Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
2:00 AM 19th June 2022

Interview With Kirsten Branston From Bradford Live On Winning UK City Of Culture 2025 Bid

The wait is finally over as Bradford has been named the UK City of Culture 2025. This will be a game changing, once in a generation opportunity to welcome the world to the Bradford district, to tell a myriad of stories and to showcase the creative dynamism of a young and diverse population.

Bradford will now receive £275,000 in initial funding to develops its plan for 2025, with the aim of creating a year of unforgettable cultural activities and events.

I spoke to Kirsten Branston, Programme Manager for Bradford Live - that's the new name for the magnificent art deco building formerly known as the Bradford Odeon.

Why do you think Bradford won the bid to become U.K. Capital of Culture 2025?

I think it is because of the enthusiasm and passion from the people of Bradford that was put into the bid. There was also a lot of drive to show the rest of the country and beyond what Bradford can offer. This really is our time to shine.

What do you think winning the bid will mean to the city?

It will bring pride to the people. In financial and business terms it will be a unique opportunity for Bradford and the district. People will come to the city for a weekend break especially when Bradford Live opens which will be a centrepiece of the festivities.

Do you think Bradford Live had an influence on the judge’s decisions?

It was part of the picture definitely. We showed the judging panel around the venue and they were able to see that it was going to be tangible. You cannot underestimate the power of the people - 30% of the population are under the age of 21 so I think that the energy they brought to the bid was also part of the judge’s decision.

How has the reaction been to Bradford Live?

Bradford has not got a decent sized venue, in fact there is nothing this size in West Yorkshire, we are quite central in the country with a venue having 4,000 seats in a venue that can be used for other things besides music such as conferences etc so it will be a flexible space.

Birmingham has got the NEC which has links with all the major promoters so having them on board too at the venue has opened many doors. The reaction though from the people of Bradford and also the music industry has been tremendous.

What do you think the economic benefits will be to Bradford by winning the bid?

It is estimated that by winning the title it could bring an extra £700 million into the Bradford district, creating 3,000 jobs and attracting around 1.1 million visitors by 2030.

By winning the bid it will drive tourism; restaurants and hotels will benefit. You can imagine how Bradford will be buzzing on a night when there are sell out concerts or shows taking place one night at Bradford Live, The Alhambra and St George’s Hall.

The city itself has been through difficult times but with the opening of City Park, the Broadway shopping centre, the new market which will open next year and the building of the One Bradford office block, which is opposite Bradford Live, then the successful bid this really is a turning point for the city.