2017 is quite the cultural year in Southampton, and a sign of a rosy future. Common People, FestivAll, Let’s Rock!, City Live and Umbrella Arts Festival in the park,the Mela, Street Jam, Riverfest, Southampton Pride, International Families Day, Open Studios, Lighten Up, Pint of Science, Music in the City, Sailing Week, Jane Austen 200, SO: To Speak, Film Week, Black History Month – the list goes on. And we have only just got over the three month Southampton Fringe !
When we set up Southampton Festivals in 2012, it wasn’t quite so lively – but since then the enthusiasm of all types of artists and groups in the city to make things happen has been fantastic. Confidence is growing about what we can achieve, supported by Culture Southampton, the City council, Arts Council England, and in a small way by Southampton Festivals and others. Now more footloose commercial events, like Common People, are looking at Southampton as a place to call home.
What we need now is the business community to get behind this cultural flowering, and reap the commercial benefits available – of reaching new customers through city-based events, recruiting the people who want to live in a ‘happening’ place, and attracting the investment that will makes the city grow.