Wednesday, August 30, 2006


There's an email from Jim McCabe bringing the reports of the Beatle Festival - sorry, Mathew Street Festival- to our attention. Jim adds:

This is the sort of puff-piece that looks out of place when yanked from its natural habitat, the Liverpool Echo. I was at the festival throughout the weekend & witnessed a pathetic procession of "tribute" bands (the word has now become a derogatory term), punctuated by some welcome sets by the likes of Shack & Amsterdam. There are the stirrings of a debate on the BBC Liverpool messageboard about a perceived slight against the festival by the national media because of their minimal coverage; some poor, deluded souls have asked why the Carling Festival was covered by the Beeb, but not this annual nostalgia fest. The stage at the Pier Head for new, unsigned Liverpool bands was a welcome relief, but it still seemed to be treated by the festival organisers as an afterthought.

We must admit we raised a curious eyebrow at the report stating that it was the best ever festival on the say-so of the people who organised it - and, as Jim says, that's exactly the angle the Echo took.

Of course, the organisers - also trying to make the City of Culutre year a success - are keen to grab any positive coverage they can, as the plans continue to go wobbly, with reports of gangsterism rife amongst the 2008 construction projects and builders asking for more time to complete the key Paradise Street project. Ominously for the 2008 team, the Paradise Street construction team led by Grosvenor have started to point out they have no actual legal obligation to finish the work before 2009, and talks to find partners for two of the major parts of the site gave way this month.

Even the Echo had to admit that the shine was taken off this weekend as the 350,000 visitors to the city were greeted not by shiny cultural newness, but a half-submerged rusting wreck.

The artistic director of the Liverpool Cultural Company, Robyn Archer, bailed out of the project in July.


Anonymous said...

I was surprised (well, actually I wasn't surprised but..) to see them claiming more visitors than ever. I'm pretty sure 350000 are the same figures they always claim and the streets were noticeably quieter this year, much easier to walk round. Yes, they do manage to get the odd proper band there but Shack, The Proclaimers and the Lightning Seeds isn't the greatest line-up.

Surely the biggest costs are security, road closures, stages, infrastructure, etc. Would it cost a great deal more to put some proper bands on?

I saw an echo headline saying they were 'in talks' to get McCartney and Ringo together on stage for 2008 mathew st festival. Didn't bother to buy it of course and the story hasn't even made it onto the echo website.

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