A festival of 'Hope & Glory'
With so many festivals setting up camp throughout the UK nowadays, it can take something special for a fledgling event to push its way to the fore.
Inaugural boutique festival Hope & Glory, which takes over Liverpool’s city centre across the weekend of August 5th and 6th, is already doing a good job of making a name for itself
Marketed as a unique, artistically subversive event offering an edgy, sophisticated and surreal experience, promoter Lee O’Hanlon said the aim of the festival was pretty straightforward.
“We want people walking away laughing and singing along. We want it to be about having fun. That is what a festival is all about.
“I think too much thought can go into sorting out a lineup sometimes. Are they a fantastic band? Yes. Have they got masses of fans? Yes. That’s what you want at a festival.”
Hope & Glory has this in abundance. Seventy-piece orchestra Haçienda Classiçal close the festival on Sunday with James headlining the Saturday.
James will be joined on The Great Exhibition Stage by Razorlight, The Fratellis, Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, The View, Embrace and many more while over on the Wonders Of The Age Stage, Starsailor will close Saturday nights mayhem with the likes of Lucy Spraggan, Dave McCabbe (Zutons) with Ian Skelly (The Coral), The Seahorses lead singer Chris Helme, The Ordinary Boys and more playing throughout day.
On Sunday, Haçienda Classiçal will be joined by special guests Shaun Ryder and Bez from the Happy Mondays along with Tim Booth. Ocean Colour Scene will also now be playing The Great Exhibition Stage alongside Tom Chaplin (Keane), Lightning Seeds and musical troubadours Public Service Broadcasting. The Twang will champion a day of new music with The Shimmer Band, The Blinders and others taking to the second stage.
“We have been calling it a ‘Festival of Anthems’, said Lee. “And that is exactly what it is. These bands have some big songs. Obviously we have the acts from the 90s and 00s but we’ve got a few up-and-coming artists on there as well. There’s definitely a good mix.”
Since the tragic events in Manchester, the festival has taken on greater significance and all the profits from ticket sales will now go to the victims and their families of the terrorist attack.
“The night after it happened I thought you know what, I’m going to a gig tonight," said Lee. "I hopped on a train and went to the vigil in Albert Square and then I went to the Simple Minds concert.
"People were upset but there was also a defiance. In that moment I wanted to change what Hope & Glory was about. I wanted to do something good with the opportunity that we have.
“I just want us to be able to support the friends and families of those injured or who lost their lives as well as the emergency services that supported them, in any way we could. As a North West Festival with two Manchester artists as our headliners, the choice was simple. It’s simply doing what we can, standing with Manchester.”
The festival is set behind St George’s Hall, in St John’s Gardens and William Brown Street where 12,500 fans can enjoy the festival while indulging in the stunning Victorian backdrop of the World Museum and City Library in a specially created arena.
It’s hard not to smile when you hear Lee’s passion for the event. This is much more than a festival to him and one he hopes comes back.
“The idea came to me about two years ago. I was sat in the Central Library in Liverpool having a cup of tea with Echo and The Bunnyman’s manager – rock ‘n’ roll I know. As we walked out I just thought it would be great to create our own arena here and have a music festival.
“I’ve worked on lots of festivals but I’m really excited about this one. I’m excited about the concept and everyone has been so receptive. When I’ve organised events in the past, you go on social media and you always have your healthy amount of naysayers but there’s has been so much overwhelming positivity for this, it’s been great.
“The intention is to make this an annual event, without doubt.”