Bold Street Festival – a Community Success Story
The 4th annual Bold Street Festival, held over the weekend of 24th – 25th September, was a huge success for the organisers and a testament to the effectiveness of great community spirit. The attendance of 20,000 easily surpassed last year’s figure (14,000) and demonstrated how a community of independent traders, working with City Central BID, can produce spectacular results from a small budget.
Urban Canvas organised the James Carling International Pavement Art Competition which took place on the Festival Sunday in Ropewalks Square. This event attracted artists from Mexico, USA, Italy, Germany, and Holland. The UK entry included several Liverpool representatives. Local artist Keith Fearon won the People’s Prize with a stunning work entitled Emma was warned about teasing. The Emma in question is Keith’s daughter and it was a nice touch to allow her to be photographed with the finished piece.
Christine Edwards from Manchester took the Copy Art first prize for her impressive chalk version of Peter Howson’s Steam and Power. If there had been a prize for the blackest face she would have scooped that too!
There was also a Little Chalkers competition for youngsters to enter on the day – many did – illustrating the creativity and inclusiveness of the Bold Street ethos.
Sunday was when the festival really took off with two stages of live music, stalls from local traders, a vintage clothing and jewellery fair at Leaf, and several other attractions including a Chinese dance demonstration and a vibrant, entertaining parade of Batala percussionists. A ‘Clean Sweep’ team preceded the drummers - volunteers who symbolically swept the street to open the day’s proceedings.
The musicians included acoustic singer-songwriter Thom Morecroft (look him up on SoundCloud) who chatted to the audience between songs and several other very talented performers whose names this reviewer didn’t manage to note. It would be useful to have a list of performers and times posted by each stage – maybe next year?
Natalie Haywood, owner of Leaf, reported “The Bold Street Festival was a real success for us and we had our busiest daytime trade since we opened”. The animation of the street showed what could be achieved when all of the traders work together with the City Central BID and plan some low cost, creative ideas and events. There was a great community spirit in the street and the public benefited from interesting, free entertainment.’
News From Nowhere’s Mandy Vere, one of the festival organisers, told a similar story. She reported that the bookshop had been very busy throughout the weekend and emphasised the feeling of community that the festival had produced. News From Nowhere had been responsible for the ‘Wish Balloons’ which were released from St Luke’s Church steps on the Sunday evening. Although not actually in Bold Street, the ‘bombed-out church’ (through Urban Strawberry Lunch) is very much a part of the Bold Street Village. “The festival could never happen without our community working together”, said Mandy. Her message is “Don’t forget us”. After such a successful festival weekend there are 20,000 people who are unlikely to!
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