We Reveal Opening Weekend Spectacular on Land, Sea and Air!


2 Feb, 2022

Imagine May 2025, the opening of our year as UK City of Culture, should our bid be successful.  With tens of thousands of people from the city and beyond, all invited to join in a spectacular opening celebration on land, sea and air. 

Celebrating Southampton’s national and international partnerships, creative producers Crying Out Loud will produce a giant circus show with a difference; featuring aerialists from all across the UK, alongside French circus company Gratte Ciel, to present a high-flying vision in the skies above Southampton’s Weston Shore.  

Southampton’s residents will be at the heart of the party, with a programme highlighting our international connections and diaspora communities including India, with a focus on Mumbai, Miami with our deep links forged through the cruise business, Poland, Romania, Pakistan, Nigeria, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Italy and the Netherlands to name but a few.  

A vast fleet of vessels invited from across the UK and the World will accompany a floating stage featuring the Goddess of the River Itchen, Ancasta, as imagined by the city’s schoolchildren and the night sky will be transformed into a giant canvas, with projections, drones and lasers across rooftops and landmarks including tower blocks and historic monuments.  

There will be the opportunity to get out onto the water as part of a Community Day in partnership with Southampton’s International Boat Show, enabling access for communities to try out sailing, paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking and open water swimming.   

This extravaganza will be followed by year-long activities on the water, linking rivers across the world, and showcasing local festivals to open up access and engagement.    

Throughout the year, pubs, corner shops, restaurants, and even people’s own homes will become theatres, art galleries, and music venues showcasing the best of Southampton’s homegrown talent, with investment in people, technology and infrastructure as part of our programme and its legacy.   

Claire Whitaker OBE, Bid Director, Southampton UK City of Culture bid 2025, said on submitting the bid to win UK City of Culture 2025 

“After three years of preparation, the people of Southampton are ready to welcome the world. We have the talent. We have the places. We have the backing. We have the vision. We want to build on the success of previous winners and now is the time for a city from the South. This is our invitation to make it SO”. 

Craig David MBE, Southampton UK City of Culture bid 2025 Ambassador, said: 

“I’m so proud of the city I grew up in and love! For me and for so many, Southampton has always been a city of culture, innovation, and sport; and to get a platform to show the rest of the world what we already know would be so exciting!” 

This is just one element of the celebrations, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the future. To keep up to date with all Southampton 2025 news sign up to our newsletter and follow our social channels @southampton2025.