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Council’s 2017 culture programme attracted over one million visitors to the city

A Christmas cracker for culture!

A SPECIAL report into Liverpool’s 2017 cultural programme has revealed it attracted more than one million visitors to the city and boosted the local economy by a whopping £36.4m.

An End of Year Report will be presented to the Culture and Tourism Select Committee in January, and analyses the work of the city council’s Culture Liverpool department which is responsible for staging events, along with the operation of St George’s Hall, the Town Hall, Liverpool Cruise Terminal and Liverpool Film Office.

The events alone generated £18.2million, and the report found the key event highlights for 2017 were:

Sgt Pepper at 50
A unique festival which resulted in 13 brand new commissions influenced by each track on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. From the 25 May to 16 June, renowned artists from across the globe worked in partnership with homegrown talent to stage a mixture of intimate and large-scale events at locations including Woolton’s Camp Hill, Liverpool Royal Court and Aintree Racecourse.

In total, 140,000 attended the 13 events, 7,371 people participated in the project and the economic impact of the project was nearly £781,000. It is regarded as one of the city’s most successful event-related PR campaigns of the year, with more than 860 pieces of coverage which include three separate articles in the New York Times as well as pieces in The Australian, Harpers Bazaar Brazil, The Asian Age and Holland Sentinel. The website alone ( attracted 360,000 visitors, reaching 7.7m on Facebook and 2.2m Twitter impressions.

Due to the success of the two-week programme, Culture Liverpool was asked to showcase seven of the commissions at Festival No. 6 where it received rave reviews. Actress Brodie Arthur, who took the lead in the She’s Leaving Home play – earning her critical acclaim – now has a national agent on the back of the coverage, and ‘A Day in the Life’ film won the Short Fiction award at the London Labour Film Festival last month.

Armed Forces Day/Mersey River Festival

More than 320,000 people attended the joint National Armed Forces Day celebrations and the annual Mersey River Festival which took place 24 to 25 June. Liverpool was the national focus for the celebrations and the Saturday consisted of parades, fly-pasts, demonstrations and naval vessels which were open to the public – the Iron Duke alone attracted 5,000 visitors. It was attended by the Prime Minister, HRH Prince Edward, the Secretary of Defence and the First Sea Lord. The River Festival included visiting Tall Ships, the international canoe polo tournament, jet skiing demonstrations, street theatre, air displays and the Northern Boat Show. Liverpool teamed up with Wirral on the River Festival event, with 40,000 people enjoying all the activities on offer on the Wirral side.

The weekend brought in around £7.7m to the city, and £360,000 to Wirral, generated extensive local and national media coverage and reached more than 400,000 people on Facebook and more than 2m on Twitter.

Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF)

Taking place 21-23 July100,000 music lovers descended on Sefton Park to enjoy the Summer Jam element of the festival whish saw more than 350 performances across the main stage, itsLiverpool stage and the Academy stage. Acts included Gorgan City, Naughty Boy, Cast, Corinne Bailey Rae as well as a world premiere of Garage Classical which saw a 45-piece orchestra perform garage hits with original vocalists. A brand new VIP area generated 1,100 ticket sales and the overall economic impact of Summer Jam was £1.15m. Once again, the event proved popular with the media, generating 476 pieces of coverage with an equivalent advertising reach of £950,000. Over the LIMF weekend there were 325,000 impressions on Twitter – double those of 2016.

Clipper Around the World Race Start

Drawing crowds of around 220,000, this week-long event in August brought in £7.5m to the local economy as 12 Clipper vessels took over the Albert Dock.

River Of Light

The firework spectacular returned to both sides of the Mersey on 5 November. Pre-show entertainment ensured the 110,000-strong crowd (in both Liverpool and Wirral) were more than ready to see the main show created by one of the UK’s most successful firework companies – Titanium Fireworks. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the economic impact for both sides pf the River was more than £1.5m. The following morning, national BBC breakfast reported that ‘Liverpool won bonfire night’.

Remembrance Sunday

This years’ service took place on Sunday 12 November, and attracted around 17,000 to the area around St George’s Hall cenotaph. As the event focused on Passchendaele and the role of horses in the First World War, the National Theatre allowed ‘Joey’ – the main puppet from the production ‘War Horse’ – to be part of the ceremony. National coverage was secured and more than 100,000 people were reached on both Twitter and Facebook.

When looking at the other areas Culture Liverpool covers, the report shows:

Liverpool Cruise Terminal

The team welcomed more than 100,000 passengers and crew, attracted around 50,000 spectators to the waterfront during ship visits and generated an economic impact of £7m. In 2017 the terminal celebrated its tenth anniversary with a programme of events including quayside sail away concerts, firework displays and the Disney themed ‘Magic on the Mersey’ which brought in 30,000 visitors to the waterfront and £250,000 to the local economy. To mark the British Open Golf Championship, the ships Azamara Journey and Celebrity Silhouette both berthed on the Mersey at the same time, attracting 45,000 people to the quayside and bringing a boost of £450,000.

Liverpool Film Office

The Film Office has recorded its most successful year to date and continues to attract high-end TV dramas and feature films to Liverpool. There have been 289 film and TV projects made in 2017, with 1,352 film days generating around £11.1m of inward investment. Production highlights include ‘Tolkien’ starring Nicholas Hoult, the return of ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ITV’s ‘Timewasters’. The team is also part of the campaign to bring Channel 4 to Liverpool.

Tourist Information Centres (TICs)

More than 80,000 visitors headed to the Albert Dock and John Lennon Airport TICs for advice on how to get around the city, tickets to attractions, help with accommodation and to buy souvenirs. The team proactively set up pop-up TICs at major events and located themselves at the Cruise Liner Terminal when ships are berthed in the city. This generated £150,000. External organisations are also now approaching the TICs to have a presence at events, such as the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge which opened in October.

In terms of supporting the wider culture sector in Liverpool, this latest information shows:

  • 36 organisations received funding totalling £2.9m per annum via the Culture Liverpool Investment Programme in 2017/17 and 2017/18 – these included the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Unity Theatre, Tate Liverpool, Pride and Writing on the Wall.
  • The funding provided by the city council safeguarded 1,300 jobs and allowed the organisations to raise another £28m.
  • It is estimated that for every £1 invested in the cultural sector, £10 is brought back into the city.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This has been a stellar year for culture in the city and I’m hugely proud of the quality and diversity of the 2017 offer.

“Sometimes it can be easy to take for granted the incredible events which take place, some of them for free, on our doorsteps.  You’d be hard pushed to find many other cities in the UK, or even Europe, who annually invest in this sector and ensure that people of all ages can access and experience the arts in some form.

“It has been one of our busiest years since 2008 and I know some of the events will live-long in thousands of people’s memories – whether it was the incredible firework spectacular at Camp Hill as part of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, seeing those beautiful Clipper vessels line the Mersey or standing in the beautiful surroundings of Sefton Park singing along to some of the best live music around.

“This report puts us in good stead as we look ahead to 2018 when we celebrate the city’s already thriving cultural scene, and also throw a few brand new events in for good measure!

“I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in this unforgettable year – from those in Culture Liverpool and other city council departments, right through to our partners across the city and of course our arts organisations which continue to deliver programmes that keeps Liverpool on an enviable cultural pedestal.”

The full report will be available to view in full on Monday 8 January 2018 at