Eurovision fans and journalists converged on Liverpool’s British Music Experience earlier this week, eagerly awaiting the line-up for Eurovision’s first cultural festival, EuroFestival.
The two-week event was teased, with little information, a couple months ago and it seemed ambitious even then, full of northern swagger. However, nothing could have prepared me, Northern Soul‘s Eurovision Correspondent, for the scale of the festival’s ambitions.
Twenty-four art projects have been commissioned, 19 of which are collaborations between British and Ukrainian creatives. With everything from live music and art installations to opera and cabarets, that’s not even a drop in the ocean of what is lined up. For instance, Liverpool venue Camp and Furnace is the official EuroClub, hosting club nights and special events for nine days in the run-up to Eurovision’s Grand Final on May 13, 2023.
EuroFestival’s reveal event was just over two hours, with each commissioned project leader given just two minutes to announce their plans. If that timing doesn’t give you an idea of the scale of this, I don’t know what else will. Well, other than me banging on about it. So here are a few of the mega events set to take place. If I listed them all, you’d be here for an age. You can check out the Visit Liverpool site for a full rundown, but keep your eyes on Northern Soul for the crucial events and the best of the best.
English National Opera was up first to detail its event: English National Opera does Eurovision. Past Eurovision acts will team up with professional opera singers to perform new collaborative renditions of Eurovision classics. We were treated to a sneak peek of this in the form of Australia’s 2019 entry, Zero Gravity. For someone who has never seen opera live but is a Eurovision mega fan, I was utterly transfixed.
Also, a parade will tour through the streets of Liverpool on May 5: The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade. The name is a nod to The Beatles but also pays homage to last year’s winners of Eurovision, Ukraine. The event will see Scouse, British and Ukrainian artists take to the streets, alongside drummers, skaters, dancers and more, culminating in one huge gig with musicians from the host country and winning country taking to the stage.
Then there is Rave Ukraine, billed as a party like no other. The event will link party-goers in Ukraine and Liverpool via a live stream, allowing Ukrainians and Eurovision fans in the UK to dance together. Taking place on May 7, 2023 at CONTENT in Liverpool, this event will raise money for Music Saves UA, even more reason to put your rave shoes on and buy a ticket.
As a Eurovision fan and a lover of arts and culture, it cannot be overestimated how excited I feel about May 2023. Not only is Eurovision bringing people together through a mutual love of glitter and cheesy music, as it does every year, Liverpool’s EuroFest is going one step further at a time when we need it most. Eurovision unites people from all over the world. Perhaps this year, it will secure that unity in a way that has never been achieved before.
Main image by Beth Smith
For more information about Eurovision 2023, click here.