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Liverpool chosen to host Eurovision 2023

BBC News 07/10/2022
Liverpool's arena and exhibition centre are on the banks of the River Mersey © Ant Clausen Liverpool's arena and exhibition centre are on the banks of the River Mersey

Liverpool has been chosen to host the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in the UK for 25 years.

The home of The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and The Wombats will stage the spectacular event next May after beating off competition from Glasgow.

The show is coming to the UK after this year's winner, Ukraine, was unable to take up hosting duties due to the war.

Liverpool officials said the event, at the 11,000-capacity M&S Bank Arena, would be held "on behalf of Ukraine".

Friday's announcement came after a hotly-contested bidding process, which saw 20 possible host cities cut to a final two.

Glasgow had been the bookies' favourite, but Liverpool can now expect thousands of visitors and a slice of the global spotlight in May. Around 160 million TV viewers around the world watched this year's show live.

The city's rich musical history already attracts hundreds of thousands of music tourists every year, and its past major events have included the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008.

The UK has hosted Eurovision eight times in the past, most recently in Birmingham in 1998. But 2023 will be the first time the contest has been in Liverpool.

A winning country normally hosts the following year's contest, but Essex singer Sam Ryder's second-placed finish this May led the UK to be asked to step in because of the war in Ukraine.

What has Liverpool got planned?

Ticket details for the show have not yet been released. In fact, there won't just be one show - there will be nine.

As well as the live final on the Saturday, fans will be able to watch a "jury show" on the Friday, which the international juries base their votes on, and a "family show" on Saturday afternoon, which is effectively a final rehearsal.

Then there will be two semi-finals on the Tuesday and Thursday - and jury and family shows for each.

There will also be a programme of cultural events running alongside Eurovision itself - including artist exchanges and co-production between Liverpool and its sister city Odesa.

Ukrainian fashion, street art, orchestral musicians and painted eggs are also among the plans - as are 20 life-sized cut-outs of bubbly Scouse pop star Sonia, who came second for the UK at Eurovision in 1993. People will be challenged to find all the Sonias hidden around the city.

Liverpool has also previously been represented at Eurovision by Jemini - but they sadly got nul points in 2003.

Where will the show be held?

The arena is on a former dock on the banks of the River Mersey - next to the vibrant Albert Dock, and near the historic "Three Graces" (the Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building), which dominate the waterfront.

In short, it will look great on TV.

The facilities probably helped its bid too - it's next to a convention centre and an exhibition centre, which will be handy for hosting things like the press centre and other facilities, and has a couple of hotels on site.

It's also a short walk to the city centre's other hotels and rail links, and eight miles from John Lennon Airport.

The arena is likely to have to postpone some concerts that are already in the schedule, though, because the venue will be needed for preparations for six to eight weeks ahead of the song contest.

Although there is no confirmation yet of which shows will be moved, events currently in the diary include Sir Elton John on 22 and 23 April and Andre Rieu on 12 May. Olly Murs has just announced a show there on 6 May - but that may now be rearranged too.

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