Tonight’s the night Sunderland hopes to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021.
The team behind the city’s bid were this morning making their final presentation to judges hoping to convince them to award Sunderland the coveted prize ahead of rivals Coventry, Paisley, Stoke and Swansea.
And tonight they will see if all their hard work has paid off when the result is announced on BBC’s The One Show in a live broadcast from Hull, the current holder of the title.
Those involved with the bid say they are nervous with anticipation but insist, whatever the result, Sunderland will still continue to be a cultural city.
Rebecca Ball, bid director, said: “We’re excited and nervous about tonight’s announcement, but we’re also very proud of our bid. Hundreds of people fed into it, and thousands upon thousands of people have supported it.
“The bid document submitted in late September was strong, ambitious and deliverable. We then hosted a successful visit to the city by four of the judges in early November, and the last stage was this morning’s presentation.
“On behalf of the bid team I’d like to thank each and every company, organisation and individual who has supported us - the backing we’ve had has been so passionate and sometimes so overwhelming it has been a humbling experience. I’d also like to thank the Bid Steering Group who have offered sage advice and again been very supportive.
“Win or lose tonight, the momentum built behind our bid to become City of Culture will not be lost.”
The cultural fate of the city lies in the hands of the panel of judges put together by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Arts and Culture Minister John Glen is due to announce the winner between 7pm-7.30pm.
Should Sunderland win, the city would host a year of events in 2021 which would plough millions into the economy and bring thousands of visitors to Wearside.
New additions to the city, including The Fire Station arts hub, have been partly inspired by the bid and would host events if we scoop the coveted title, which is awarded every four years.
The bid has been backed by local and regional businesses, councils, MPs, colleges, universities, transport companies and health authorities, as well as organisations like Sunderland BID, SAFC, Gentoo, the Echo and local celebrities.