As soon as it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be hosted by the BBC, it was inevitable that Liverpool would throw its hat into the ring. As a city with such a great muscial pedigree, we were the obvious choice, right?
Maybe not. Even my most ardent Eurovision pals were sceptical of our bid. “It’ll be in Glasgow,” they all said, whenever I dared to dream of a Eurovision on the banks of the River Mersey. When the bids were narrowed down and Liverpool was in the final two, a lot of people seemed to be surprised that we had even made it that far.
And then, on Friday night, the final announcement came…
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) October 7, 2022
I say “we” – I didn’t really have anything to do with it. There is a lot of credit to go round, but special praise to the director of Culture Liverpool, Clare McColgan, and Harry Doyle of Liverpool City Council, whose boundless enthusiasm helped to demonstrate how much Liverpool wanted it. The city’s bid was, by all accounts, head and shoulders above the rest, as this excellent Liverpool Post piece sets out.
The city was surely also helped by an endorsement by our twin city, Odesa, whose mayor recorded a video in support of our bid.
Of course, Eurovision 2023 should have been held in Ukraine, and the onus is now on Liverpool to honour the rightful hosts. We are promised a full programme of events in the run up to the contest itself, including street art, fashion shows, a performance by the Kharkiv orchestra and celebrations of Ukrainian culture. The event is likely to take over the city the way the Giant Spectacular did. Liverpool will welcome the world, with performers, journalists and fans from all over Europe and beyond descending for the contest.
And then, at 8pm on Saturday 13th May 2023, a camera will swoop across Liverpool’s magnificent waterfront and into the
M&S Bank Liverpool Arena, watched by over 160 million viewers, as Liverpool writes its place in Eurovision history.
Before that, there is lots of work to do – the logistical issues of staging such a huge event are enormous. Questions, too, about how such a huge event will be paid for.
But for now, let’s take a few moments to bask in this amazing success. I am confident Liverpool will rise to the challenge, and put on a show that will do Ukraine proud. I can’t wait for May.