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How Liverpool Put On The Ultimate Eurovision Party Written by on May 14, 2023

When it was announced that Eurovision was coming to the UK, all the smart money went on to Glasgow to host. It seemed like a done deal… but nobody told Liverpool. Adrian Bradley looks at the city that became the Contest.

When it came to bidding – Liverpool knew they had the facilities but they also knew they had something special – they had a story to tell – they’d put on the best party ever, and they’d make sure it was for Ukraine.

Now Eurovision is here and the city hasn’t let us down. This is my seventh Eurovision – and I can’t remember a city embracing the Contest quite like Liverpool has. Every shop has the blue yellow and pink Eurovision colours – and European flags decking every inch of wall space. You hear Eurovision tracks blasting out of pubs amid thousands of locals bedecked in sequins out for a party.  Everyone wants to be involved in some way- whether it’s filling out the huge Eurovision village on Pier head – or grabbing one of the gold dust like tickets to the live shows.

Bridal Shop Liverpool (credit: Adrian Bradley)

Bridal Shop Liverpool (credit: Adrian Bradley)

During the London Olympics in 2012, there was a special atmosphere in the end, a proud and positive sense of national identity and I’m getting that same feeling being back in Liverpool. Liverpool is proud of its music heritage, and rather than taking a snobby approach to Eurovision they’ve been only delighted to include this glitzy extravaganza rather than complain it’s beneath them. We’ve had Eurovision acts perform at the famous Cavern club – clearly excited and delighted to get the chance to walk out on stage at such an iconic venue – following in the footsteps of the Beatles and Adele.

Eurovision Executive Supervisor, Martin Osterdahl, ever the diplomat, told the local media that he wished the circus could come back here every year. Liverpool has really set the standard for what a host city can do.

From the two week cultural festival alongside the contest – including Ukrainian artists and the ENO doing perhaps their campest performance ever – to the friendly army of volunteers ready to greet all the visitors with a smile, this is how you want to feel when you come to Eurovision.

And seeing Ukrainians all over the city and in the arena, feeling welcome as the friends and guests they are.

Liverpool welcomes Ukraine (Credit Adrian Bradley)

Liverpool welcomes Ukraine (Credit Adrian Bradley)

The crowds filling the Eurovision village, the stalls selling Liverpool/Ukraine scarfs in the city centre, the board game café selling Eurovision cupcakes – no one here wants the party to end. And with the weekend just beginning, it’s possible the real celebrations are yet to come – just don’t think about the hangover…

About The Author: Adrian Bradley

Adrian Bradley is a journalist and podcast producer from London. His day job is in current affairs so enjoys the annual chance to find some sequins and follow the Eurovision party around the world.

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