A major programme of concerts, events and educational projects to celebrate Sheffield’s cultural industries and heritage is being planned with a view to a launch next year.

Representatives of local communities, music-based organisations, education groups, charities and others are working together to organise events throughout the year that highlight Sheffield’s status of the UK’s first City of Sanctuary.

They have been brought together by the Music City Foundation who have also brought on board:

  • Renowned classical composer and conductor Tolga Kashif
  • Level 42’s John Thirkell – the first person to be inducted into the Musician Union’s Hall of Fame
  • Ex-Beautiful South manager Philip Cass

Amongst other things, one of the long-term targets is 12 events a year under the banner of ‘Sanctuary Way’ including international music and fringe activities in and around the city centre.

Key to the year-long strategy is forming partnerships with existing enterprises to help them develop their own events.

Initial proposals for the programme are being firmed up with a view to incorporating venues on a Sanctuary Way route stretching from The Wicker through the city centre to the Bramall Lane and London Road area. Up to ten venues could be involved.

Behind the project is Music City Foundation, a commercial, educational and philanthropic venture and a catalyst for bringing teams together to collaborate on events and projects and to reap the economic benefits for the region.

Already the blueprint for Sanctuary Way has been rolled out at a meeting that brought together community and youth groups, music-based organisations, representatives of the Sheffield business community, entrepreneurs, traders and legal, financial and crowdfunding experts.

The concept is also being discussed with a range of organisations – Sheffield United, Sheffield Cathedral, Meadowhall, Sheffield International Venues, The City Council and both universities.

Some key figures in national – and international – music businesses are closely involved in creating a structure that promises to bring big names and other exciting musical projects to the city.

Details of a full launch for the initiative will be announced soon.

At the preliminary meeting an outline of likely indoor and outdoor venues was presented. It included indoor venues on a route from Wicker to Mount Pleasant Park and Bramall Lane. Outdoor venues along the route have also been identified.

A package of potential funding is being put together covering sponsorship, grants, crowdfunding, ticket sales and philanthropic gestures.

Music City Foundation chairman Stephen Thomas said: “Of all the businesses I have ever been involved in, this is one of the most exciting.

“I am extremely proud of the team we have pulled together and I am certain we will establish Music City Foundation as a beacon of good driven by the inspirational power of music.”

Building on Sheffield’s reputation as the first City of Sanctuary, MCF director Winston Hazel said: “Sanctuary Way is a means of engaging the local and international communities in Sheffield and showcasing the cultural industries of Sheffield, that have music at their heart.

“We need to recognise that everyone has a lot to offer in terms of music, culture, the economy and society.

“We want to bring people together, encouraging them to grow events with our support and aligning with some of the great things already happening in Sheffield. We want to underline the community ethos with access for all people.”