Liverpool replaces 20-year-old event with international music festival

Liverpool City Council has announced it is axing its annual Mathew Street Music Festival and replacing it with an international music event.

Liverpool's Philharmonic Orchestra
Liverpool's Philharmonic Orchestra

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said the festival had become too costly to run, and that it’s the right time to "refresh" the event.

The new Liverpool International Music Festival will be opened by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on a brand new stage in Sefton Park. The concerts in the park will continue across the four days, from 23-26 August.

Two outdoor stages located at the Pier Head will include a tribute to the Beatles and their musical legacy. Programmed by the directors of the Mathew Street Music Festival, Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, it will be a mixture of cover acts and original artists.

The 20-year-old Mathew Street Music Festival attracted 300,000 people annually. In recent years, however, the event has been criticised owing to alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour in the streets.

Anderson said: "Over the years the original festival has become more high-profile and as a result it became one of the most costly to stage. It simply isn’t affordable to continue funding this event," he said. "This fresh approach also gives us the opportunity to look at the format of an outdoor music event and address key issues including that of alcohol which has been a bone of contention in recent years.

"Liverpool City Council is extremely proud of its involvement in the Mathew Street Music Festival, but it feels like the time is right to develop the format and we strongly believe the Liverpool International Music Festival will have broader appeal and will be a popular replacement."

The council says the new-look event will cost 40 per cent less than Mathew Street Music Festival, which budgeted at £900,000 per year. The event will be part funded by Arts Council England.

Heckle added: "The old format of the Mathew Street Music Festival has been totally outgrown. Its legacy is the Liverpool International Music Festival which will be a more mature and all inclusive event fully representing Liverpool’s vibrant music scene. In this sense it is a true coming of age for the festival."

The festival programme will be announced in May.

Liverpool-based readers - what are your thoughts on the announcement? Will it be better for the city in the long run?

Comment below and let us know what you think.

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