The Eurovision spotlight is set to shine on Liverpool after it was announced the city will host the world-famous competition on behalf of the UK.
The European Broadcast Union (EBU) and the BBC have whittled the competition down from 20 cities, and today announced that Liverpool will host the event on behalf of Ukraine in 2023.
The city, which began preparing its bid in June, received praise for its world-class facilities including the M&S Bank Arena and ACC Liverpool, the innovation behind its cultural programme, the plans to celebrate Ukrainian people and community and the ‘walkability’ of the city.
Liverpool’s unrivalled reputation for staging large-scale cultural events played a key part in the decision-making process as did the city’s relationship with its sister city Odesa.
The city region-wide support for Liverpool’s bid also proved to be a hit with the judges, and the ‘Team Liverpool’ approach was noted as residents, visitors, organisations and community groups across the city got behind the bid.
Liverpool’s Eurovision team will now start to put their plans into action, which includes working with Ukrainian street artists and fashion designers, creating a Liverpool/Ukraine community education programme and developing plans to host a special culture trail featuring Eurovision and scouse legend Sonia.
A dedicated website will be developed in the coming weeks as will more details about how people can get involved in the run up to, and during, the event.
The Mayor of the City of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov said:
“It is a matter of great pleasure to know that the bid of Liverpool, our sister city, to host the Eurovision Contest in 2023 is successful!
“Your city is worthy of that as it embodies the colourfulness and brightness of entire Europe. You definitely know how to make the world dance and sing along with you.
“Next year all musical roads of Europe will lead to your city, and we are happy that not only Eurovision contest will decorate Liverpool, but the city itself will adorn the event too. All of Odesa is looking forward to literally hearing from you!”
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson, said:
“I’m over the moon that Eurovision is coming to Liverpool!
“We knew that we faced strong competition from Glasgow, but we also knew that we had a great bid underpinned by the expertise of our award-winning Culture Liverpool team and supported by all our brilliant partners.
“This is a massive event and the eyes of the world will be on us in May, especially those of our friends in Ukraine.
“Now begins months of work to put on the best party ever. Ukraine – you have my promise we will do you proud.”
Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan CBE, said:
“This feels like our European Capital of Culture win all over again – I’m (almost) lost for words, but not quite!
“It has been a whirlwind few months where we have spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours devising a meaningful, thought-provoking bid which is energising, inspiring and pays homage to the Ukraine and its incredible people.
“Liverpool is the right city to host this event – it’s a bitter-sweet win, but will be a showcase of solidarity across the UK and Europe.
“It will be an extraordinary time and we can’t wait for the next part of the journey.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Home to the more UK number one hits than anywhere else, the birthplace of The Beatles, Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Real Thing, Elvis Costello, The Zutons – and now the host of Eurovision 2023 – the Liverpool City Region is undoubtably the UK’s cultural capital!
“While we came up against stiff competition from Glasgow, who deserve more than the nil points they have received on this occasion, nowhere is more experienced or qualified, and nowhere throws a party quite like we do.
“We want to put on a show that Ukraine would be proud of, and we have been working closely with Liverpool’s sister city of Odesa to ensure that this is their event as much as our own.
“Now the hard work begins. Putting on a show that will give millions a night they will never forget in one of the most turbulent and trying years for our continent is no mean feat. If anywhere is capable of it, it is the Liverpool City Region – with a little help from our friends in Ukraine. Slava Ukraini!”