The British City of Culture 2025 shortlist has been revealed with Craig David supporting Southampton and Sting supporting County Durham


For Sting, the case for County Durham is unbeatable.

Craig David says it should be Southampton.

It has been revealed that the finalists for the UK’s City of Culture in 2025 are hoping celebrity sponsors will give them a head start in the race.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the four venues chosen to become the next home of British culture are Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough.

Culture Secretary Nadine Doris will announce the 2021 Coventry successor in May, after an independent panel of experts, led by Brookside creator Sir Phil Redmond, presented their recommendations.

The winning city, which is expected to receive millions of pounds of additional investment, must demonstrate how it will use culture to boost the local economy in line with the government’s “catch-up” agenda.

The candidates have recruited famous local faces to give their presentations. “I was born and raised in nearby Tyneside, but in many ways Durham was the historic heart of the Northeast,” Sting said.

“As a medieval spiritual center with its splendid cathedral, and a center of learning with one of Britain’s oldest universities, not to mention its importance to the Industrial Revolution as the mining community still celebrates it every year with a celebration of miners.”

In a direct appeal to Ms. Doris, the singer added: “The government talks a lot about raising the bar, but for the most part, the region has been ignored for decade after decade.

“So choosing Durham will provide a much-needed spotlight on this unique and important culture that is the Northeast.”

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Endorsing his hometown, Craig David said of Southampton: “This city is full of culture, much of it created by Southamptons, and will always be in my heart.”

“Now we have a chance to be part of the story of our future city and tell it to the world,” added David, who collaborated with Sting on the song “Rise & Fall.”

Craig David and Sting perform together during KIIS FM’s Wango Tango show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California (Image – GETTY)

Wrexham, the only remaining Welsh rival, is still striving for city status after missing out on three previous occasions. Wrexham AFC’s new owners, Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny, helped bring international attention to the area.

“Wrexham and culture go hand-in-hand like the actors of Hollywood and Wrexham Football Club,” said weather show host Sian Lloyd, adding that the North Wales city has a “thriving live music scene”.

Chris Camara, a former Bradford City player and manager-turned-expert, endorses the British Curry Empire. You can’t get better curry than anywhere other than Bradford. The city has a lot to offer.” He added, “People come from everywhere to go to the Alhambra theater for performances and bantu and also to St. George’s Hall.”

However, there was disappointment in Scotland after Sterling’s bid to reach the quarter-finals failed. Other candidates disqualified are Armagh City, Banbridge, Craigavon, Cornwall and Derby.

Sir Phil said: “Culture can act as a catalyst for community participation and civic cohesion and a driver of economic and social change, as seen above, not only in Derry Londonderry in 2013 and Hull in 2017 and Coventry in 2021, but in general those other places who have embarked on a journey to develop their strategy own cultural.

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“The simple act of sharing has proven to be a helping factor in itself.”

Since winning the coveted title, Coventry has spent more than £172 million to fund concerts and the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, plus another £500 million towards rejuvenating the city.

But MPs have warned that the 2025 winner may be disappointed by the lack of funds. The DCMS report said: “The government should ensure that a successful British City of Culture hosts an adequate amount of national funding from the outset, rather than requiring the host to wait for a decision, to allow regulators to focus their efforts on securing other sources of funding.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “The UK City of Culture competition shows the important role culture can play in settling our towns, cities and rural communities, bringing in investment, big events, thousands of tourists, and opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.”

We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city Coventry, with investments in the millions of pounds and thousands of visitors.

“This has been a record year for deals, which is great to see. Congratulations to the four shortlisted places, all the best.


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