Liverpool Commonwealth Games could be launched by 71-ship Armada on the Mersey

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Spectacle could start off a two-week festival of culture over the whole city

If Liverpool lands the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the occasion will be received by a spectacular Armada of 71 ships sailing into the city.

Plans are ready for the fleet of boats – each representative of a Commonwealth nation – to sail the Mersey to Liverpool on the eve of the sporting spectacular.

And this would be just the beginning of a two-week festival of culture that would happen along with the games if the city’s bid is successful.

The team behind the respected 2008 Capital of Culture year are preparating for each competing nation to have its own “Cultural Embassy” in the city.

Artists from each country would plan a light-show for the sites which may include the Philharmonic Hall, The Black-E, St Vincents School or St George’s Hall.

The opening ceremony would be a display of light, pyrotechnics and sound – combining little intimate moments with epic experiences.

And it would see the River Mersey as the focal point for welcoming competing nations from around the world – with each of the 71 vessels flying the flag for every nation as they sail into the city.

Liverpool’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan MBE, said: “The Cultural Armada would be the first thing a global audience would see of Liverpool 2022. And what an image it would be – a river filled with ships, each with the flag of a different nation sailing into one of the world’s most iconic waterfronts at sunset.

“The cultural programme is at the heart of our bid – it will tell the story of Liverpool and the Commonwealth, what binds it together and what makes each nation so unique, and will in turn create a programme of extraordinary moments in unexpected places.

“Liverpool is recognised internationally as a cultural leader, so the scale and ambition of our plans won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“This is a city which pushes boundaries with major events and culture, and we don’t want to leave anyone with any doubt that by staging the Games in Liverpool, we’ll be positioning Britain as a creative, outward looking and progressive nation.

“And we know Liverpool can deliver – staging events became second nature for this city following our European Capital of Culture tenure and now we know just what amazing, unforgettable experiences can be achieved when this city unites for a common goal.”

Chairman of the Liverpool 2022 bid, Brian Barwick, stated: “The team behind the plans for the city’s 2022 cultural programme are the powerhouses who delivered what is widely regarded as the best ever European Capital of Culture year in 2008.

“This is a team which is used to delivering major events year after year, from the Three Queens to Giants and Sgt Pepper at 50, Liverpool delivers unforgettable experiences, and what we are talking about today is just a taster of what is being proposed.

“With the 2022 Games as inspiration, they have created a bold, exciting and unrivalled vision that would engage and enthral millions of people around the world.”

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