It is hard to imagine 10 years ago today, Dundee lost out to Hull in a bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017.
I remember that day well. I was invited to the bid announcement event at the old Chamber of Commerce building to find out if we had won and, sadly, it wasn’t to be.
There was definitely a feeling of defeat, but also of pride, in the room that day.
And in my mind that day helped push the City of Discovery on the course to where it is now – a place transformed.
The V&A opened a year later and in 2021 Dundee was named as one of 21 Cities of the Future by Cognizant and was the only UK representative on this prestigious list.
Dundee, now, is looking to capitalise on the events which have helped earn city even more recognition.
Recent history of events
We’ve hosted the likes of Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the WUKF World Karate Championships for the second time.
And I recently learned Dundee City Council was considering a Strategy to Support Growth of Dundee Events following from the success of Big Weekend.
This is a really positive move because these events have made an impact on the city’s economy.
Talking with Dundee Culture followers about what events they would like to see in the city in the near future was interesting.
Some suggested a new Dundee-themed music festival to replace the ill-fated Carnival 56, while others called for Hogmanay celebrations to make a comeback.
There was also a desire to have major Christmas markets here as well.
I agree that Christmas and Hogmanay are two things Dundee needs to build upon – and there are many that share that same opinion.
It follows the news Winterfest will scaled back significantly.
M&N Events says the Slessor Gardens attraction is moving to the High Street, near City Square, from December 1.
M&N operations manager Montana Thomson also confirmed there would be no ice rink or big wheel, saying: “Dundee Winterfest 2022 didn’t really get the footfall from the previous year.
“With the current cost-of-living crisis the event will be reduced considerably.”
Going in the right direction
I am disappointed in that decision but I hope we can build it back better for next year.
Dundee is an ideal setting for events, and it is perfectly situated for it – and I hope the council do consider the proposed growth strategy.
We have come a long way since the days of Dundee’s UK City of Culture bid and we are going in the right direction.
But we need to build on what we’ve learned about hosting the big events and use this knowledge to raise the standards even higher.