Birmingham has taken a crucial step towards being crowned the UK’s City of Culture.
This could mean that many star-studded events, including the BAFTAs, Brits and MTV awards will relocate to the city.
A shortlist of four was announced yesterday, and Birmingham has been matched against Norwich, Derry and Sheffield to host the UK’s first City of Culture festival, in 2013.
The accolade could be worth £200 million to the winning bid, with more money coming to the city through other investments.
City council leaders want to avoid a repeat of Birmingham’s failure to win the similar European Capital of Culture contest, which ended in defeat to Liverpool in 2008.
Coun Martin Mullaney, chairman of Birmingham Cultural Partnership, said: “To be in the final four is just brilliant news.
“We are up against considerable opposition, now we’re down to this stage, but I don’t think Birmingham should be worried, because our bid is strong and we have such a lot to offer as a city.”
The bid was put together by the Birmingham Cultural Partnership (BCP), including the City Council.
If Birmingham wins it will cost the city £20 million, with the Council paying a quarter of the costs, and the rest being spread through the partnership, plus sponsors and ticket sales.
But Coun Mullaney said the long term benefits would be considerable, estimating a £200 million profit from an increase in visitors to the city.
And overall economic benefits through job creation could be up to £800 million.
Coun Mullaney added: “It’s not really about the profit, though. We want to make a real change to Birmingham.
“If we win, there is talk of relocating the Brits, BAFTAs and MTV Awards to the city for the year we would be the City of Culture.
“We’re also getting a lot of local celebrities involved, including Frank Skinner, Jasper Carrott, Lenny Henry and Jamelia. Being the City Of Culture is an opportunity to celebrate our culture. We know about our industrial heritage, but our cultural one is as important.”