High Flying Festival – This Sunday Grass Ladies give visitors a private serenade at Liverpool's Flyover event

High Flying Festival - This Sunday

Our city’s strong community spirit continues to make good things happen in Liverpool. One of them is award-winning urban project ‘The Flyover’.

Conceived by Liverpool’s community interest company We Make Places and Friends of The Flyover, four events have already successfully turned a concrete highway into a thriving public space this summer.

“Sometimes you just need to look at the space you already have and use it more effectively…”

The fifth event of its kind is taking place this Sunday, once again turning the Churchill Flyover, that runs between World Museum Liverpool and University of Liverpool Campus, into an elevated outdoor venue, to enjoy food, music and entertainment.

Each event has had a different focus, so we met up with We Make Place’s Kate Stewart to discover more about Sunday’s event and their plans for the future.

Kate, tell us what The Flyover project is all about?

“We Make Places helps communities by reconsidering ignored, underused or condemned places in a new light, allowing them to rise again and become sustainable spaces which are active, flourishing and loved.

Flyover Takeover

“We wanted to create a new, shared public space in the heart of our city centre, using the existing Churchill Way Flyover structure. So we’ve been turning it into a new outdoor cultural and community event space, during five Sunday’s throughout the summer. But the area has remained a vehicle highway from Monday to Saturday.

“You don’t always need new land or completely new constructions. Sometimes you just need to look at the space you already have and use it more effectively.”

Interesting concept. How did the idea come about?

“There were plans to demolish The Flyover, but we saw potential in the structure as a productive and lively public space. It’s a bit different, but so is Liverpool, so we set about talking to residents and the people who work near the flyover, to see what they wanted to do.

“People agreed that it would be better to use the space in a more creative way, than to knock it down. They also felt that it could help connect local communities in North Liverpool, with the city centre.”

Epic Award
Flyover Fest was named the ‘Epic Awards 2015 England Winner’. Epic Awards is an annual initiative which champions creative cultural participation and shines a spotlight on excellence and achievement in the voluntary arts sector.

What happened from there?

“We began to think about how this change could be achieved and we all agreed that the space would be perfect for music, theatre, cycling and workshops. We held our first ‘Flyover Fest’ two years ago, the event was a great success and seemed to really resonate with the community.

“From there we began to raise further funds through a crowdfunding campaign on Spacehive. We also developed ideas around things like sustainable energy, how to use the area for educational purposes, how to establish partners and to talk about the first phase of planning permission. So we’ve been really busy during 2015 and this year we brought the festival back, not once, but five times.”

Flyover Fest

There was a great atmosphere at the previous events. How did you achieve this?

“By inviting people really. It’s the people that make the place, we just gave them a few great reasons to come down. We wanted to really show the full potential of The Flyover and funding from Arts Council England has enabled us to do this in a really creative way this year, with this series of Takeover events.

“Threshold Festival developed a brilliant music programme. We had artists, musicians, cyclists and food experts. People brought their own picnics.  It just all worked together, simply being on The Flyover, in that location, was exciting. People loved it.”

This Sunday’s event sounds fantastic. Tell us what’s in store.

“We’re going for a real carnival atmosphere, all under the theme of ‘Nature and Nurture’.  It’s going to be a great family event and we can guarantee you will see things you’ve never seen before.

“The Flock, by Fool Size Theatre, is a really raucous and unusual street circus. Imagine a biker gang crossed with the world’s most elaborate bird show and you’ll get something close to them. Gobbledegook Theatre’s Grass Ladies, Mo, Daisy and Lawn-a are bringing a private garden party atmosphere, complete with acappella singing and mini personal concerts.

Life-size giraffe by VIP Puppets
Life-size giraffe by VIP Puppets

“Life-size giraffes and a menagerie of other wild animals will roam the flyover, courtesy of Liverpool’s specialist puppet theatre company, VIP Puppets. The Farm Urban team will introduce people to the world of aquaponics; a food production system which combines growing fish, with growing plants without soil, to produce fish and vegetables in an incredibly efficient and sustainable way.

“Bike Lads from Peloton Liverpool are returning to the event, after being so popular last time around. They’re a social enterprise who get people cycling. This time around they’re also hiring three mobile mechanics, who are offering free safety checks for people’s bikes.

What’s on the menu this time?

“Food, as ever, is a big part of the event and we’re starting the day the right way, with full English breakfasts. Coffee will be provided by Bean and Laura’s Little Bakery are selling breakfast muffins. DimSumSu are livening up lunchtime with authentic dim sum. It’s going to be pretty special.”

So that’s food, music and entertainment in a sweeping, elevated urban space. Take our advice and finish your weekend on a high at a festival in the sky.

Flyover Takeover takes place on Sunday 28 August from 8.00am - 5.00pm, with music from 9.00 - 11.00am.

For more information on The Flyover project or We Make Places follow the links.

Published: 26/08/2016