Liverpool will host 2023 Eurovision song contest

The finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 14, 2022. (Photo: NYTimes)
LONDON — Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, organizers of the musical competition announced Friday, choosing the birthplace of the Beatles for one of Europe’s premier cultural events.اضافة اعلان

The M&S Bank Arena, an 11,000-capacity arena, will stage the competition May 13, 2023, organizers said.

The announcement capped an unusual selection process, in which Ukraine, which earned the right to host next year’s event after winning this year’s contest, was ruled out by Eurovision organizers, who said the war-torn country could not provide the necessary “security and operational guarantees”.

Instead, Britain, the runner-up in 2022, was named host. Liverpool was selected from a shortlist of seven cities that also included Glasgow, Scotland, the runner-up; along with Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Hosting Eurovision “means everything” for Liverpool, the city’s director of culture, Claire McColgan, told the BBC on Friday.

“We’re doing it for Ukraine first of all, for our brilliant city and for the people who come here,” McColgan said. “It’s going to be incredible.”

Ukraine had offered three potential locations that it said were safe from the fighting: Lviv, in western Ukraine; the Zakarpattia region, which borders Hungary and Slovakia; and the capital, Kyiv.

But the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the competition, announced in July that Britain would host instead. At the time, Martin Österdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, pledged that Ukraine would be “celebrated and represented throughout the event,” with representatives from a Ukrainian broadcaster working with the BBC.

Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, also said the network was “committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”

Eurovision began in 1956, gathering musical artists from countries across Europe, as well as some farther afield, including Australia and Israel.

Britain has hosted the event eight times, most recently in 1998 in Birmingham.

The selection will bring a major international spotlight to Liverpool. Over 160 million people watched in May as Kalush Orchestra, a Ukrainian rap act, was crowned the winner in Turin, Italy.

Sixty-two years after the Beatles formed, Liverpool remains closely tied to the enormously influential rock band. The band is central to the city’s tourism, with Beatles-themed museums, tours and a statue along the waterfront.

Though Liverpool has produced fewer star international acts recently, the local music scene is small-scale and “healthy,” said Karl Whitney, author of “Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop.” There are “lots of great bands from Liverpool,” he said, “but the Beatles, obviously, sort of overshadow everything.”

The city plans collaborations with Ukrainian street artists, designers and musicians to bring the country’s culture to the city, The Liverpool Echo reported this week. McColgan told the newspaper that “this is their party; it just happens to be in our house,” referring to the Ukrainians.

“If we are chosen as host city there’s no question Eurovision will take over Liverpool in a way no single event has ever done before,” she said this week.

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