UK City of Culture 2025 shortlist revealed with Craig David supporting his hometown Southampton and Sting backing County Durham


To Stikthe case for County Durham is unsurpassed.

Craig David says it must be Southampton.

The final candidates to stay Britain’s Cultural City 2025which has just been revealed, hope celebrity backers will give them a head start in the race.

The four selected locations to become the next home for British culture are Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough, announced the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Minister of Culture Nadine Dorries will announce the sequel to Coventry 2021 in May, after an independent panel of experts, led by Brookside creator Sir Phil Redmond, made its recommendation.

The winning city, which is expected to receive millions of pounds in additional investment, must demonstrate how it will use the culture to boost the local economy in line with the government’s “leveling up” agenda.

The candidates hired well-known local faces to make their pitch. Sting said: “I was born and raised on nearby Tyneside, but in many ways Durham has been the historic heart of the Northeast.”

“Like a spiritual center in the Middle Ages with its magnificent cathedral, a center of learning with one of the oldest universities in Britain, not to mention its significance for the industrial revolution, where the mining community is still celebrated every year with a miners’ gala.”

In a direct appeal to Mrs Dorries, the singer added: “There is a lot of talk from the government about reaching a level, but more often than not, the region has been overlooked for decade after decade.

“So for Durham to be selected, it would provide a much-needed spotlight on this unique and important culture that is in the Northeast.”

Craig David backed up his hometown and said of Southampton: “This city is bursting with culture, much of it self-made by the people of Southampton, and it will always be at home in my heart.”

David, who collaborated with Sting on the song “Rise & Fall”, added: “Now we have the opportunity to be a part of the story of our future city and tell it to the world.”

Craig David & Sting perform together at KIIS FM’s Wango Tango show at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California (photo – Getty)

Wrexham, the only remaining Welsh candidate, is still seeking city status after missing three previous occasions. Wrexham AFC’s new owners, Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, have helped put an international spotlight on the area.

Weather host Sian Lloyd said: “Wrexham and culture go hand in hand as Hollywood actors and Wrexham Football Club,” adding that the North Wales city has a “thriving live music scene.”

Chris Kamara, the former Bradford City player and manager who has become an expert, backs “the curry empire in the UK. You can not get a better curry from anywhere other than Bradford. The city has a lot to offer.” He added: “People come from far and wide to go to the Alhambra Theater for shows and panto and also to St George’s Hall.”

There was disappointment in Scotland after the Stirling bid failed to reach the last four. The other longlisted candidates missed were Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Cornwall and Derby.

Sir Phil said: “Culture can act as a catalyst for civic engagement, civic cohesion and a driving force for economic and social change, as seen previously not only in Derry-Londonderry in 2013, Hull in 2017 and Coventry in 2021, but all of them. elsewhere.who went on a journey to develop their own cultural strategy.

“Everything just participating has proven to be a catalyst in itself.”

Since winning the coveted title, Coventry has seen more than £ 172 million invested in funding music concerts and the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, as well as a further £ 500 million for the city’s renewal, DCMS said.

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But MPs warned that the 2025 winner could overwhelm due to lack of funding. A DCMS report said: ‘The government should guarantee successful hosts for UK Culture City an adequate amount of national funding from the outset, rather than requiring the host to wait for a decision, to enable organizers to focus their efforts on ensuring other sources of funding. ”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “The UK City of Culture competition demonstrates the important role that culture can play in improving our cities, towns and rural areas – bringing investment, fantastic events, thousands of tourists and opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds. “

“We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city, Coventry, with millions of pounds in investment and thousands of visitors.

“This has been a record year for bids, which is great to see. Congratulations on the four nominated places – I wish them all the best of luck.

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