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‘Iconic’ festival bid to boost tourism in Bradford
Bradford will host an “iconic” world-class festival as part of a cultural masterplan to boost tourism in the district and improve the city’s international reputation, it has been revealed.
A report to Bradford Council says residents want to live in an “awe-inspiring city” and announced plans to create a major new event over the next ten years in a bid to re-brand Bradford as a City of Festivals.
On Thursday, members of the authority’s regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee will hear a proposal to further cement the district’s festivals as must-attend events, capitalising on the success of existing nationally renowned festivals, including Ilkley Literature Festival, Bradford Animation Festival, Bradford International Film Festival, the Mela, Saltaire Festival and the World Curry Festival.
“Developing an iconic, world class festival that residents will be proud of and visitors will engage with as part of their cultural calendar will be part of the plan to bring festivals into the heart of the offering,” says the draft document, titled A Leading Cultural City 2014-2024.
“Establishing a renowned festival will take time, but it is more than just putting on an event.
“It is about connecting with our community, showcasing our cultural offer and placing festivals as must-attend events.”
However, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, said the “big challenge” would be funding events and it wouldn’t necessarily be down to the Council to deliver them.
The culture plan says that over the last ten years, Bradford has invested in “creating a cultural wealth to be proud of”, including a £1.75 million refurbishment of Cartwright Hall, investment in Bradford Theatres, the creation of a new internet gallery in the National Media Museum and the construction of the multi-million pound City Park.
“Over the next ten years, Bradford as a city of districts will drive forward a step-change in its cultural position – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” it adds.
“It will re-imagine itself, creating a new narrative about belonging, passion and pride. As a city, it will be confident, bold and inventive and proudly claim its position in the UK as a leading cultural destination.”
A review, which involved 121 interviews with organisations including Welcome to Yorkshire, the National Media Museum and Bradford City of Film, found Bradford was “punching below its weight” and had “enormous potential”.
Plans for the next ten years include offering more arts and cultural education, promoting the work of grassroots cultural groups, producing an annual culture programme in the city centre and marketing the city’s cultural offering.
Coun Hinchcliffe said the document “vital” to the future of the district.
“It’s ten years since the last culture strategy, so this document is way overdue.
“What we’re trying to do this time is to focus on people rather than places, investing in the grassroots arts organisations – the big, successful organisations of the future.
“It allows us to determine our priorities for the future and what Bradford is going to be known for.”
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