Circus

BLOG: How the city came together to stage an unforgettable week

It has been a week of firsts for the country and Liverpool has been at the very heart of it.

Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan MBE, reflects on what has taken place behind the scenes to bring events alive once more, and how team work really did make the dream work.

The images of clubbers, festival goers, comedy fans and business leaders that have come out of Liverpool this week have gone around the world. 

No masks. No social distancing. Hugging. Laughing. Dancing. Singing. Shaking hands and looking happy.  

These photos – from our first set of pilot events as part of the government’s Event Research Programme – feel like historical documents. Images from a bygone age. 

But they aren’t. 

The energy, colour and pure joy of human interaction is as blisteringly bright in those images as any you will ever see. It’s history in the making.

These happy faces are the culmination of an untold amount of work from a lot of people. 

Conversations around a pilot scheme started with the government in September last year. They became more real in mid-February. 

About six weeks ago everything started to move very fast. 

To cast my mind back to those early meetings it’s amazing how naive we were about the journey we would have to go on to get these shows open. 

Rightly the teams who put on such brilliant events this week – The Good Business Festival, Circus and Festival Republic – have got the limelight. All great partners and great event promoters.

But it is only because of the people of this city alongside a group of pioneering partners – Liverpool City Council, Public Health Liverpool, University of Liverpool, ACC Liverpool, Ticket Quarter amongst so many others – that these shows could happen.

A small but dedicated group of silent heroes from within each of these organisations has worked tirelessly at speed and with incredible creativity, resilience and humour to get us to this point. 

We aren’t finished yet.

The science really starts now for these first shows (if you were lucky enough to attend don’t forget to take your post event PCR test!) and on 14-16 May we have Luna Open Air Cinema as the next pilot event in the series. 

If these pilots prove to be successful in helping unlock live events and you find yourself at a gig, festival or a sporting event this summer, please raise a glass to the eclectic collection of data scientists, marketeers, lawyers, event organisers and customer service agents, to name a few, who helped make this week happen and start the journey to giving Liverpool its mojo back. 

Claire McColgan MBE