Lancashire bid to host Great Exhibition of the North

5 July 2016

Key partners Blackpool Council, Marketing Lancashire and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership have submitted a bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North, a two month exhibition celebrating the best of art, culture and design across the North of England.  Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced the competition in April and invited towns and cities across the northern regions to bid for the opportunity to host the event, which will take place in 2018.

Blackpool will be the proposed lead venue for the Great Exhibition with a “Pleasure Palaces” theme where visitors, residents, investors, artists, academics and entrepreneurs can explore the “state of the art” across art, design and culture on a journey that gives the experience of a lifetime. Blackpool has historically been the ‘playground of the North’, with its thriving visitor economy and a unique world famous Victorian infra structure.

A new visitor economy strategy for Lancashire, developed through consultation across the sector by Marketing Lancashire, aims to grow visitor numbers from 63 million a year to 70 million by 2020, with heritage and culture one of 4 key themes highlighted for opportunity and growth.  Blackpool will play a key role in reaching that goal, as current host to 17 million visitors annually.

The Lancashire bid is a collaboration between Blackpool Council, Marketing Lancashire, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP),Left Coast, Creative Lancashire, Arts Lancashire and many creative and cultural businesses and individuals across the county.

Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire said “Lancashire has the ambition, talent and creative flair to host a Great Exhibition of the North and where better to locate the core of this activity than in Blackpool; the UK’s favourite seaside resort.

“This opportunity gives Blackpool the chance to showcase some of the best artists, cutting edge designers, leading entrepreneurs and innovators from Lancashire and the North of England, in the county that led the world’s first industrial revolution and knows a thing or two about spectacular events.

“As well as epitomising the spirit of the North, Blackpool is easily accessible from key cities in the North and experienced in delivering world class customer service on a grand scale, perfect for the many thousands of visitors expected for this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.” 

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Blackpool. Not only would it give the millions of visitors to Blackpool a new attraction to experience, it would also bring new visitors to town boosting the local economy.
“We are the perfect location to celebrate the best of art, culture and design across the North of England.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Great Exhibition of North will celebrate the very best of Northern art, culture and design.

"Not only will it provide a real boost to tourism but leave an important cultural legacy for the region.

"Lancashire's stunning countryside, creative attractions and arts scene attract millions of people every year and I am sure it will enter a strong bid."

Sir Gary Verity, chairman of the Great Exhibition of the North board, said: "The Great Exhibition of the North will showcase the best of our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and will help bring the whole region together.

I look forward to seeing the high quality bids from towns and cities across the North."
The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

A shortlist will be announced by the end of July, with the chosen venue announced in the autumn.  Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has been appointed by the Chancellor George Osborne to chair the Great Exhibition Board that will report to Ministers on the applications.

For more information on Marketing Lancashire please contact:
Anna Izza, Head of PR and Communications 01772 426 459
Laura Crabb, PR and Communications Executive 01772 426 456

© 2018 Marketing Lancashire