This year, Liverpool is set for a summer of music, a major commemoration of the centenary of WW1 and culture enough to keep the most artistically minded content. Here are just five of the highlights to red circle in your diary, and make sure you book a Liverpool hotel room in plenty of time. Reason enough to keep returning to the banks of the Mersey this spring and summer, we’d say…
THE GRAND NATIONAL 3-5 April
It’s three days of fun, dressing up, thrills and spills, as the city’s premier sporting and social shindig, The Crabbie’s Grand National Festival 2014, attracts over 150,000 visitors over three days to this very British sporting institution which includes Grand Opening Day, Ladies’ Day and The Grand National Day itself. Grab your slice of turfside action – nothing comes close to this thrilling event.
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY, 1-4 May
In just six years, Liverpool Sound City has become the nation’s biggest – and we have to say, best – metropolitan music festival and conference based in the heart of the city. Over three days you can experience over 300 artists play over 25 stages, and enjoy keynote speakers such as The Velvet Underground’s legendary composer, John Cale. Wristbands ensure entry to the whole shebang, which this year looks at the holy trinity of football, music and fashion.
LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL, 5 July – 26 October
With artists chosen from across the globe, invited to come to the city to create new work that responds to the people and places of Liverpool, the Liverpool Biennial is never less than surprising, inventive and – at times – head-scratchingly challenging. With installations popping up in empty buildings, shopping malls, hotels and pubs, the city becomes one huge walk-through gallery for 12 thrilling weeks.
RETURN OF THE GIANTS, 23-27 July
Liverpool will host the UK’s flagship 2014 World War One (WW1) commemoration event – marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. The event is commissioned jointly by Liverpool City Council and 14-18 NOW, the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme.
Memories of August 1914 will be brought to Liverpool by street theatre tour de force Royal De Luxe, who captivated crowds of 800,000 people in 2012 with the Giant spectacular Sea Odyssey.
LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL, Throughout August
Returning to the grassy expanse of the city’s stunning Sefton Park, the award-winning ACC Arena, and the UNESCO-awarded Waterfront, the Liverpool International Music Festival will see world-first commissions, internationally renowned acts, and the thrilling Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, for a summer of pop, classical, world and electronic music: celebrating 50 years since the Beatles stormed America, expect the city to party for two weeks – culminating on the August Bank Holiday weekend of 13-15 August.