Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mathew Street Festival axed by City of Culture

Perhaps inevitably, Liverpool's managed to screw up another one of its major events, pulling the Mathew Street Festival citing building work as the cause:

Jason Harborow, chief executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said in a statement: “In many ways, the Mathew Street Festival has become a victim of its own success this year. The huge growth in the popularity of the festival, combined with the loss of the Pier Head, presented us with a massive problem.

“The advice relates specifically to the unique conditions surrounding the staging of the Mathew Street Festival this year, and does not affect the city’s ability to stage other large-scale events.”

Oh, really? 2007 is meant to be a big party year for Liverpool as well, being the 800th anniversary of the place - and they've just axed the biggest event the city hosts. Whether or not this affects the city's ability to stage other events simply misses the point - the 2005 festival generated £32million for the local economy, according to the Culture Company's own figures, and to pull the 2007 event with just a few week's notice looks suspiciously like a massive disaster from where we're sitting.

The building work, supposedly, is meant to be making the city ready for its spell as Capital of Culture, which raises the question of why shiny new branches of Debenhams and the like are meant to be better for the cultural life of the city than, you know, actual culture.