City of Culture 2017: What could be in store for Swansea Bay
IN just over a month's time the UK City of Culture 2017 will be announced — and the eyes of the country will turn to the winner.
The bids from the four shortlisted candidates — Swansea Bay, Dundee, Hull and Leicester — have been submitted, and organisers are now preparing their final presentations to judges.
And the Evening Post has been given an exclusive sneak preview of some of the events Swansea Bay is hoping to wow the judging panel with — everything from a surfing festival to science and youth theatre, and linking up with communities around the world with a Welsh connection.
A spokesman for the Cwtch the bid campaign said: "Our programme has been designed with something for everyone, both from within the region and beyond.
"We have built upon our strengths, and everything we have included from beyond the region has links to our core themes and our cultural strengths, and leaves a tangible legacy.
"Our programme includes a wide array of community engagement and schools projects, and classes and activities for all ages.
"There are activities attached to each theme and for many of the high profile events as well as the local ones there is a strong engagement element — this programme is much more than a series of events people buy tickets for."
Among the highlights being pencilled in for 2017 are major national surfing and skating festivals, open air theatre performances across the bay region, graffiti workshops for youngsters, and a series of public lectures and masterclasses from leading figures from the worlds of science, entertainment and the arts.
There will also be a festival for unsigned musicians, a major history project for children revolving around the area's industrial heritage, and a link-up with Welsh communities across the world, especially in the 28 villages, towns and cities around the globe that share the name Swansea.
Plans are also afoot to bring a major international rugby touring side to Swansea Bay, and to launch the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the region.
The bid team will be giving their final presentation on their plans to judges in the current city of culture — Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland — on November 15, and the winner is expected to be announced the following week.
The bid spokesman added: "Legacy has been our golden thread throughout this process — we want to create a sustainable programme and we want to know that what we are doing is making a difference.
"We are serious about cultural regeneration."