Say YES to Leeds’s bid to be European City of Culture 2023

This week I found myself at the wonderful Hyde Park picture house.

Not to see a film (although I do love it there) but for the press reveal of Leeds City of Culture 2023 bid book.

The whole bidding process is very exacting. The book itself has to include a number of specific things, including a list of what events Leeds would put on if it won the bid.

I don’t envy those working on the bid, it must be like panning a huge wedding to take place in six years’ time when you don’t know who the celebs are, how many guests are coming, the age or sex of the couple getting married what the budget is and what kind of wedding they want - then multiply by a few thousand!

We’ve got some tough competition in this bid too. Belfast, Milton Keynes, Dundee and Nottingham are all bidding from the UK. There will be two European cities chosen in the end.

What are the judges looking for? That’s the million dollar question - for Liverpool winning over the judges did bring about about a million dollars to the city.

IT reported a £750m economic impact for their year as host in 2008, and a surge in tourism. Leeds might be the third biggest city in the country but it ranks 14th in terms of tourism and yet, why should we not be a destination city?

The bid also needs YOUR backing and support.

Businesses have put up 80 per cent of the cost of making the bid, but does it have the support of the majority of people? Nic Greenan, artistic director of East Street Arts, spoke passionately at the event. She said Leeds has and needs a YES mentality. I agree. It’s our city, we should be proud of it. Let’s get behind the bid.

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