Now that the behemoth that is Eurovision is over, you’d think the events team in Culture Liverpool must be taking their (very tired) feet off the pedal. Think again, as manager Sue Gibson talks about how the relentless events world continues to turn at pace.
It’s funny when people think the team and I are now sitting back, relaxing and taking it all in following the Eurovision extravaganza which essentially took over our lives for seven months. But in our world, spending time reflecting on your achievements before moving on to the next project is never the case. In fact, just two weeks after the stage lights were turned off on one of the most successful Eurovision Song Contests ever, the events team was back on the Pier Head once again – but instead of sequins and glitter balls, we had military assets and lots of proud men and women in uniform as the city marked the Battle of the Atlantic anniversary. In just a matter of weeks we were back in the city centre managing our Armed Forces Day activities.
We are already looking ahead to our next raft of major events. Meetings and discussions are taking place behind the scenes about Mandela Day, this year’s instalment of River of Light, Remembrance Sunday, our Christmas offering and even Chinese New Year in 2024. Experience tells us all of these free highlights attract thousands of visitors, so it’s about working with our creative leads to bring their vision to life and ensure we once again deliver crowd-pleasing, safe and successful activities.
It’s also a common misconception that if the City Council isn’t staging event, then we can’t be busy. Again, not the case.
Here in Liverpool you could say we are victims of our own success – the events team is regarded as a real exemplar of best practice when it comes to this sector – over the past two decades we have evolved the way in which we work, learning lessons and always striving to do things better. One of the stand-out ways in which we work – and one which garners us a huge amount of national attention from the industry – is how we work with other organisations across the city. Whether it’s emergency services, transport providers, or commercial stakeholders, we have now have processes in place which, in the most basic terms, results in all the key people knowing well in advance, what is happening, when it’s happening and how it’s happening.
Because of this, we are constantly approached by external companies and agencies to support them with what they are delivering – our expertise and knowledge provides an events security blanket for organisers! And it’s in our interests that events that take place in Liverpool are the best they can be – you are only ever as good as your last event – so there is always the ambition to go above and beyond where possible.
Over the years we have established great relationships with the likes of Cream which is responsible for the incredibly popular On The Waterfront events, and Pride in Liverpool which grows in popularity year-on-year. When it comes to these events we facilitate stakeholder engagement, ensure all joint agency procedures are followed, we’re part of a Safety Advisory Group and we advise on the event planning side of things which covers aspects such as road closures and security guidance.
And it’s not just Liverpool-based event organisers we work with – national outlets are always keen to utilise our experience – and over the years we have worked with big names such as Pokemon Go, Red Bull and Live Nation.
No other events team works like us, which is why we are always an interesting subject matter – already this year I’ve been asked to speak to a national emergency services and a major events conference, and I’ve been invited to be part of a symposium to talk to university students about life in the events industry – I’m always happy, and really proud, to talk about our achievements and in the case of the students, hopefully inspire them to consider a future in the sector. Not put them off!
It’s safe to say, when working in the world of events you barely have time to catch your breath before the next project – and in all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way.