Southampton announces series of events as part of bid for UK City of Culture 2025

Southampton has announced a series of events, including light displays, boat shows and a circus, in its bid to win the title of UK City Of Culture 2025.

Tens of thousands of people will be invited for three days of festivities across land, sea and air in May 2025.

Included in the programme is a giant circus show, featuring aerialists from across all four nations of the UK alongside the Marseille-based circus company Gratte Ciel. The high-flying show will take place in the skies above Southampton's Weston Shore.

Late at night, the skies will be transformed into a canvas by lasers and drones, with projections cast on rooftops, landmarks and historic monuments in the city.

On the water, a large floating stage will be accompanied by a vast flotilla of ships from across Britain and the world, and a Community Day in partnership with Southampton's International Boat Show will give people the opportunity to a range of activities including paddle boarding, kayaking and open-water swimming.

Organisers say Southampton's residents will be at the heart of the event with a programme highlighting the city's international connections and diaspora communities.

As part of celebrations, a community day will be held in partnership with Southampton's International Boat Show

The wide range of cultures include those from India, Poland, Romania, Pakistan, Nigeria, Barbados, Trinidad, Italy, the Netherlands and the US.

Throughout the year, the city's pubs, corner shops, restaurants and even people's own homes will become showcase venues for Southampton's homegrown talent.

Singer Craig David, who is a Southampton UK City of Culture bid 2025 ambassador, said: "I'm so proud of the city I grew up in and love.

"For me and for so many, Southampton has always been a city of culture, innovation and sport, and to get a platform to show the rest of the world what we already know would be so exciting."

Singer Craig David who grew up in the city is a Southampton UK City of Culture bid 2025 ambassador

Claire Whitaker OBE, the city's bid director, added: "After three years of preparation, the people of Southampton are ready to welcome the world.

"We have the talent. We have the places. We have backing.

"We have the vision. We want to build on the success of previous winners and now is the time for a city from the South.

"This is our invitation to make it so."

Shelina Permalloo, Chair of Southampton 2025 City of Culture said, "So I think traditionally people know us as the city of the Titanic. The City of the Spitfire, the city of the World Wide Web, but we're much more than that.

"As a people, we're so diverse culturally. We've got so many things happening, and I don't quite think people know that about us.

"We want to shout about who we are. We want the world to come and visit us. We want them to stay with us to spend money with us.

"And we want our local people to benefit."

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