Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, organizers of the musical competition announced on Friday, selecting the birthplace of the Beatles for one in every of Europe’s premier cultural events.
The M&S Bank Arena, an 11,000-capacity arena, will stage the competition on May 13, 2023, organizers said.
The announcement capped an unusual selection process, during which Ukraine, which earned the appropriate to host next yr’s event after winning this yr’s contest, was ruled out by Eurovision organizers, who said the war-torn country couldn’t provide the obligatory “security and operational guarantees.”
As a substitute, Britain, the runner-up in 2022, was named host. Liverpool was chosen from a shortlist of seven cities that also included Glasgow, the runner-up, together with Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Hosting Eurovision “means all the things” for Liverpool, the town’s director of culture, Claire McColgan, told the BBC on Friday.
“We’re doing it for Ukraine to begin with, for our sensible city and for the individuals who come here,” Ms. McColgan said. “It’s going to be incredible.”
Ukraine had offered three potential locations that it said were secure from the fighting: Lviv, in western Ukraine; the Zakarpattia region, which borders Hungary and Slovakia; and the capital, Kyiv.
However the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the competition, announced in July that Britain would host as an alternative. On the time, Martin Österdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor, pledged that Ukraine can be “celebrated and represented throughout the event,” with representatives from a Ukrainian broadcaster working with the BBC.
Tim Davie, the director general of the BBC, also said the network was “committed to creating the event a real reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the range of British music and creativity.”
Eurovision began in 1956, gathering musical artists from countries across Europe, in addition to some farther afield, including Australia and Israel.
Britain has hosted the event eight times, most recently in 1998 in Birmingham.
The choice will bring a significant international highlight 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 stays closely tied to the enormously influential rock band. The band is central to the town’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, the writer of “Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop.” There are “numerous great bands from Liverpool,” he said, “however the Beatles, obviously, kind of overshadow all the things.”
The town plans collaborations with Ukrainian street artists, designers and musicians to bring the country’s culture to the town, The Liverpool Echo reported this week. Claire McColgan, the director of Culture Liverpool, told the newspaper that “that is their party, it just happens to be in our house,” referring to the Ukrainians.
“If we’re chosen as host city there’s absolute confidence Eurovision will take over Liverpool in a way no single event has ever done before,” she said this week.