I wrote about Brazilica, Liverpool Biennial Festival, HOLI One Colour Festival and a little introduction for OPEN Magazine’s June/July issue. Get a copy or read it online here.
We’re only half way through 2014 but Liverpool seems to have already cemented its status as ‘City of the Year’. The national press can’t seem to stop reviewing our nightlife, restaurants and generally gushing over the atmosphere of the city. It seems everyone has caught up with what we’ve known for years – Liverpool is pretty amazing right now.
Since being named European Capital of Culture for 2008 (Yes, Hull winning the 2017 title does take the shine off it a little bit but lets not dwell on that), we’ve not stopped when it comes to all things ‘artsy’. This summer looks set to prove, once again, why Liverpool is one of the greatest cities in the world when it comes to arts and culture.
There’s plenty of festivals going on across the UK this summer (people who go to Glastonbury don’t tend to keep quiet about it so be prepared for a clogged Twitter feed that weekend) but there’s an abundance going on across the city that guarantees you don’t have to substitute showers for baby wipes and sleep in a soggy tent.
Liverpool’s Stanley Park is the venue of choice for one of the world’s most exciting and fun festival series – The HOLI ONE Colour festival.
Saturday 28th June will see music, dance, performance art (I’m still unsure exactly what that phrase means) and a load of people chucking bright powders in the air! With the powder colours ranging from ‘Violet Secret’ to ‘Pink Bikini’ and the aim of it to ‘create an explosion of colour and excitement aimed at celebrating togetherness and the colour of everyday life’ it does seem to have a ‘Wanky Student on a Gap Year’ vibe, yes. However, I’m a cynical and miserable soul and even I must admit this looks one of those events I’d be dragged along to but end up absolutely loving.
“The festival is all about making friends, coming together and having an unforgettable experience,” HOLI ONE founder, Stephan Dau states. “Everyone is equal at HOLI ONE and everyone leaves looking the same, with a smile on their face and some great pictures to remember it all by.” That sentiment alone is enough to make you want to don some white clothing and get down there to fling a load of paint around with some strangers.
Last year, 100,000 people worldwide attended HOLI ONE Colour festivals and it’s pretty amazing that this unique event is taking place in Liverpool. So if you’re not in a position to travel to India and participate in their Paint Festival any time soon, getting on a bus to Stanley Park for this one isn’t a bad substitute.
The Liverpool Biennial 2014 – this one’s a big one, it takes place from July 5th and continues all the way into the Autumn, October 26th. It’s the largest international contemporary art festival in the UK (yet another win for us, there) and is certainly one of the more highbrow events the city has to offer this year.
The Biennial was founded in 1999 and since then has funded 231 new artworks from 364 artists across the world. The Liverpool Biennial acts as a platform for research, commissioning and the presentation of international art, education and debate.
This year, Mai Abu EIDahab and Anthony Huberman curate the 8th Biennial Exhibition ‘A Needle Walks into a Haystack’. It aims to be an exhibition that disrupts the way we assume our habits and experience our habitats.
All of the shining stars in Liverpool’s crown (please excuse that cringe worthy phrase) when it comes to arts and cultures are the venues of choice for the 2014 event; The Bluecoat, FACT, Tate Liverpool and The Old Blind School amongst many others. It can be easy to simply forget to get round to visiting some of these fantastic venues that we have on our doorstop. This is the perfect opportunity to get down to Tate Liverpool, for example, with the tourists and experience some breathtaking art. Both on display now until 5th October, don’t miss the chance to see Claude Parent’s work in the Wolfson Gallery and the entire second floor hosting works from the collection, from an array of different artists.
Brazilian bands, street food stalls, Caipirinha bars and Carnival Queens – Liverpool’s annual Brazilica festival is back and the samba celebrations will be extra fitting given Brazil’s World Cup year.
By the time the nine-day samba spectacular kicks off (11-19 July) England’s hopes of winning the World Cup will be over. Yes the final is 13th July but let’s face it, Steven Gerrard and co will probably be able to be back well in time to be entertained, Rio style.
Now into its sixth year, Brazilica remains the UK’s only Brazilian Festival & Samba Carnival – yet again, we’re one step ahead of the rest of the country. Anyone who was at Sound City (another Liverpool success story – the largest metropolitan music and arts festival in the UK, thank you very much) in early May will have seen Wolstenholme Square transformed into a carnival area with samba and football going on (Apparently Brazil aren’t bad at the whole football thing.) If that sneak preview was anything to go by, we’re in for a breathtaking colourful, cultural treat this July.
After a week of food, dance, film, exhibitions and music, 19th July will see a grand finale with the Carnival and Parade day. Williamson Square will host the main stage and Brazilian market place and the streets will be lit up until 8pm with a magical night-time carnival parade.
Brazilica is just one of many examples of how Liverpool does culture like no other city across England and better still, it’s free! There’s no excuse for not getting into town over the week and treating your eyes and ears to the fantastic work of the Liverpool Carnival Company.