The 1st of January 2017 saw the start of Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture. We had previously been treated to the Place des Anges, an aerial ballet swooping between some of the city’s highest buildings followed by the dropping of armfuls of white feathers, and the Sea of Hull when 3,200 people from Hull, the rest of the UK and indeed the world stripped naked on an early July morning, painted themselves blue and were photographed on the streets of the city. We were promised that the opening event, In With A Bang, would be a firework display to exceed those seen in London on New Year’s Eve. From two barges moored in the Humber a fantastic display followed. With interest on more of a professional basis, the fact that there were 25,000 people with tickets, and a similar number without at various places around the city in an event that was very well organised and stewarded, passed off without any incidents and with a very good humoured crowd. It was also great to see that those of my clients who had managed to get their new premises open, or existing premises upgraded, were reaping the benefits from the crowd. It should also act as a spur to those who have projects planned to get moving.
We then went back into the city centre on Tuesday the 3rd January to be part of “Made In Hull” which was a collection of installations throughout the city centre. The main one, “Made In Hull”, was a film displayed on the frontage of three of the cities iconic buildings reflecting main events throughout the last seventy years. As someone who has lived and worked in the city for the last forty years it certainly brought a lump to my throat and many around me were in tears. However, perhaps the most interesting thing was that in the first week of January the city centre was full of literally thousands of people, and as a time when premises are usually either closed or struggling for trade, bars, restaurants and cafes were trading to capacity and many of those people in the city centre were remarking on new premises that they had not seen before and promising to return and visit them.
The early indications clearly are that culture is good for business, and long may it continue.