gang Of Four, Villagers, IDLES, Slowthai, Fontaines D.C., The Cinematic Orchestra, Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts, Jungle and Marika Hackman. Live shows also took place, with Steve Lamacq broadcasting his BBC 6 show in Liverpool’s Cavern Club.

Alongside the 6 Music Festival, Culture Liverpool worked with additional venues and music partners across the city to create a supporting 6 Music Fringe Festival to showcase the city’s status of UNESCO City of Music.

LFC victory parade 2019

Liverpool Football Club Victory Parade

Culture Liverpool was once again tasked with organising Liverpool Football Club’s victory parade. The date was set for Sunday 29 May, the only day available to hold a victory parade within the city as well as having all the players available together at one time.

Throughout the morning Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Football Club paid tribute to the 39 supporters who lost their lives at the Heysel Stadium, as a mark of respect on the 24th anniversary of the disaster.

Starting at 4pm, the 13.5km route started at Allerton Maze, travelling north bound on Queens Drive towards the Fiveways roundabout and Rocket flyover. From there the route travelled along Queens Drive, Mill Bank, West Derby Road, Islington, Leeds Street, The Strand, finishing at Blundell Street.

In total, 750,000 people lined the streets for a heroes welcome.

domed structures on the Pier Head in Liverpool at dusk as part of the Bordeaux Wine Festival in 2019

Bordeaux Wine Festival

The award-winning Bordeaux Wine Festival made a welcome return to Liverpool’s iconic Pier Head on 31 May in celebration of one of the world’s favourite wines.

Eight wine pavilions offered up hundreds of different wines to sample, with experts on hand to talk about winemaking techniques, and how to spot the differences in region and style – perfect for experts or amateurs.

To complement the extraordinary wine, acclaimed chef Paul Askew, The Chef-Patron of The Art School Restaurant, curated an incredible programme which featured cookery masterclasses from some of the UK’s most sought-after names in the food industry.

The inaugural Bordeaux Wine Festival Liverpool in 2018 was the first time the event had ever taken place in the UK. Other than in France, the Fête le Vin has been previously held in Hong Kong, Quebec and Brussels.

huge collage painting on containers by artist Jola Kudela entitled Yolart's Tower of Babel

River Festival Liverpool

This year’s River Festival ran concurrently with Bordeaux Wine Festival, extending the waterfront offer with a programme of live music, art and culture.

The highlight of the festival was a huge 23ft replica of the earth by renowned artists Luke Jerram. Located in Liverpool Cathedral, the artwork titled ‘Gaia’ (meaning the personification of the earth) hung majestically in the Grade I listed building, featuring accurate and detailed NASA imagery of the earth.

In a UK premiere ‘The Urchins’ artwork piece, consisting of hand-crocheted fishing nets, took pride of place at Mann Island. Designed by internationally award-winning architect Jin Choi, the fabric shell was elevated and illuminated above water – creating a beautiful glowing structure.

Positioned on the Pier Head was a brand-new commission by artist Jola Kudela. Using containers to form the canvas, a huge collage was created. Entitled ‘Yolart’s Tower of Babel’ the new work was a celebration of the diversity of women living in Liverpool, highlighting the positive impact that shared experience and interaction can have in creating social cohesion and community.

A visually stunning water, sound and light show took place at Canning Dock. ‘Whale Song’ saw a humpback whale emerge 15metres out of the water and plunge back in, in an expression of its prowess and dominance. The six-minute show was accompanied by a soundscape of beautiful whale noises to enhance the performance.

Liverpool sculptor Faith Bebbington’s ‘The Runner’ was also visible at The Albert Dock, celebrating and highlighting Liverpool’s links to the modern Olympic Games.

On top of all of this there was the usual story-telling, music workshops, street theatre and dancing showcases taking place across the site during the two days.

serviceman in uniform holding a French horn as he takes part in the tri-service parade in Liverpool

Armed Forces Day

In June Culture Liverpool played host to Armed Forces Day once again, starting with a formal Drumhead Service at Our Lady & St Nicholas Parish Church. This was followed by a drum and flag tri-service parade to Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and a military village featuring displays and demonstrations from Armed Forces personnel. The 208 Field Hospital with battlefield ambulance, RNLI’s virtual reality experience, the Medical Memories Roadshow and a replica First World War Boy Scout ambulance were also available for members of the public to view and enjoy.

Adding further ambience to the event were performances by school and community choirs, face painting on board the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Bus, military collections in National Museums Liverpool and items from the Second World War courtesy of Western Approaches.

England v South Africa netball match in Liverpool with two ladies elevated in the air trying to shoot the ball into the hoop

Vitality Netball World Cup

In 2009 England Netball, along with Liverpool City Council, UK Sport and The ACC Liverpool Group, started work on a bid to host the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019. In a huge coup for the city, the International Netball Federation confirmed in 2015 that the bid had been successful.

Four year later, the city welcomed the world to the M&S Bank Area, which was transformed to include a press room, mixed zone and broadcast area. The external piazza included a fan zone, containing everything from netball courts to merchandise units and experiential activities.

Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE was also transformed into an official fan zone, offering spectators the opportunity to watch the action live on a giant screen and take part in netball activities whilst enjoying music and entertainment – all programmed by Culture Liverpool.

The tournament was the largest and most high-profile international women’s sporting event ever hosted in the city, attracting over 112,000 attendees.

picture of Nile Rogers performing on stage in Sefton Park as part of LIMF 2019

Liverpool International Music Festival

Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) was an internationally significant festival that celebrated the Liverpool Music Scene past, present and future. It invited the discovery of new music, genres and spaces and provided an experience for everyone to enjoy.

Celebrating its eighth year, LIMF had well and truly established itself as a firm favourite in Liverpool’s cultural calendar. Attracting global household names alongside the most exciting emerging new talent Liverpool is renowned for, LIMF shined a spotlight on our infamous musical pedigree and the reason why we have successfully achieved the UNESCO Music City accolade.

On Saturday 20th July the gates opened once again and across the weekend we welcomed over 52,000 festival goers to the stunning surroundings of Sefton Park. Hit makers Nile Rodgers & CHIC performed in front of a sold out crowd. Meanwhile, Sigma, Disco Classical With Special Guest Sister Sledge ft. Kathy Sledge, De La Soul, Ella Eyre, Yxng Bane, Nao, plus many more took to the stage providing over 16 hours of major live performances. The Family Zone was the perfect place for ‘LIMF For Beginners’ with lots of fun activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Mr Tumble from Cbeebie performing on stage in front of a large crowd in Croxteth Park, Liverpool

CBBC Summer Social

For the second year running, Culture Liverpool supported the BBC to bring CCBC Summer Social to Croxteth Park. Bigger than ever before, the event brought together the best bits of the BBC including music, sport and live performances for a full weekend of family fun.

Saturday 3 August saw Busted, John Newman, Nina Nesbitt and Freya Ridings take to the stage, along with performances from big CBBC shows like Almost Never.

Sunday was pitched towards young festival goers, with Mr Tumble headlining the main stage alongside Andy Day & The Odd Socks, Dr Ranj, Yolanda, Cook and Line from Swashbuckle, Hey Duggee and special live performances from big family shows.

Studio Joanie Lemercier Constellations art work for West Kirby, Wirral

Constellations Presents

Constellations was an art project commissioned by the Liverpool City Region to inspire local communities to rediscover their neighbourhoods and spend time looking up at the stars.

Instigated by Wirral’s Borough of Culture year, different artists were selected to reimagine the constellations and present work inspired by local stories in each of the six boroughs – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

The six commissions were; Studio Joanie Lemercier, Setus, The Creation, Parabolic Lightcloud, The Butterfly Cluster and Leo.

submergence light installation as part of River of Light 2019

River of Light

During the month of November, the Liverpool waterfront was transformed with light, colour and sound. Ten incredible, never seen before, art commissions by some of the most exciting international light artists stood on display in iconic locations across the city. They included Globoscope, Spiders, Cetus, Intrude, Flight, Whole Hole, Run Beyond, Portal, Liverpool Jackpot and Submergence.

As part of the longer, new-look festival, the hugely successful River of Light fireworks also returned for one night only. On Sunday 3 November the River Mersey became a stage once again for Titanium Fireworks – one of the world’s leading pyrotechnic companies.

Sudarios commission as part of RISE 2019. Black and white images of women hung inside the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool


Liverpool has a reputation for producing exceptional female leaders in the arts, sciences, business, sport and politics. In the year the city hosted the Netball World Cup, we paid homage to inspirational women at home and abroad.

Featuring local and internationally renowned female producers, practitioners, artists, poets, musicians, choreographers, speakers and thinkers, RISE provided a platform to create and share new commissions, exciting artworks, and provocative interventions. Young emerging talent collaborated with established pioneers. Local artists and companies shared skills and profile with global innovators. Brilliant women took over the city and showcased their work on a national and international stage – including Amina Atiq, Clare Balding, Cathy Tyson, Tracy Thorn, April Ashley MBE, Dame Stella Rimmington, Anita Corbin, Deborah Morgan, Lizzie Nunnery, Esther Wilson, Carla Maria Williams, Sarah Black, Sister Sledge and many more.

Whether your ambition is to be an astronaut, write a song for Beyoncé or make the world a better place, RISE featured women who have been there and done it exceptionally well. The programme inspired the next generation of artists and leaders through “How to events” and masterclasses, proving that gender and background are no longer obstacles to achieving dreams.

Image credit: Rob Battersby

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