Let’s get ready to party!
With three months to go, Liverpool is gearing up to host Eurovision 2023 on May 13, one of the biggest music competitions in the world – and the city is in overdrive to make it a mega-memorable event, not just for Liverpool, but for Ukraine, too.
The city was the first to throw its hat in the ring to host the competition when, for obvious reasons, it was declared unsafe to hold it in Ukraine after its Kalush Orchestra triumphed in last year’s event in Turin.
The place that boasts its credentials as a world-class party city is determined to excel and make this one of the best Eurovisions ever, while also reflecting this to Ukraine.
As Claire McColgan, Liverpool City Council’s director of culture, said: “Throughout the whole, complex bidding process, Ukraine was at the heart of everything we did. This is their show after all, and we’re the stage to celebrate their country and its incredibly inspirational people.
“We’re a city with a strong identity and we never pretend to be anything else. We’re passionate and we stand up for injustice. And we really love any excuse to have a great time.”
But, for a great party, preparation is everything, which is proving a huge challenge. Something that would generally take years to prepare is now being turned around in a matter of months.
And, typically, every Scouser wants to be part of it. City council cabinet member for culture and visitor economy, Cllr Harry Doyle, said: “Since we found out we had the honour of hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine, we have been inundated with requests from people who want to get involved and be part of the warm Liverpool welcome we are renowned for across the globe.”
So, the council launched a programme for 500 volunteers to get involved to help deliver the show, which, overall, spans a two week period, from May 1 to May 14.
Volunteers will lend a hand throughout the city, including at the Tourist Information Centre in Liverpool One, the Eurovision Village on the Pier Head and at key transport hubs.
The city has also invited wider collaboration, from schools and community programmes, to the local Ukrainian community to ensure the benefits of Eurovision are shared as much as possible.
Alongside the massive cultural kudos for the city, the financial benefits will be immense. Eurovision will attract a TV audience in the region of 160 million viewers, and it is estimated that the Liverpool City Region will reap a £25m economic return from the event, which will rise to £250m by 2026, as experience shows most tourists tend to make return visits.
But, financial opportunities always attract opportunists.
When Liverpool was confirmed as the host back in October last year, accommodation costs, mostly the apart-hotels sector, spiked with many sensing an easy buck to be had.
The council appealed for a more responsible outlook from operators.
And business has been able to help, not least through Liverpool’s Accommodation BID (Business Improvement District), the first of its kind in the UK when it was formed last November.
Bill Addy, CEO of Liverpool BID Company, said: “Although some individual owners have taken the opportunity to raise prices, the vast majority have been eager to work with those delivering Eurovision to ensure there are enough rooms for both delegations, for press and for those delivering the cultural programmes.
“Whenever major events like Eurovision come to cities there is always major international demand. What the Accommodation BID allows the city to do is work with the industry and ensure the benefits for those visitors are seen throughout the city centre.”