Happy 800th Liverpool!
LIVERPOOL is planning a three-day party to celebrate its 800th birthday.
The Liverpool Culture Company has revealed plans for the August Bank Holiday weekend, culminating in Liverpool 800 day on August 28; 800 years to the day since King John signed the city’s first royal charter.
The showpiece of the day will be a huge city centre pageant, featuring more than 800 performers decked out in costumes representing Liverpool icons from the city’s past and present.
Festivities get underway with the start of the annual Mathew Street Music Festival on Sunday, August 26, which will feature three outdoor stages on The Strand and Derby Square. On Bank Holiday Monday, an extra four stages will be added, showcasing a range of new music and tribute bands.
Also on Bank Holiday Monday, thousands of people will take part in more than 300 street parties across Liverpool as communities come together to mark the 800th birthday.
The official party starts at 11am on Tuesday, as the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress lead visiting dignitaries on a civic procession from Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and St Nicholas) to Liverpool Town Hall.
At 11.30am – as the civic procession draws to a close at the Town Hall – the 800th birthday pageant will start outside St George’s Hall with the presentation of ‘The Liverpool Giant’. The Giant is currently under construction at World Museum Liverpool, where arts organisation Strange Cargo are building a 15ft model to embody the spirit of the city, inspired by local myths and stories. The Liverpool Giant will lead the pageant, accompanied by other model companions including two ‘big heads’ based on local personalities.
Following the models will be the Inishowen Carnival Group, who have developed a large-scale performance based around six distinct local themes – ranging from the Blitz of 1942 to Liverbirds – featuring stilt-walkers, singing nuns, swirling flames and skating fish!
Hundreds of people from across all six boroughs of Merseyside will take place in the pageant, including a number of arts, voluntary and community organisations. There’s still an opportunity for members of the public to take part in the parade – providing they’re willing to dress for the occasion – and a limited number of spaces are available for people at special costume making workshops at World Museum Liverpool on August 25 and 26, to help them get ready for the big day. Places must be booked in advance – details below.
The pageant will conclude with a street art performers animating the streets and setting the scene for an afternoon of music and entertainment in the city centre. Between 13.00 and 16.00 there’s a chance to see performers from the Streetwaves young music competition in Derby Square; while over in Williamson Square the Cavern 50th anniversary stage will showcase the very best sounds from days gone by. Even the city’s commercial district around Old Hall Street will join in the fun, with a food and drink market, street theatre, and schools sports day-style competitions.
And as the sun sets over the Mersey, organisers will make final preparations to a spectacular firework finale, which will light up the night sky from 22.00, illuminating some of the city’s most iconic architecture and offering dramatic views from across the city.
Birthday weekend in brief:
26 & 27 August – Mathew Street Music Festival
27 August – Community parties
28 August – Liverpool 800 day
11.00 – 11.30 – Civic procession
11.30 – 13.00 – Heritage pageant
13.00 – 16.00 – Celebrations in festival squares
22.00 – Firework display