Eurovision 2023 festival: when is two-week event in Liverpool ahead of song contest, what is going on?

Liverpool is hosting a huge Eurovision festival part on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. (Getty Images)Liverpool is hosting a huge Eurovision festival part on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. (Getty Images)
Liverpool is hosting a huge Eurovision festival part on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. (Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Liverpool is hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion

A Eurovision festival is to take place in Liverpool ahead of the UK hosting the song contest for the first time since 1998.

The festival features a submarine parade through the streets of Liverpool inspired by The Beatles and a rave which is held simultaneously in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv. Ukraine were the winners of last year’s Eurovision song contest, but they were unable to host the competition this year as it was deemed too dangerous due after the Russian invasion.

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The UK were runners-up with Sam Ryder’s performance last year and they are hosting the contest on behalf of Ukraine. The upcoming Eurovision festival is likely to draw in thousands of visitors from around the world in a huge celebration of music.

But when is the Eurovision festival and what can fans expect from the event? Here’s all you need to know.

When is the Eurovision festival?

The cultural festival for Eurovision 2023 has been titled EuroFest and it runs alongside the main event from Monday 1 May to Sunday 14 May.

What to expect from Eurovision festival

Liverpool’s director of culture, Claire McCoglan described EuroFestival as a “scouse/Ukrainian mashup of brilliance.”

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She added: “No other Eurovision host city has ever curated a creative programme of such scale and scope. This is the spirit of Eurovision spilling onto our streets. Free for all. Accessible to all. Uniting us all.”

Blue and Yellow submarine parade

Eurovision festival parade is inspired by Liverpool music icons The Beatles. (Getty Images)Eurovision festival parade is inspired by Liverpool music icons The Beatles. (Getty Images)
Eurovision festival parade is inspired by Liverpool music icons The Beatles. (Getty Images) | Getty Images

Liverpool’s EuroFest includes the Blue and Yellow submarine parade, featuring imitation submarines - it is inspired by both the Ukrainian flag and the song and film by Liverpool’s most famous band, The Beatles.

It has been described by organisers as “a huge outdoor underwater sea disco which will make its way through the city to kickstart the Eurovision party.”

Liverpool’s director of culture, Claire McCoglan claimed the parade will “ignite Eurovision.”

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She said: “They will create a huge parade which will have everything from glitterball jellyfish through to the yellow and blue submarine that will potentially float above you at some point, and there will be kazoo-playing seahorses.”

Soloveiko Songbirds

One of the most ambitious EuroFestival projects will be Soloveiko Songbirds which is a trail of 12 large-scale, light up nightingales dotted around different points of the city. Each bird features a unique audio soundscape representing different areas of Ukraine.

Protect the Beats

Protect the Beats is held at Nelson Monument in Exchange Flags and it will consist of thousands of soundbags to replicate how statues in Ukraine are currently being protected by bombardment.. The structure also features a short documentary which portrays how music and performance has continued to thrive in the country despite the ongoing war.

Land & Sky, Hope and Dreams

This is a mass participation event featuring 450 children from Ukraine and 450 from across Merseyside. It features a wide selection of kites, designed by the children which are flown in New Brighton and four locations in Ukraine.

Welcome To Eurotopia

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Welcome To Europtopia are a supergroup of Liverpool musicians who are collaborating with Ukrainian artists to perform both original and existing music. The group features the likes of Liverpool’s Natalie McCool and Stealing Sheep, alongside Ukrainian artists Krapka Koma and Iryna Muha.

Rave Ukraine

Rave Ukraine is set to be held at both Liverpool and Kyiv simultaneously in a celebration which unites “the power of music and the resilience of the Ukranians in the last year, to keep making music, dancing and celebrating culture.”

Izyum to Liverpool

Ukrainian artist Buchatska presents viewers with a film that has been shot on the train journey from Izyum in eastern Ukraine. The area has suffered greatly since the Russian invasion and large areas of it have been left in ruins.

Buchatska explained that the video shows the drastic changes that have taken place in the last year. She explained: “It is about the loss of certainties, of home, without knowing if you will ever be able to return. It is a one-way journey. It provokes a shift in the state of mind.”

Other events

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Music fans can also expect to see a show called Buck Fizz Bonanza which features an appearance from the UK’s last winners Katrina and the Waves. There will also be an exhibition of work by 22 Ukrainian photographers.

Eurovision festival 2023 lineup

There are a total of 24 projects in EuroFest, 19 of those are collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists, according to the Liverpool City Council.

The full list of collaborators which have been revealed so far are:

  • Amigo & Amigo, Svitlana Reinish, Anton Dehtiarov, M3 Industries, Black_Box
  • Artists on the Frontline and Parade Fest
  • BBC Storyville Live
  • Black Gold Arts, First Take Homotopia, Hackney Showroom and RubyLemon
  • Bluecoat and The Jam Factory Lviv
  • English National Opera
  • Go Fly Your Kite and the Junior Academy of Science Kyiv
  • Invisible Wind Factory
  • Jamala
  • Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture
  • Liverpool Cathedral and Katya Buchatska
  • Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Sheep Soup
  • Port and Katya Taylor
  • Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep Krapka;KOMA and Helleroid
  • National Museums Liverpool
  • Northern Town and Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates
  • Open Eye Gallery
  • The Reading Agency and BBC Arts
  • Slukh.Media, Sonia Chapman and Perfectionist.London
  • Tate Liverpool
  • Unity Theatre and Yuri Radinov
  • Whispered Tales and Denys Kaschei
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