The common consensus is that 2017 - Hull’s year of celebration as UK City of Culture, has been a resounding success. The publicity the city has received nationally and internationally, which let’s face it has often been negative and less-than complimentary in the past, has taught those who didn’t know that Hull is a beautiful and unique city with an honest heart and endearing character.
The flagship events and big names that have been part of the official programme have pulled in the visitors, earned rave reviews and put us in the spotlight. Those who visited quickly learned there is more to the story than the headlines…
Alongside the official programmed events, local artists, musicians, business owners and the like have used the platform of the City of Culture status to great effect and massively enhanced the whole year with some really inspiring stuff, a lot of which was already happening or taking shape prior to 2017. There is a huge appetite for culture here and to be part of something - just ask the thousands of people who signed up as volunteers. There is a pride that resonates throughout the community and we have seen creativity and innovation popping up all over the city.
After the year started with a bang - quite literally - with the huge firework display on New Year’s Day, and the subsequent ‘Made in Hull’ light show (which was a highlight for us), it’s been a year packed with amazing experiences and resounding successes. As the year draws to a close, many of us have questioned the decision not to hold some sort of event at the very end of the year, however large or small, to celebrate the last twelve months. Yes, it is important now to focus some finances on legacy and how we move forward, but we can’t help feeling a bit like the party was cut short. It would have been nice to have some sort of event marking the transition between 2017 and the future, showcasing local talent. Talent that, when the hype has passed, will continue to delight and inspire us and take this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Which is exactly what we now need to look to do in the coming months and years. There are thousands of very talented people that live in and love this city. It is up to all of us to grab this with both hands, and it is up to us to show funders, sponsors and visitors that we can produce something amazing and continue to further build a culture scene that will enrich the lives of Hull people and all who visit the city.
We need to realise our potential and become what we have known we can be all along. We need to help each other and keep working together to achieve great things. We need to keep shouting loud about our beautiful city and enjoy every moment.
So where do we go from here? Wherever we want. It’s up to us now.