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City saves £360k in Mathew Street Festival chop

New event sees Philharmonic in Sefton Park and outdoor stages at Pier Head

Published on February 19th 2013.

City saves £360k in Mathew Street Festival chop

CLASSICAL music in Sefton Park and large scale, outdoor stages at the Pier Head are two of the highlights of a brand new Liverpool music festival to replace the ailing, annual Mathew Street bonanza.

And a new title too: Liverpool International Music Festival. It will cost cash-strapped Liverpool City Council 40pc less than the £900k event which, in what would be its 21st year, is being described by organisers as a "true coming-of-age".


It will receive some funding from Arts Council England and the private sector. Meanwhile, Mayor Joe Anderson has pledged a refreshed format that will address issues such as the refreshments of an alocholic kind which have blighted the image of the August Bank Holiday event.

The city council says it will keep MSF's very best elements, but the new format will introduce "new, exciting ingredients which will see the city come together in a celebration of all things music."

The event will take place in August, with activities catering for a diverse range of tastes. 

Thinking Girl's Crumpet Vasily PetrenkoThinking girl's crumpet: Vasily Petrenko

Part of the new festival will take place during the August bank holiday with events that weekend kicking off in classical style on the Friday as the internationally acclaimed Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor Vasily Petrenko take to a brand new stage in Sefton Park for an evening of live music in the stunning surroundings of one of the city’s most popular green spaces. The concerts in the park will continue across the four days (Friday to Monday). 

On the Saturday and Sunday, there will also be two outdoor stages located at the Pier Head which will include a tribute to the Beatles and their musical legacy.  Programmed by Mathew Street Music Festival Directors Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, it will be a mixture of cover acts and original artists.


The Fringe Festival will return for 2013 "adding a cutting edge element", says the council, as the city celebrates its original grassroots musicians in venues which support live music all year round.

Mayor Joe Anderson, said: “After 20 years of Mathew Street Music Festival it feels right that it evolves into a refreshed event which will have mass appeal.

“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 when we are facing cuts of more than £149m over the next four years.

“Liverpool International Music Festival will combine the best of the original event with live music on three outdoor stages.  At the same time we’re working with the private sector to put new and exciting events which tap into diverse musical tastes and widen the appeal.

“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.” 

More events with private sector partners will take place in August, and following collaboration with local, national and international partners the programme is set to be announced in May.    

"The change comes following consultation with those in Liverpool’s music sector who supported a new format for the festival," says the council.

The popular International Beatle Week, organised by Cavern City Tours, will take place from 21-27 August. 

Bill Heckle, said: “The old format of the Mathew Street Music Festival has been totally outgrown. Its legacy, after 21 years, 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.” 

Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting new approach to staging a festival that celebrates every kind of music in one of the world’s great music cities, set in two of its most beautiful locations, the Pier Head and Sefton Park.”

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Button StreetFebruary 19th 2013.

These austerity measures aren't all bad, are they?

Georgina OwenFebruary 19th 2013.

Unbelievable how the media have embraced this decision. Why was there so much anger in 2007 when the Mathew St festival had to be revamped owing to , maybe it was driven by individuals who manipulated the demise of the festival to ensure their mates in the media started a witch hunt against the City Leaders who were in charge then?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 19th 2013.

That is a very good point

Absinthe & TurksFebruary 19th 2013.

It will be a nice change to have proper music rather than a lot of Beatles impersonators and cabaret bands.

Judith PattersonFebruary 20th 2013.

Yes i would prefer to hear the real thing, but since its not possible, listen to their records.

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