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Buskers on the Walls, Londonderry

UK City of Culture 2013 and NI2012


Derry~Londonderry Events Calendar 2012

Derry City Council has recently produced a programme of events for the city. As Derry~Londonderry gears towards 2013 and the UK City, this years events are bigger and better than ever before, with highlights including the Peace One Day Concert, North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Please click here to download a copy of the events guide.

For further information please contact Derry City Council:

Tel: (028) 7136 5151 textphone: (028) 7137 6646

Or email:


Ebrington Performance Plaza


*photo courtesy of Martin McKkeown from

The Ebrington Performance Plaza officially opened on the 14th February 2012 and will be Derry~Londonderry’s key outdoor venue playing host to many outdoor performances and events during ni2012 and the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013.  The first major event that will take place on the plaza will be the Peace One Day Concert in June that is part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations to mark the opening of the London Olympic Games.

The new Performance Plaza will be connected to the city centre by the Peace Bridge, meaning it will be easily accessed by all in the city and will open up other surrounding environs such as the Walled City and St. Columb’s Park.  The main performance plaza has a capacity of 14,000 and will be used for concerts and other outdoor events and performances.  There are also 3 smaller unique performance areas, alongside the larger performance space and these will be used for smaller events.  The total cost of the Performance Plaza project cost in the region of £6 million.


City of Culture gets ready for the world to arrive with one year to go


The opening event of Derry~Londonderry's City of Culture year will be a massive 'Sons and Daughters' opening concert on January 12, 2013, it was announced today.

The event, which will feature all the city's top names from stage and screen, will be hosted at a new purpose-built demountable pavilion at Ebrington.

To mark the occasion - and the formal countdown to our year as the first UK City of Culture - the Mayor Maurice Devenney and Cultural Champion Gerry Anderson launched a landmark Countdown Calendar on the Live Site on Waterloo Place.  And they used the opportunity to invite the world to come and join in on the year-long celebrations in 2013.

The team at Culture Company 2013 have confirmed that preparations for the year of culture are on track, and the city's vision, to provide cultural access for all and creatively connect with the wider world leaving a lasting legacy, is set to become a reality.

They have also promised that 2012 will be a fantastic lead-in year with a packed calendar of events that includes the opening of the Cultural Olympiad in the form of the Peace One Day concert in June, with headline act Massive Attack.

The world's sailing fraternity will then congregate in the city in July for the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Festival where we will welcome back our City of Culture boat, which has been flying the flag for us across the globe.

Early in 2012, we will see the launch of three huge community engagement projects including a letter writing competition open to all school children in the Derry City Council area, details of which will be released in the next week.

In addition to this, Culture Company 2013 will be working with the Public Health Agency to deliver the 'Extraordinary People Project', that will see over 500 people from across the Derry City Council neighbourhood renewal areas benefit from participating in over 30 courses across 12 art forms. Portrait of a City is the third community-led project that will launch in 2012 as part of the City of Culture programme and will explore the history and shared heritage of Derry~Londonderry and tell our new story to the world via an online platform.

In March, a call for 3,000 volunteers will be issued to assist in the delivery of the 2013 programme. This recruitment drive will be managed by the North West Volunteer Agency and Culture Company 2013, to make sure that we are ready for the hundreds of thousands of people who are set to arrive upon our shores throughout the year.

The chair of Culture Company 2013, Martin Bradley spoke of the team's sheer determination to make 2013 the best year the city can possibly deliver.

He commented: "We are delighted with our progress to date and can only say that with a full year to go 2013 is shaping up to be an absolutely astonishing time. Our team are working tirelessly to make sure that we deliver something special that will generate total inclusion and excitement on both a local level and a world stage. The support we are receiving from governments in the North, the Republic and the UK, and the backing of the corporate sector and the cultural sector, has been overwhelming.

"We are very much looking forward to sharing our highlight programme with everyone in April and the details of the full programme in September of this year. It will definitely be worth the wait."

Mayor, Alderman Maurice Devenney is delighted to invite the world's population to the city and commented: "With one year to go, today is a great day to officially invite the rest of the world to come and join us in our celebrations next year, especially the nine million Diaspora who are of North West descent. We are doing everything to make sure that the city is ready to open its doors to the world with pride in 2013."

"With the fantastic cultural programme and the great infrastructure developments set to be in place, including the completion of the upgrade of the Londonderry-Coleraine railway line, the opening of the new Parade Ground at Ebrington and the implementation of a temporary venue for large scale events like our Sons & Daughters concert, I am confident that there is no other city on this island that people will want to visit more in 2013."

City of Culture Principal Partner BT, who have been on board since 2011 are very much looking forward to the big year. Their Chief Executive Colm O'Neill explained; "The City of Culture accolade affords Derry~Londonderry the opportunity to transform, and we're delighted that a major transformational initiative has already been completed in the city with the extensive roll-out of fibre broadband. As the excitement for 2013 builds, and a fantastic programme of events is planned, we are proud that the technology is now in place that will enable greater cultural access to all, will spread the cultural delights of Derry to the four corners of the globe, and will help leave a sustainable legacy for many years to come."

Derry~Londonderry Announced as UK City of Culture for 2013

On the 15th July 2010, Derry~Londonderry made history by winning the bid to be the first ever UK City of Culture for 2013.  It was announced that Northern Ireland's maiden city had won the judging panel's vote, over the three other shortlisted cities of Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield to take the prestigious title.

The momentous win means that in 2013 Derry~Londonderry will play host to a year-long celebration of culture in the city, opening its doors to visitors from across the world.  It is anticipated that people will come in their thousands to experience the cultural life that has been at the heart of Londonderry for generations.

The City of Culture bid proposes a programme of joyous celebration with an ambitious cultural programme leading up to and including 2013.  The year will open with a spectacular Sons and Daughters event, a contemporary music and dance festival, an international festival of contemporary visual art events, cultural embassies programme, verbal arts programmes, and an outdoor water based spectacular pageant on the River Foyle celebrating the return of Colmcille.  The final cultural programme will be finalised by November 2011.  Cultural Champions including Seamus Heaney and Feargal Sharkey will help bring culture to every citizen in the City and to a wider international audience.

Derry~Londonderry has plans to invest more than £200m in its infrastructure to creat a national cultural treasure at Ebrington and pursue World Heritage Status for the City Walls.  The year of culture will ultimately create over 3,000 jobs, double visitor numbers and reach out to communities across Northern Ireland, the UK, ROI and the nine million Diaspora worlwide.

Background to the Successful Bid

In July 2009, the then Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw announced the launch of a national competition to find the first UK City of Culture for 2013.  The winning city could host high-profile media events including the Turner Prize, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, The Brits Music awards, and the RIBA Stirling Prize as part of their year in the spotlight.

Building on Liverpool's success as European Capital of Culture in 2008, the successful city could expect to see economic and social benefits flow in, leaving a lasting legacy.  The competition was opened not solely for cities to apply - bids were also welcomed from closely linked urban areas, or cities within their surrounding areas - the important factor being a clear central focus to an area. 

Bidders had until October 2009 to submit an outline application, with a deadline in December 2009 for initial bids.  Initially there were approximately 30 expressions of interest, but by December there were 14 applications bidding to become City of Culture.  Out of these 14 applications, the four cities of Derry~Londonderry, Norwich, Birmingham and Sheffield made the final short list in February 2010.

These four cities now had until the 28th May 2010 to submit their full and final bids.  The Derry~Londonderry bid for City of Culture was developed by Derry City Council, Ilex Urban Regeneration Company and the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland along with cultural partnerships throughout the city and region, community, voluntary and private sector organisations.

It is anticipated that this prestigious title won by Derry~Londonderry will create 3000 new jobs in the city and will double the number of visitors to the city. 

 City of Culture YES Announcement2

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board showed its support to the UK City of Culture bid in a number of different ways.  Two events were held in the Guildhall, entitled "Are we Ready", which was aimed at raising awareness and stressing the importance of the bid to the tourism industry in the city, and the potential benefits that can be achieved.  NITB's Destination Marketing Department also co-ordinated a dedicated media and advertising campaign which included around 140 bill boards being located around Northern Ireland promoting the City of Culture bid as well a organising media familiarisation trips to the city and corresponding press coverage.

As part of the bid application put together by Derry City Council and Ilex URC, the world famous band, Snow Patrol, allowed their hit song, "Just Say Yes" to be used as part of the campaign.  The song was incorporated into a promotional video for the bid, produced by The Nerve Centre, a multimedia arts centre in Derry.

The video, entitled “Voices” can be viewed from a link on the home page of this Walled City micro site, or by clicking here.

Events 2012-2013

Derry-Londonderry’s year as UK City of Culture 2013 and the lead in year of 2012 will be one of the most exciting periods is the city’s future as we open our doors to the world and play host to events of global significance. The following events are already confirmed in our calendar.

2012Cultural Olympiad

The Cultural Olympiad have confirmed that a series of events to be staged in Derry-Londonderry in 2012 in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A major concert delivered by Peace One Day and international artists such as Deborah Warner, Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley will demonstrate the city’s appeal as a world class location for events.

Clipper Round The World Yacht Race

Derry ~ Londonderry, will be represented in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race with an official city boat in the race. In addition the city will be an official host port, welcoming the ten-strong fleet in July 2012 with a showcase festival at the end of the final transatlantic stage of the 40,000-mile race en route to the race finish. It will be the first time that Northern Ireland has been represented in the race which attracts a global audience of more than 460 million people.

2013Turner Prize

The City of Culture Celebrations in 2013 will see Derry-Londonderry host the Turner Prize Turner Prize, the most important event in the UK's contemporary art calendar. This will be only the third time that this prestigious event has been moved away from Tate Britain, and the first time it has been held outside England. The Turner prize exhibition usually attracts between 70,000 and 90,000 visitors. When the event was held in Liverpool in 2007 as part of the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations 71,000 people visited it and our city can expect a similar influx.


Key Links

Derry~Londonderry City of Culture Website

Derry City Council

Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau

Ilex Urban Regeneration Company

Department for Culture, Media and Sport


For more stories relating to this great success and for other news stories from Derry~Londonderry, please visit our Walled City News Section.

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