Liverpool’s seven week programme celebrating its relationship with Cunard, links with the USA and its cultural gems attracted an estimated 1.6 million visitors.
One Magnificent City (OMC) has been hailed a huge success with a packed programme which ran from Friday 15 May until Sunday 5 July.
Many cultural venues, attractions and businesses saw a massive increase in the number of visitors as a direct result of events held as part of the programme – with increases of up to 180 percent during the Three Queens weekend, and over 300,000 people visiting Liverpool ONE.
• National Museums Liverpool: For the Three Queens weekend, Merseyside Maritime Museum (MMM) received 24,245 visitors, an increase of 142 per cent on the same two days in 2014. The Museum of Liverpool (MOL) received 19,565 an increase of 180 per cent on the previous year. Increases were seen at both venues during the International Mersey River Festival – MMM 11,323 (up 35 per cent on 2014), MOL 12,679 (up 29 per cent on 2014) – and at MOL during the T175 welcomed 13,373 visitors, an increase of 45 per cent on 2014.
• Albert Dock Liverpool: A huge boost in business was experienced during the OMC programme, and during the T175 weekend alone footfall exceeded 75,000.
• Three Cunard Queens: Officially named as one of Merseyside’s most successful free events, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral attracted a massive 1.2million people from Saturday 23 until Tuesday 26 May. With Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria meeting on the River Mersey for the first time and three nights of the stunning projection show, Amazing Graces, taking place on the Pier Head, it boosted the local economy by nearly £33million and the media coverage it received was worth £30million.
• LightNight: With the theme Looking to the New World, this was the first OMC event and saw 137 free events take place on the night of Friday 15 May. It attracted more than 65,000 visitors – the highest in LightNight’s history – who flocked to 56 cultural venues and spaces in the city.
• Timeliners: Located in the Cunard Building as part of LightNight, Timeliners brought to life the stories of Cunard workers from medical officers to the heavy gang, through a brand new installation by Make Space Create. An audience of 2,537 came to see the memories and forgotten images of those who worked on the world famous liners throughout the one night it was on display.
• Look/15 Women In The City: Look/15 ran a photographic competition which would be a celebration of Liverpool’s female population. More than 160 entries were received, with judges being bowled over with how the brief was interpreted. Work was exhibited at venues including The Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool ONE and The Bluecoat, attracting an impressive 475,000 visitors, some of whom were international visitors hailing from St Petersburg, Paris and New York. These figures mean LOOK/15’s audience has grown by 46 per cent from 2013.
• The Crossing, Liverpool ONE: A world first in an outdoor shopping destination, surrounding visitors to the city with the sounds synonymous with the special relationship between Liverpool and New York. It used unique 3D sound techniques developed by Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware and his company Illustrious to create an audio journey across the music, fashion and culture Liverpool shares with New York
• Cunard Connections Walking Tours: The stories of Cunarders were brought alive with six special 1.5 hour tours around the waterfront. Demand for the 25 spaces per tour was high, and all were booked up within days of going on sale, which meant 150 visitors benefitted from tour guide’s Deborah Mulhearn’s knowledge.
• International Mersey River Festival: Taking place from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 June, the waterfront welcomed 220,000 visitors who enjoyed a weekend of boats, live music, street entertainment, air displays and a raft race. Kicking off in conjunction with BBC Music Day on the 5 June, homecoming performances from DJ Craig Charles and Rebecca Ferguson were a highlight for many. The city also played host to the first ever Northern Boat Show which was enjoyed by visitors and exhibitors alike. Boat sales were made and organisers are already planning their return in 2016 when the festival takes place on 3-5 June 2016.
• Rock n Roll Marathon: A riot of music and culture took over the city on 14 and 15 June with 12,000 runners enjoying the two-day festival.
• Subterranean Theatre: The Maurie: Written by Writing on the Wall’s Mike Morris, the play was based on a 1920’s short story by rediscovered Liverpool seafarer and writer George Garrett. It celebrates the mighty ‘scouse boat’ The Mauretania, and the lives of those who worked below decks. The 11 night run which took place in the atmospheric Cunard building was a sell out and in total, 600 people saw the production.
• An evening with Walter Mosley: The acclaimed American author entertained 115 people at a unique Town Hall event during which the novelist read extracts from his books and answered questions from the audience.
• Tate Liverpool: Although figures for the Jackson Pollock exhibition won’t be released until after it finished on the 18 October, Tate Liverpool reported a 40 per cent increase in visits to the gallery on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July.
• Transatlantic 175 weekend (T175): An independent economic impact report due out in a couple of months will reveal the full effects of the weekend, but without a doubt it was a hugely successful couple of days. Liverpool created a new Guinness World Record – 3651 for the most people modelling on a catwalk, smashing the record by 568 people and celebrating with a huge disco on the dock. It also hosted its first ever classic car cavalcade along with a vintage and food festival. The weekend was curated by designer Wayne Hemingway and at this stage is believed to have attracted 250,000 people to the waterfront across the two days.
• Gianni Russo events: The Godfather actor took part in a Q&A session at Liverpool ONE’s Odeon Cinema on Saturday 4 July prior to a screening of the Oscar winning film to an audience of 150 people. The following night, his sold out show One Night Only, entertained an intimate audience of 120 with many Sinatra songs and stories.
Some of the events already formed part of the city’s cultural calendar, the rest were new commissions funded through the Mayor’s Fund.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The achievements of the last seven weeks are astounding.
“Not only have we had a series of major events pulling in huge crowds, but interspersed with these have been unique cultural commissions giving some of our arts organisations the opportunity to be part of this special programme.
“A full analysis of the seven weeks will take some time to compile, but we already know that we’ve attracted more than 1.6 million visitors alone during this short period of time and the economic benefit is in its tens of millions.
“I’m proud to be Mayor of a city that values its cultural offering and understands the boost it can give, not only in monetary terms, but in the pride that it engenders in the people who live in Liverpool. When it comes to events the ambitions of this city are unrivalled – with a programme of challenging and mostly free activities, Liverpool has without a doubt raised the bar.
“And it’s important to remember that our events season isn’t over yet – Liverpool International Music Festival returns in August and the always popular fireworks displays will take place in November.”
To look back at One Magnificent City visit www.onemagnificentcity.co.uk or follow @OMCLpool on Twitter and One Magnificent City Liverpool on Facebook.
What they say
Chris Bliss, Estate Director at Liverpool ONE:
“One Magnificent City was a 7 week wonderful city wide celebration. Liverpool ONE enjoyed footfall growth of over 7% during the May half term week, thanks in large part to the arrival of the Three Cunard Queens. Over the May bank holiday weekend, a over 300,000 people visited Liverpool ONE and the centre of the city was vibrant and exciting. The Crossing, a pioneering soundscape based on South John Street is estimated to have entertained around a million visitors over the seven weeks it ran. The first of its kind in an outdoor shopping destination, The Crossing took Liverpool ONE visitors on a journey through sound from Liverpool to New York spanning the 175 year history of transatlantic travel. One Magnificent City was an incredible testament to the city, and we are proud to have contributed to such a historic event for Liverpool.”
Charlotte Corrie, Director of Open Culture:
“It was wonderful for LightNight to kick-start the entire One Magnificent City programme. In the run up to the 15 May there was a real buzz about the city – people were planning what they were going to see during LightNight, but also looking ahead to the other events coming up, and there was the real feeling of people embracing all these amazing cultural opportunities on offer. LightNight this year had over 65,000 visits which was fantastic and they are our best visitor figures in LightNight’s six year history.”
Deborah Mulhearn, Liverpool Literary Walks
“It was wonderful to be part of One Magnificent City. I loved meeting all the people who came on the Cunard Connections walking tours. Many of them shared their own Cunard connections, and their stories gave the walks an extra dimension. I had done a lot of research, but the memories and anecdotes people shared were fascinating and often very moving, and a reminder that we are still connected to people and events that happened many years ago.”
Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director, Writing on the Wall
“Being able to showcase the work of Writing on the Wall during the OMC city celebrations was a real bonus for WoW. We’ve championed the links between Liverpool and New York for many years and appreciated the opportunity to bring our festival to a wider audience. Well done to the Culture Liverpool Team – it’s been a really special couple of months.”
Mike Morris, Writer & Producer, The Maurie
“I felt it was hugely symbolic to be able to feature, alongside the magnificence of the great liners, my new play, ‘The Maurie’, celebrating the lives of those who worked below decks in the engine rooms – the Stokers. The life of George Garrett, who wrote the original short story from which the play was adapted, can tell us so much about Liverpool’s development. It was a real pleasure to work with Culture Liverpool to bring the story to life in the unique surroundings of the Cunard Building.”
Emma Smith, Executive Director Look/15
“LOOK are proud partners of Liverpool City Council and have enjoyed being a part of the One Magnificent City celebrations. Their support of our cultural programme helps us to reach audiences, develop new work and share it with the people of the city and beyond. This year’s Women in the City competition has been a great success, with entries submitted from Russia, America and Africa as well as those from closer to home. People’s interpretation of our brief – to positively portray females – generated some incredible art, exposed some historic images, revealed amazing personal stories and collectively provided an interesting centre for LOOK/15, which this year received in excess of 475,000 visitors. We would like to say thank you to Liverpool, to the city council and to the Three Queens for truly revealing that this is, without doubt, One Magnificent City.”
Gav Cross, Make Space Create
“Timeliners has been an epic and delightful project to be part of. It has been a real privilege to be part of this incredible event and to be a Culture Liverpool Mayoral Commission. One of the greatest pleasures was seeing people come to Timeliners, not rush and take in the stories. It was overwhelming and moving that it engaged people in such a way.”
Lucy Cattell, National Museums Liverpool Communications Manager
“It’s clear that One Magnificent City has had a real impact on visitors to our waterfront venues. The Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum have both seen an increase in visitors for the key weekends during the programme of events, which have drawn people to the waterfront to see the Three Cunard Queens and other activities. If people visit the city for one thing, they tend to make the most of their time by exploring other attractions as well, so it’s a great opportunity to get involved and highlight our museums and galleries as part of everything that Liverpool has to offer.”
Peter Cronin, director of development and marketing for Albert Dock Liverpool, said:
“The One Magnificent City celebration has been seven unforgettable weeks that will be etched in the city’s history forever. Albert Dock has been at the heart of much of the activity – from the Three Queens in May to the River Festival in June, and Vintage on the Dock last week – and business has been booming at our attractions, bars and restaurants. Visitor numbers at Albert Dock for the Vintage on the Dock weekend alone exceeded 75,000, which is just phenomenal. We endeavour to continue to work closely with our partners across the waterfront and wider city region as creating world-class events like One Magnificent City only comes about from the city working together as one.”