My top 10 cultural moments in Chester 2014

In the lead up to Christmas and the end of the year I thought I’d take a look back at 2014.   To think about my personal favourite moments in Chester’s arts and culture offering over the past 12 months.  There has been so many great events, gigs and happenings organised by a wealth of grassroots organisations and passionate people. When I thought about it properly there was absolutely tons I could have included but I’d decided ten was the number!  So here are the top ten things that made me go “Wow” this year in Chester’s arts and culture; approximately in the order they happened….

DSC_0134Cathedral at Height tour

I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this tour just before the launch.  Quite a breath-taking experience (and not just because of the 216 stairs) Here’s my full review from the day.

Chester Fringe  – The Minerva Lodge Tattoo Club stage

Bringing the wonders of The Chester Fringe with the fab team at Minerva Lodge Tattoo Club was always going to bring good things.  The afternoon of this event had a special chilled-out community vibe.  Here’s my review from the day.

Chester Pride and The Glitter Lounge

Chester Pride was brilliant.  A much bigger event than last year, with the whole of Chester out on the streets for the parade and festival.  There was sunshine, music and even a real rainbow! The Glitter Lounge was where I spent most of my day at Pride. A glitzy, eclectic stage with belly dancers, the fabulous Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School, live music and more. It left everyone with a big smile on their faces.

Degree & MA Shows at University of Chester

I’ve attended the degree show every year since I moved here in 2010, but this year was stand-out.  The MA show was brilliant too.  A real sense of experimentation, testing boundaries with high quality work – I found it inspiring to see the talent growing in our little city.  Both Art & design Degree shows and MA Fine Art shows were equally impressive in their own ways. Read my degree show review here and MA show review here.

Launch of the Chester Food Assembly

The launch of the Chester Food Assembly helped me to achieve one of my new year promises to myself – to buy healthy food locally. But CFA goes far beyond shopping.  It brings the community together, and has fast become part of the cultural life of Chester.  Read my review of the launch party here.

Dinner at Satsuma

So is eating my dinner really a “cultural experience”? Well at Satsuma it is! The social communal set-up, the dinner party feel and the lovingly made food combine to create a really special evening.  Read my review here.

Hoole Christmas Lights Switch On

Merely saying these words make me smile.  From my first Christmas in Chester the Hoole Lights Switch on has been unmissable. Its one of the few moments when real-life Christmas matches the Christmas of the mind. Beautiful! Read my articles about it here.

The One Chair Project

The brainchild of Sam Riley and Chair, this community and photography project sought to champion Chester’s cultural forward thinkers.  Following tons of nominations 20 people were judged to be the winners and photoshoots with them have been taking place ever since, with the final images still under-wraps. I thought it was an ace way to showcase and celebrate the people who are making Chester a better place, and through Sam’s own passions and talent.  Here’s my interview with Sam about the project.

Alice at Theatre In The QuarterAlice at Theatre in the Quarter

This show really blew me away! The morning after I saw it I felt like it had all been a surreal dream.  Cleverly put together and so much fun! Read my full review here.

Mid-winter watch parade

Similarly to Hoole lights switch on, the Mid-Winter watch parade is part of our Christmassy traditions. The talent that goes into making the puppets and props is awesome! Full of character, theatre, music with a scary twist – I can’t get enough of it! See Dai Owen’s wonderful reportage illustrations of the parade here.

That’s my top ten, I’d love to hear your stand-out moments of Chester’s arts and culture in 2014!



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