Thursday, 26 November 2015

Subscriptions  |  evouchers  |  Jobs  |  Property  |  Motors  |  Travel  |  Dating  |  Family Notices

Who says nowt ever happens in Cumbria?

Utter brilliance, I call it. A stroke of genius, the like of which hasn’t been seen since... well, the last one.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, of course. Big parties aren’t always everyone’s cold can of weak shandy. But a shin-dig weekend for 40,000 people near Carlisle, all for free and crammed with the biggest and best contemporary pop and rock acts currently on offer? Come on now – it doesn’t get much better than that.

There’s a sneaking suspicion that by the time Lady GaGa’s done her flamboyantly strutting stuff; by the end of the Foo Fighters screaming, amp-stacked, big production set and My Chemical Romance’s guitar growling assault, anti-airport sorts will be wishing they’d opted for the peace of aeroplanes, a freight centre and lorry park.

Big Weekend? Believe me, there’ll have been none bigger – nor noisier – since those hungry Tornado pilots pulled in at the airport canteen for an all day breakfast last July. And unlike their landings, this high volume episode will run and run.

Good news and how. By heck – you couldn’t make it up. It’s a coup worthy of today’s Fool’s Day diary page – but it’s for real.

After all we’ve been led to believe, it turns out Carlisle City Council rocks.

How did they pull it off? How did a bunch of councillors better acquainted with Burt Bacharach than Bruno Mars, negotiate a popular cultural triumph for little old Carlisle’s snoozy backwaters?

Bow to public service prowess in undiluted admiration. This is almost worth paying council tax for... almost.

What do you do with a silent, going nowhere airport? You turn it into an open air concert arena with capacity for at least 40,000 screaming pop fans – probably more – and a line-up so mega, I’ll be able to hear every last note from my back garden in Brampton.

What can one say to card-carrying no-fly-zone activists except: Enjoy! Take the weekend off, stock up with cold wine and hot dogs, rent your gardens to a tented village of teenage Tinie Tempah fans... and in future be careful what you wish for.

Radio 1’s Big Weekend is heading to Cumbria for two long, hot, heavy party days in May. And boy are music fans excited. As well they might be.

To say nothing much happens in Cumbria to send a fizz of fun and frenzied anticipation buzzing through the county – and make the rest of the country sit up and take notice – isn’t exactly true. But delete the word “much” and it will be.

All that has suddenly changed. We’re top of the pops, cultural league busters. We’re young and vibrant, youthfully energetic, artistically aware. Who’d have thought it?

The sun really does shine on the righteous and for once it is shining on Cumbria.

Renaissance couldn’t do it – even though the paving stones look quite nice... if you like that kind of thing.

We never got an arts quarter or atmospheric historic core. City of Culture just made everyone laugh and we’re several pavement cafes short of a cafe society. We don’t have a theatre and everybody still shuts up shop and goes home for tea at 5.30pm.

But something just happened to push Cumbria’s fun button and drag the city, kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

We’re all the better for it – thanks to those good council folk, who may or may not have been sure of what they were doing.

Whether you – or they – like Jessie J or not; whether you can tell Chase and Status from Status Quo or distinguish your Wombats from your Wombles, One Big Weekend is the real deal, the main attraction, the hottest summer gig in the UK – no wonder we’re all going GaGa.

We’ve finally clinched the diamond standard.

That elusive profile Carlisle – Cumbria – has long craved but always failed to find has been identified not by a single youthful event but by the starting pistol that same event will fire.

If Cumbria gets cute, it may never have to be an old lady in a shawl again.

If we grasp the chance to build on opportunity, embrace arts, listen to youth and make the best possible use of our resources – and airport – who knows what might come our way?

The city, even the county, might not yet be the undisputed cultural centre of the world but hey, we have to start somewhere.

And here is as good a place as any to start believing, we might just be on our way.


News & Star What's On search


Is The Autumn Statement good news for Cumbria?

Yes - the enterprise zone jobs and airport flights are a fantastic boost

It's more positive than expected but could have been better

I agree with Jamie Reed, it is all smoke and mirrors

Show Result

Hot jobs
Scan for our iPhone and Android apps
Search for: