In less than two years’ time the eyes of the nation will be on Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017. Here are seven of the most recent signs why city will be hitting the headlines for all the right reasons…
1. Winning the title of UK City of Culture 2017 has already had a significant impact on Hull – which has recently announced that it will be hosting an entire year of cultural programming, commencing on January 1st 2017 and running right through to until December 31st. Something will take place on every day of the year, guaranteeing locals and visitors alike there will be something for them to see or do whichever day they are in the city. The first programme announcement will be made in September 2016, but there will be several high profile announcements of key events between now and then.
2. One such announcement has already been made: Hull is to host the Turner Prize, one of the biggest events in British art, when it is UK City of Culture in 2017. The contemporary art award and corresponding exhibition is to be staged at the city’s Ferens Art Gallery. It is the first event to be announced for Hull’s City of Culture year. The gallery will get a £4.5m facelift to bring it up to the required standards.
3. Hull City Council has recently given the green light to a major project designed to put the city on the map as a world-class visitor destination. The development of a riverside berth and cruise terminal will now move a step closer, as a report setting out the plans highlights that the development of a cruise terminal could deliver a £13m annual injection into Hull’s economy and a further £15m economic boost across the Humber region. Initial investigations have identified Sammy’s Point, adjacent to leading visitor attraction, The Deep, as the preferred location for the new riverside berth.
4. Hull will need accommodation for the thousands of travelers and backpackers expected to arrive in the city before, during and after the 2017 UK City of Culture year – and has recently welcomed its first and only backpacker hostel. Hull Trinity Hostel’s (http://www.hulltrinityhostel.co.uk) mission is to provide “affordable accommodation and a welcoming environment where people can experience some true Northern hospitality while enjoying the atmosphere of this great city”.
5. Plans for a £36m music and events centre in Hull have been confirmed. Hull City Council has approved a decision to find a partner to run the proposed 3,500 capacity venue. A planning application is yet to be submitted but if it is given the go ahead, a derelict area behind the Princes Quay shopping centre will be completely transformed and should open in 2018. Under the proposals, the venue would host major touring concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows and sporting events. It will also include exhibition space, a restaurant, and an outside broadcast space. A hotel will also be built by the owners of Princes Quay as part of the overall scheme – helping to secure a long-term legacy from the city’s year as UK City of Culture.
6. Philip Larkin is to be honoured with a memorial in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. A floor stone dedicated to Larkin – who died 30 years ago, in 1985 – will join the names of the country’s best-loved poets including WH Auden, TS Eliot and William Wordsworth. It will be unveiled on December 2nd, 2016, the 31st anniversary of Larkin’s death. With poems like The Whitsun Weddings and This Be The Verse he is widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest 20th Century poets. Larkin took up the position of librarian at the University of Hull in 1955 and, in the same year, published his acclaimed collection The Less Deceived. Visitors to Hull can today follow The Larkin Trail around Hull – http://www.thelarkintrail.co.uk.
7. There will be a chance to have a sneak preview of what the UK City of Culture 2017 will look, feel and sound like in just two year’s time, when the stars take to the stage for the 2015 Freedom Festival. Now firmly established as the city’s premier annual cultural event, Hull’s 2015 Freedom Festival (www.freedomfestival.co.uk) promises another eye-popping, thought-provoking, fun-filled weekend of established international acts and emerging talent over the weekend of September 4th-6th on the streets of Hull’s Fruit Market and city centre. Acid-jazz legends James Taylor Quartet, comedian Shappi Khorsandi plus emerging talent Rat Boy are set to join one of UK’s best live bands Public Service Broadcasting and ground-breaking Tubular Bells For Two in line-up for biggest arts event in next UK City of Culture.
Keep an eye on http://hull2017.co.uk for further announcements.