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Liverpool 2018 reveals latest events programme

Ten years ago today a crowd of 50,000 packed Lime Street to mark the People’s Opening of Capital of Culture year.

Now a decade on Liverpool is preparing to celebrate a stellar 12 months once more.

And today the city’s culture chiefs are revealing another series of major public events, festivals and projects taking place between now and December.

It follows previous announcements including the arrival of the Terracotta Warriors, the Feast of Fire in St John’s Gardens, Tall Ships regatta, Clipper Race finale, Clothes Show and the stunning Rewire at Toxteth Reservoir.

The latest news takes in a new Irish music festival, a look at how we’ll work and play in the future, the world’s most prestigious wine festival, and commemorations for the centenary of the end of the First World War among other events.

Read more: A cultural celebration past and future

And Liverpool’s ‘lost castles’ are set to be recreated – using nothing but cardboard and sticky tape.

More announcements are due to be made in the next few weeks, including what is being billed as an ‘epic family festival’ and a major new piece of public art.

Head of culture Claire McColgan says: “What is planned for this year showcases the scale of our innovation and ambition – setting us apart from other cities and helping us continually use culture to attract visitors, investment and create and maintain jobs.

“Liverpool is the most exciting city in the UK and in 2018 it’s the place to be if you want to experience something special.”

Here’s what you can enjoy during the year.

China Dream Season – February-October

More information has been revealed about the China Dream season of events which coincide with and complement the arrival of the Terracotta Warriors in Liverpool.

It will open on February 8 with a new exhibition, Presence: A Window in to Contemporary Chinese Art, which will be staged in St George’s Hall and will feature work by some of the best of modern day Chinese artists, and famed Chinese cellist Jian Wang who will perform with the RLPO at the Philharmonic Hall on February 8-9.

The season will be divided in to three: Chinese New Year in February – when the city will turn red (and not because of LFC), a dragon boat festival in the summer, and a celebration of the Moon Festival in October.

Rapid Response Unit – end of February onwards

A major international project involving high profile artists, musicians, poets and other creatives who will be invited to develop new work in response to what is happening in the global news each week.

A special ‘newsroom’ will be set up in St Johns Market, where the creatives will take on the role of reporters, working with communities and arts organisations.

When it is complete, the work will be shared for free with media organisations for them to put out.

Organisers are calling it “a pretty extraordinary endeavour” and “bold for a city to do.”

The Future World of Work – May-July

In the next 20 years it’s estimated half the jobs we have now may no longer exist. This season, led by FACT, and involving a series of artists commissions, will look at what that means for all of us and for the future world of work.

The Future World of Work will coincide with the International Business Festival and with UNI Global, the international union holding its fifth World Congress to ACC Liverpool, and will bring some of the biggest and best thinkers to the city to tackle the idea.

Bordeaux Wine Festival – May 25-28

The world’s most prestigious wine festival comes to the UK for the first time as part of the celebrations around the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta.

The tall ships race takes competitors from Liverpool to Dublin and on to Bordeaux, and this special additional event will give people who visit the Pier Head a real taste of the French festival.

It has already been announced that the tall ships event, taking place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend, will feature three cultural festivals – Liverpool Festival in the city centre, Irish Festival at the Albert Dock and French Festival on the Pier Head, each with their own unique atmosphere and cultural experience.

The Art of Football Season – June 14-July 15

Coinciding with the football World Cup, this month-long event features a series of works commissioned which have football at their heart.

The season will be packed with celebratory events, exhibitions and happenings, and will give artists the chance to examine the popular culture of football from their perspective, as well as looking at the idea of ‘fandom’ and creating an opportunity for discourse between writers, photographers, music and fashion cultural representatives, football fans and non-football fans alike.

The Feis Liverpool – July 7

An estimated two thirds of Liverpudlians have Irish heritage – so it’s no wonder the city is twinned with the Irish capital Dublin.

Now there’s a new kid in town when it comes to Irish-themed events. The Feis (pronounced fesh) will be staged on the Mersey waterfront, bringing some of the best contemporary and traditional Irish performers to the city for one day only.

Vince Power, Irish founder of the Mean Fiddler organisation, is one of the movers and shakers behind what is hoped will become an annual event.

Lost Castles – August 11-12

French visual artist Olivier Grossetête creates amazing edifices using nothing more than cardboard boxes. His work has been seen in places including Geneva, Aix-en-Provence, Sydney, Glasgow and last year’s City of Culture Hull (see above - courtesy of Hull Freedom Festival).

Now he’s heading for the banks of the Mersey.

In August he will enlist the help of Liverpool people to recreate in cardboard some of the castles which once stood in the area – and on their original sites. Once the ‘castles’ are built, they will become unique venues for events and performances.

Oh, and after the event is over, the castles will be ‘responsibly recycled’.

Leisureland – September

While Future World of Work looks at how we’ll earn a living, Leisureland looks at how we’ll spend our free time in a decade or two.

The team behind the Kazimier are staging Leisureland at the popular Invisible Wind Factory venue in the North Docks, and are promising an immersive AI experience.

Smash the Keys – September 20-30

Liverpool is known as a music festival city, but this is an event with a difference – a festival celebrating a single instrument.

While the RLPO is putting piano at the heart of its 2018 programming, including Wirral-born international virtuoso Stephen Hough playing all five Beethoven concertos, Smash the Keys will feature not just classical music but all forms and genres, including jazz, grime, hip hop, and swing – performed by some of the biggest names in music.

Smash the Keys will open with the winner of the prestigious Leeds Piano Competition playing with the Phil and Vasily Petrenko, but then pianos will be everywhere, including back in traditional places like pubs where they will once again be at the heart of the community.

Brittle Heart Season – October-November

It seems like only yesterday we were commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War – and now this autumn we commemorate 100 years since it ended.

The Brittle Heart season includes a performance of Benjamin Britten’s mighty War Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral by the RLPO, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Hannover NDR Philharmonic, taking place on the eve of Armistice Day.

It also includes a look at women’s rights, marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act gave women over the age of 30 the vote.

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