PREPARATIONS are now underway for next year's Wirral's Festival of Firsts.

Instead of the usual two-week long extravaganza, it will feature three unmissable arts-themed weekends, each with a packed programme of free and ticketed events.

Organiser Judy Ugonna OBE said: "Wirral’s first and favourite community arts festival is back with a difference in 2019, as we gear up to support Wirral's year as the Liverpool City Region's Borough of Culture!"

It starts with the First Wirral Poetry Festival, taking place from May 10-12.

It will be opened on May 10 by iconic Merseybeat poet Roger McGough & Little Machine, with show promising vintage, classic and surprising poems set to music.

The following day, Birkenhead Town Hall hosts a poetry party; an afternoon of special poetry readings form poets from all corners of the UK and Ireland.

The Poetry Festival will be preceded by two poetry picnics, with participants invited to tour Leasowe Lighthouse and write poetry with Kemal Houghton and take a trip on the Mersey Ferry and write poetry with Paul Harris.

Hoylake Street Festival will take place from July 5-7, featuring all kinds of attractions and some amazing street theatre.

Among the acts are Teatro Pomodoro, the Liverpool-based group who took part in this year's festival.

The weekend of 12-14 July centres on West Kirby with the annual Arts and Crafts fair. Also appearing will be up-and-coming performance poet Luke Wright, as well as some familiar but much loved events showcasing local talent.

Entries are now being taken for the poetry competition, with a closing date of Friday March 22.

The contest will be adjudicated by Anna Saunders, director of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Four prizes will be awarded: first prize is £200; Two Runners Up £50 each and a special Wirral prize £50 for a poet living or working in Wirral.

Entry: £4 per poem or £10 for three poems. You can enter online at or by post.

Winners will be notified by April 19 and invited to attend a prize-giving event during our First ever Wirral Poetry Festival Weekend 10- 12 May 2019.

There will be a new look art programme with more wishing flags.

Wishing Flags.

Explaining the flags' significance, Judy Ugonna continued: "In 2018 members of the community created 650 wishing flags and in 2019 we want to make 1000.

"The 2018 flags have travelled all over the Wirral from Hoylake Promenade to New Brighton and more recently the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead.

"You can see images of all the flags via our website. Contact details below in case you would like to get making!

Volunteers play a vital role in the festival's running.

Appealing for Globe readers to sign up, Judy continued: "We always need people to help us plan and deliver the festival.

"If you are interested in helping us with publicity, social media, volunteer coordination, event planning and management, or any other way, do get in touch by email: or check our website"

The Festival was established in 2011 by John Gorman and the late Stirling Dutton.

Judy Ugonna said: "Its aim was to showcase local talent across a wide range of arts disciplines, to bring national / international performers and artists to the Wirral and to inspire new work in the arts.

"Each year, since then, we have managed – somehow - to bring a packed programme of events to the Wirral community!

“We are really excited to be bringing the first ever Poetry Festival to Birkenhead next May and we look forward to working with the Culture Team at Wirral Council to support Wirral’s year as Borough of Culture!”