Posts by Cultural Champions
CAN you have a day out in Liverpool with your kids for a fiver? Yes, you can. You just have to plan it and you definitely have to be able to laugh (and re-plan) in the face of miserable weather.
My name is Andrea and I'm one of Liverpool's 5 Cultural Champions. I set myself a challenge this year to get out and about with my children without spending a fortune. In fact, I set myself a target of finding five days out for a fiver a pop. To put this in perspective, a recent study showed that the average cost of a family day out can be a staggering £80.00. Just reading that figure made my eyes water.
Now a bit of advice if you decide to take on a day out for a fiver. You need to plan and you need to be flexible in case the weather's a bit rubbish. When I started out, I had images in my head of having happy, skippy, picnic-y days out in glorious sunshine, but in reality I've taken to carting round an emergency rain poncho, just in case.
We all know we're living in austere times. Liverpool City Council is still in the midst of making massive cuts to jobs and services following the savage cuts to the funding it receives form central government. And so it would be easy for the Council to cut funding to arts and culture programmes. And yet, after going to Music on the Waterfront on Saturday night, it was plain to see that the Council has made at least one savvy decision here.
I'm not a politician and I'm certainly not party political, but as a Cultural Champion, one of the big issues that concerns me is funding for the very stuff that makes people come to Liverpool. Music on the Waterfront is one such example.
Put on in partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Smooth FM, this is a celebration of a whole host of musical talent and, importantly, a place that the whole family could go to and enjoy.
There were an estimated 20,000 people at the Pier Head on Saturday night and, while the event may have been free to attend, there was certainly money generated on the back of it. The atmosphere was wonderful, helped no doubt by the sun popping out for the evening, and anyone experiencing Liverpool for the first time would, I'm sure, have gone away with a great impression of the city.
We made a bit of a Cultural Champions family night out of it and the acts all delivered great performances, from little Joe McElderry, he of the lovely voice from the X Factor, to Paul Carrack via Jackie Graham and Honey Ryder.
My personal favourite was the supremely wonderful Jocelyn Brown and I confess I may have embarrassed myself by bouncing around in an unseemly manner as she belted out the old club anthem Always There.
Headliner Russell Watson strutted the stage like an operatic rock star and delivered a rousing Nessun Dorma as the sun went down and fireworks lit up the sky.
The Capital of Culture year in 2008 was a great one for Liverpool and I think it's vital that we carry on the Cultural legacy for the city to continue to grow. I also think that in these dire economic times we need to embrace the things that are unique to the city because these are the things that help to bring people in and build a thriving economy.
Long may Liverpool City Council have the foresight to support the arts and music that run through the veins of the city.
You can follow Liverpool's Cultural Champions on our blog at liverpoolculturalchampions.com