Hometown of The Beatles, Elvis Costello, and Echo & the Bunnymen, Liverpool has been chosen to host the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in the U.K. in 25 years.
Beating out the city of Glasgow, Scotland, the 67th Eurovision Song Contest will take place May 13, 2023, in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine, the winner of the 2022 competition, which was unable to host the forthcoming event due to the ongoing war.
“Liverpool is the ideal place to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine,” said Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of Eurovision Song Contest, in a statement. “The city is synonymous with music and Liverpool Arena exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale. We have been very impressed with the passion the city has shown in embracing the Contest and their inclusive ideas for placing last year’s winners, Ukraine, front and center when thousands of fans visit next May. ”
To commemorate Ukraine and the new host city, the official logo for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest contains the Ukrainian flag within the heart.
First aired in 1956, The Eurovision Song Contest was started as an attempt by the European Broadcasting Union to bring Europeans together following World War II.
The competition features artists representing various countries, who perform one original song on the live televised broadcast. The winner is then determined by judges and votes received by each country. Past Eurovision stars include ABBA, who performed their hit “Waterloo,” which became the band’s first No. 1 single in 1974, and Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland, not her native Canada, in 1988.
In 2022, the Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won Eurovision with their original song “Stefania,” which was initially written by singer Oleh Psiuk for his mother prior to the war but took on more meaning since the invasion by Russia on Feb. 24, 2022. The six-person band consists of men of fighting age, who had to get temporary permits to leave Ukraine for the 2022 competition in Turin, Italy. Band member Vlad Kurochka, known as MC KylymMen (“CarpetMan”), remained in Ukraine, where he has been helping defend the capital of Kyiv, while the other members planned to return home to their country following the competition.
“This victory is for every Ukrainian,” said Psiuk following the group’s win. “Many people began to perceive it like Ukraine is my mother, and this way the song has been very close to Ukrainian people.”
Of the upcoming competition in Liverpool Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of Ukrainian broadcaster UA said that it’s “symbolic” that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool, which he called the twin city of Odesa, Ukraine.
“The organization of a contest of this level sets super demanding requirements,” said Chernotytskyi. “I am confident that the city recognized as the capital of pop music will meet them in the best way and will deliver the celebration of music that will amaze both delegations and fans of Eurovision.”
Photo: Courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest / European Broadcasting Union