Mike Chubb got in touch, having seen my responses to falsehoods in the Birmingham Post, about Winterval, to say:
In conversation with Polly Toynbee of The Guardian re the long running Winterval Saga, she suggested that, as the originator of Winterval, I should stand up and put my name to it. So here I am.
I am Mike Chubb, as Head of Events for Birmingham at the time I invented the term Winterval (41 days and nights of festive fun!), fully supported by The Council and the cultural and business community. I am continually fascinated that the term Winterval, ever caused (and still does) such a furore.
Quite simply, as Head of events at that time, we needed a vehicle which could cover the marketing of a whole season of events…Diwali (festival of Lights), Christmas lights switch on, BBC Children in Need, Aston Hall by Candlelight, Chinese New year, New Years eve etc. Also a season that included theatre shows and open air ice rink, Frankfurt open air Christmas market and the Christmas seasonal retail offer. Christmas, called Christmas! and its celebration, lay at the heart of Winterval.
Political correctness was never the reasoning behind Winterval, but yes it was intended to be inclusive (which is no bad thing to my mind) and a brand to which other initiatives could be developed as part of The Winterval offer in order to sell the City at a time when all cities are competing against each other for the seasonal trade.
Each part of Winterval had its own marketing plan… the same as ,for instance the marketing of a brand whose sub brands (ie chocolate)have their own niche marketing.
I do believe that those who took umbrage did it for their own reasons, to sell their own message and of course, everybody got on to their own hobby horses in the process.
I am amazed that no-one could see the simplicity of The Winterval brand, but read into it what they wanted; to further and give voice to their own aspirations/prejudices. It is time for Birmingham to be proud of Winterval and stand up for an innovative initiative that befits an outward looking city.
However on the plus side thank you for keeping the Winterval campaign going and keeping Birmingham in the World’s eye… what fantastic publicity.
As I still have in my posession the original Winterval brochure produced by Birmingham City Council, I can confirm that it does indeed incude the things Mike describes, plus details of a Christmas Carol Concert and pictures of angels. As soon as I can rememer where it is, I’ll post pictures