Celebrated designer and creator of ‘Red or Dead’, Wayne Hemingway MBE, returned to the city this week to deliver an enlightening masterclass on organising world-class events and festivals.
Having curated the official Queen’s Diamond Jubilee party in London recently, Hemingway’s experience in this field is renowned and he brings this vast knowledge to Derry ahead of next year’s City of Culture events.
A large gathering came to the City Hotel’s Corinthian Ballroom on Wednesday morning to hear his ideas.
Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ ahead of his masterclass, Wayne Hemingway said: “It’s quite an accolade to be awarded the first ever UK City of Culture, and so I’m here to talk about how best Derry can put on cutting-edge events, and I have to say, it won’t be easy.”
The Red or Dead founder believes Derry must aim high in terms of delivering a first-class programme of events.
“What this city is trying to achieve over 2013 is going to be tough, but you have to aim really high with massive ambition, and if you get half of that right you’ll leave a lot of people very happy,” he said.
“That’s the ultimate aim - happiness - and leaving a happy legacy, so those from here have a great time, and visitors think you put on a bloody good show and they’ll want to come back too.”
“The major thing about the City of Culture is that people have to come out and get involved,” he went on. “The small group of people at the City of Culture Company can’t deliver this alone - even the most superhuman people in the world couldn’t do this without the help of the entire city. Get out there and get involved.”
“This will only work if the residents of the city don’t look at this cynically and don’t wait for it to be done for them - they themselves are the city of Culture. So if you have ideas, make them happen, if you want to see something, help organise it yourself.
“The only way this will work is if the city rises up and says ‘right - we’re going for this - and we’re going to have a ball doing it! It’s the only way.”
Hemingway also believes that we should focus on home-grown talent. “The answer here is not to book Lady GaGa to come over and play, it’s to create the Lady GaGa’s of the future from here. It’s a case of people being bothered to make things happen for themselves.
“I want people to look at the City of Culture website and say to themselves, “can I join in, or can we organise something else entirely? Pockets of people may already be doing this, but those pockets of people have to become armies and make this year to come something special.”