GET SET FOR CULTURE CLASH
CARDIFF AMONG THE EARLY FAVOURITES TO BE CROWNED NEXT UK CITY OF CULTURE
CARDIFF is an early favourite to be 2021’s UK City of Culture – as bidding for the title gets under way.
Hull is the current City of Culture, having beaten Swansea to the title in 2013.
But calls yesterday were led by Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, who has said one of Wales’ cities should put themselves forward for the 2021 title.
He made the call after the Department of Culture, Media and Sport opened the competition to cities across the UK to bid for the title.
And according to Ladbrokes, Cardiff is currently third favourite with odds of 5/1.
Coventry is currently favourite to take the title at 2/1, with Perth’s odds standing at 4/1.
The UK City of Culture title is designed to “use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration and raise the profile of arts and creativity locally and across the country”.
As well as boosting arts and culture, it also helps attract investment and boost tourism.
Cardiff has enjoyed past success in promoting its art and culture – including last year’s City of the Unexpected which celebrated the centenary of the birth of Roald Dahl.
Thousands of performers were involved in the weekend extravaganza which saw tightrope-walking foxes, a wedding between a fireman and a ladybird and even a giant peach make its way to the city centre in extraordinary street performances and spectacular sights for families and visitors to enjoy.
Mr Cairns said: “I would be delighted to see one of Wales’ great cities putting themselves forward to be the UK City of Culture in 2021. This is a fantastic opportunity for a city to showcase its arts and culture profile to boost tourism, raise its profile and increase investment. I urge local authorities across Wales to look at the potential benefits and seriously consider a bid.”
The local authority would have to give it their support and each party in Cardiff was asked if they would support it.
A Labour group spokesman said: “Cardiff is always looking to promote itself and we have a pretty impressive record, including hosting this year’s Champions League final.
“The ball is firmly in Alun Cairns’ court. Is he willing to support such a bid with his money rather than warm words or will he do his usual? Will he continue with his usual procedure of big words while failing to deliver the financials that this city needs to support such a bid.”
Lib Dem Councillor Nigel Howells said: “Becoming the UK’s City of Culture would be a golden opportunity to celebrate and promote not only Cardiff’s cultural assets but also the rich and diverse communities of Cardiff.
“There is no doubt that when it comes to hosting major events, Cardiff is one of Europe’s leading players. A future Liberal Democrat administration would be keen to secure this event as part of our vision for a more prosperous Cardiff.”
Conservative group leader David Walker said: “I would fully support a Cardiff bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Our city has a great Welsh cultural tradition and history and many great things to showcase. I believe that in seeking such recognition we are well placed in Cardiff to put a strong bid forward.
“I would be optimistic of success and if awarded it would boost the city’s growing profile nationally and internationally”.
Plaid Cymru were also contacted for comment.
The launch of the 2021 competition comes in the same month that Hull kicked off its year as the second UK City of Culture, after Derry/ Londonderry in 2013.
Cities have to register by the end of February with final bids by April 28.
It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will deliver £60m to Hull’s economy in 2017. The city has seen a £1bn boost in investment since winning the title in 2013.
There was talk of Cardiff and the Valley authorities bidding to be the European Capital of Culture but once the Brexit vote took place, it was seen as unviable.
Cardiff City Hall during the City of the Unexpected Roald Dahl celebrations
Roald Dahl celebrations in Cardiff last year – proof that the city can host big cultural events