GERRY and the Pacemakers, Beryl Marsden and The Undertakers will crank into life on “Merseybeat Monday”, the big event in this year’s Mathew Street Festival calendar.
2012 is all about anniversaries: 50th anniversary of Pete Best getting kicked out of the Beatles; 20th anniversary of the August Bank Holiday bash which attracts thousands of drinkers and tribute bands to the city centre; bar tills chinging amid the singing.
Ian McNabbIan McNabb will perform in a “Tribute to Eric’s” set, as will The Merseybeats, while MOBO UnSung prizewinner Esco Williams will wow his hometown crowds on the first day of the event. Almost half the 70 acts are from Merseyside. They will perform on five outdoor stages in around 80 hours of music over August 26 and 27.
They will be joined by first timers from the US, Brazil, Canada, France and Mexico. All will be expected to incorporate a Beatles element in their sets as a nod to this “special year” which marks half a century of The Beatles – well, specifically Ringo joining John, Paul and George to make a traditional Fab Four.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “To attract bands from all over the world is a real testament to Mathew Street Music Festival, which is a much-loved event for the hundreds of thousands of music lovers who travel to Liverpool each year to enjoy this free, outdoor experience.”
And on that subject, once again businesses have been asked to support the festival which can no longer be solely funded by the city council due to budget pressures.
The 2011 event brought in crowds of 320,000 revellers to the city centre and contributed around £20 million to the local economy, according to council figures. Local bars, restaurants and shops coughed up £100k, but Mayor Joe Anderson says this time they need to dig deeper.
“This is one of the most costly festivals we stage,” he said earlier in the year. “Over the next two years we’re facing further cuts of more than £50million, and tough decisions have to be made.
“Last year we addressed the issue by asking for sponsors to support the event and introducing wristbands, and although this did bring in £100,000 worth of valuable contributions, we need to do better.
“We’re determined to make the 2012 festival one to remember as we pay homage to fifty years of one of Liverpool’s greatest exports. We realise it’s a tough economic climate for everyone, but the whole city reaps the benefits from this event and we would be delighted if businesses could get behind us and make a contribution – big or small.”
But is it time the city called time on the Mathew Street Festival – at least as far as its funding is concerned?
Critics denounce it as a moneymaking win-win for hospitality operators, many of whom have shareholders and HQs outside Liverpool. And if there is funding to be allocated to city culture, should such a large portion of it not, perhaps, be spent in a more meaningful way.
For other people, the festival is a highlight of their social year – and we all remember the outcry, Peronigate and long knives that were drawn when the outdoor stages were cancelled, on safety grounds, in 2007.
Love it, hate it or get too emotional to remember it? Do you eagerly anticipate it, or annually buy a plane ticket to get as far away as possible from it.
Where will you be when Mathew Street comes around? In the gutter or looking at the stars? Take our quiz here
SUNDAY AUGUST 26
Derby Square Stage – Nineties
Pearl Jam (Pearl Jam)
Blurasis (Blur / Oasis)
Robbie William Banned (Robbie Williams)
Big Up The 90's (sic) (90s Tribute Band)
Superlambanana Stage (Tithebarn Street) – Eighties
Bon Jovi Experience (Bon Jovi)
Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen)
U2 Elevation (U2)
Purple Rain (Prince)
Rubix Cube (80s Tribute Band)
Price Tag (Jessie J)
Ri Ri (Rihanna)
The Bee Gees meet ABBA (The Bee Gees / Abba)
Amy Housewine (Amy Winehouse)
So Patrol (Snow Patrol)
Water Street stage – Seventies
Freakout Disco Band (70s Tribute Band)
The Merseybeasts (Tribute to Eric’s)
Ian McNabb (Tribute to Eric’s)
Kinisha & The Weekend Warriors (Tina Turner)
The Tearaways (The Ramones)
Williamson Square Stage – Made In Liverpool (unsigned)
Married To The Sea
All We Are
The Mono LPs
MONDAY AUGUST 27
Derby Square Stage – Merseybeat
The Undertakers featuring Jackie Lomax
Gerry and The Pacemakers
Mike Pender’s Searchers
Superlambanana Stage – Early Beatles Albums
Tunnel Stage – The Cavern, Yesterday and Today
The Kinx (The Kinks)
The Stones (The Rolling Stones)
Water Street Stage – Guitar heroes 60s and 70s
Uncomfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
Classic Clapton (Eric Clapton)
Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix)
Letz Zep (Led Zeppelin)
From Sabbath To Hell (Black Sabbath)
Viva Santana (Santana)
Williamson Square Stage – Later Beatles Albums
Get Back Band
Clube Big Beatles
Help El Tributo
People are being asked to show their support for the festival by purchasing a special 50th anniversary of The Beatles souvenir wristband for just £2. This can be bought from the Tourist Information Centre at the Albert Dock and St George’s Hall and at Liverpool ONE’s Information Centre