Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, the music competition’s organizers announced on Friday, choosing The Beatles’ birthplace for one of Europe’s top cultural events.
Organizers say the M&S Bank Arena, an 11,000-capacity arena, will host the competition on May 13, 2023.
The announcement capped an unusual selection process in which Ukraine, the country that won the right to host next year’s event after winning this year’s competition, has been excluded by Eurovision organizers, who said the war-torn country was unable to provide the necessary “security and operational guarantees”.
Instead, England, the runner-up in 2022, was named the host country. Liverpool were selected from a shortlist of seven cities that also included Glasgow, runners-up, along with Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Eurovision “means everything” to Liverpool, the city’s cultural director, Claire McColgan, told BBC on Friday.
“We are doing it first and foremost for Ukraine, for our brilliant city and for the people who come here,” Ms. McColgan said. “It would be unbelievable.”
Ukraine has presented three potential sites that it considers safe from the fighting: Lviv, in western Ukraine; Zakarpattia region, bordering Hungary and Slovakia; and the capital city 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 organized and represented throughout the event,” with representatives from a Ukrainian broadcaster working with the BBC.
Tim Davie, the BBC’s general manager, also said the network was “committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture in addition to showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. “
Eurovision began in 1956, bringing together musical artists from countries across Europe, as well as a number of countries further afield, including Australia and Israel.
He has hosted the event eight times, most recently in 1998 in Birmingham.
This choice will bring great international attention to Liverpool. More than 160 million people watched in May as Kalush Orchestra, a Ukrainian rap, crowned the winner in Turin, Italy.
Sixty-two years after The Beatles formed, Liverpool is still closely associated with the hugely influential rock band. The band is the tourist hub of the city, with Beatles-themed museums, tours, and a statue along the waterfront.
Karl Whitney, author of “Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop,” said: “Although Liverpool have produced fewer international stars lately, the local music scene remains on a small scale and ” healthy “. “There are a lot of great bands from Liverpool, but the Beatles clearly overshadowed everything,” he said.
The city plans to work with Ukrainian street artists, designers and musicians to bring the country’s culture to the city, Liverpool Echo Report this week. Claire McColgan, Liverpool’s culture director, told the paper that “this is their party, it just happens in our house,” referring to the Ukrainian.
“If we are chosen as the host city, there is no doubt that Eurovision will take over Liverpool in a way that no other event has ever done before,” she said this week.