Liverpool will be covered in “sequins and glitter” to deliver a Eurovision Song Contest with a message of peace, organisers have said.
The Merseyside city was chosen to host the 2023 contest on behalf of this year’s winners Ukraine and now has until May 13 to prepare for the grand final, which will be held at the 11,000-capacity M&S Bank Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront.
Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, said she was “shattered but delighted” on Saturday after the city was announced as the host on BBC’s The One Show on Friday night.
Asked what people could expect to see in the city when the contest is held, she said: “Glitter! There’ll be sparkles.
“It will be covered in sequins and glitter.”
She said as well as the shows in the arena, the contest would see a programme of events for communities across the city linked to Ukraine, which is unable to host because of the Russian invasion.
Ms McColgan said: “You’ve got to use these big, mega events to actually talk about things and talk about things that make a difference.
“For us, we will absolutely be doing a whole programme of work across the city region around peace, around what it means to be part of a bigger picture, what it means to have music as your common language.
“I think that’s going to be very different for a Eurovision and that’s the Liverpool thing that we will put onto it.”
Former Eurovision entrant Sonia will also be honoured, with plans for a ‘Spot Sonia’ trail of cut-out figures for fans to find across the city.
Ms McColgan added: “Let’s be honest, it’s Liverpool, every bar, every restaurant, ever corner of the city will be celebrating Ukraine and celebrating Eurovision. It’s not a city that does things quietly, is it?
“Eurovision is the biggest song contest in the whole world, it’s about music and it’s about different cultures and musical expression and it’s about joy and it’s about happiness and it’s about celebration.
“The world at this moment in time with everything horrendous that’s going on in this world, to bring that moment of togetherness in this city with our Ukrainian partners, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than here.
At the arena other events will be moved to different dates or use alternative layouts to accommodate the preparations for the contest, managing director of the ACC Liverpool Group Faye Dyer said.
She said: “The team are just elated this morning. There’s been tears, there’s been hugs, just so much excitement.
“We just can’t wait now to get on it and deliver the best Eurovision ever.”
She said she thought the city had won the bid to host it, coming ahead of Glasgow, because of its people, not just the facilities it has.
She said: “We’re so welcoming, we’re so inclusive, the atmosphere is electric and our values as a city and as an organisation really mirror and match what Eurovision is about and I’d like think that’s what clinched it for us.