Weekend with the 08 ‘wow’ factor

by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

LIVERPOOL will this weekend go into ‘overdrive’ as the number of Capital of Culture events reaches a crescendo with Sir Paul McCartney’s Anfield concert tomorrow evening.

With sunny weather expected to hit a 21C high today, tens of thousands of shoppers are also expected to flock to the city’s new Liverpool One development for its first weekend.

The city’s cultural highlights include:

* The Klimt exhibition at the Tate, which opened to the public last night;

* Former Beatle George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and the Liverpool Culture Company presenting a special screening of Concert for George at Fact tonight;

* Stella McCartney unveiling her autumn /winter 08 collection at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts tomorrow.

Other major events include the last night of Roger McGough’s adaptation of Moliere’s 17th-century comedy, Tartuffe, at the Liverpool Playhouse tonight, and Eric’s – The Story of A Liverpool Club oon BBC Radio 2 tonight at 7pm.

Sir Paul’s Liverpool Sound concert tomorrow will cap a week that will have seen events in the city associated with all the former Beatles, apart from Ringo, who opened Culture year.

Yesterday, Yoko Ono called in to see an exhibition of John Lennon’s art in the foyer of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo building.

Last night, council leader Cllr Warren Bradley said the weekend was the perfect curtain raiser to a summer packed full of events that will include the Tall Ships arrival and The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

On Thursday, the Saga Rose, with 600 passengers aboard, will berth at Liverpool’s Cruise Terminal, followed by the arrival of the Ark Royal – one of the jeewel’s of the Royal Navy’s fleet – on Friday at 1pm..

Cllr Bradley said: ‘It is fabulous to see a city that has offered so much in one week.

‘I went down to Anfield to see the last-minute preparations and the stage is massive, people will see it on Sunday and be in awe.

‘This weekend is a great curtain-raiser for the summer.’

Officials at Liverpool One are this weekend also hoping to beat Thursday’s opening day, when more than 200,000 visitors packed into the shopping centre.

The street entertainers who contributed so much to the enjoyment of the day were so popular that Liverpool One chief Executive Joanne Jennings has decided to keep them on this weekend to thrill new shoppers.

She said: ‘We had a wonderful day that exceeded all our expectations and our retailers, too.

‘And the many street artists involved really helped build the fabulous sense of occasion that contributed to the brilliant turnout from the public.

‘Liverpool One is so much more than just a shopping experience. It’s about bringing the streets of this part of the city back to life – something I feel we have done in grand style.’

The artists set to perform over the weekend include Cirque Bijou, whose unique blend of street and circus theatre will see them prowling the streets of Liverpool One in outlandish costumes to entertain shoppers returning once again to the city centre.

They will be joined by Europe’s most extravagant balloon artists, Baloonatic, who will be proving there is more to balloon sculpture than sausage dogs.

Martin King, director of tourism at The Mersey Partnership (TMP), said: ‘It’s been a phenomenal few days – and there’s so much more to come.
‘In terms of attractions, events and activities for visitors we have gone into overdrive.

‘The Klimt exhibition was always going to be a highlight of 2008 and the response to this week’s preview and official opening have been fantastic.

‘Liverpool One really is transforming the region’s retail offer, and that’s before it’s fully open in September.

‘Sunday at Anfield promises to be another memorable highlight of 2008.

‘Next week, we see the arrival of 600 passengers aboard the next cruise ship to call at Liverpool, the draw for the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament and a host of other events which underline the City Region’s appeal as a world class destination during Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Year.’

FOR tickets for ‘Concert for George’ call 08717 042063. Don’t miss Monday’s Liverpool Daily Post for a special eight-page commemorative supplement on Sir Paul’s Anfield concert.

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