A decision not to put Stoke-on-Trent in the race to be the UK's City of Culture does not mean the council is embarrassed by the area, it said.Stoke-on-Trent will not bid to become the City of Culture in 2013 after earlier looking at the idea. Twenty-nine locations are in the running.
The city council said it always considered it would be good idea in 2017 rather than 2013.
It was concentrating "significantly" on the regeneration agenda, it added.
Hazel Lyth, cabinet member for economic development and culture, said: "Our objective really in applying for the year is to bring additional visitors and additional revenue into the city.
"We want the city to be ready to do that and that's why we're really looking at 2017 as opposed to 2013.
"There's a huge amount of cultural activity and creative activity taking place in the city already. We already have a fabulous heritage.
"But we want to be sure that when we do it, our regeneration is in place - a lot of it anyway."
The list of 29 was announced by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw.
TV writer Phil Redmond, who spearheaded Liverpool's year as European City of Culture in 2008, will chair the judging panel for the competition.
The winner will be announced next Spring.