Liverpool to hold ‘Eurovision’ cultural festival

Culture Liverpool unveils plans for major cultural festival to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2023. Tony McDonough reports

Culture Liverpool is organising a cultural festival for Eurovision in May 2023


A call has gone out to artists and creatives from across Europe to take part in a major cultural festival in Liverpool to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest.

In early October it was revealed Liverpool would be the host city for Eurovision on May 13, 2023, beating Glasgow in a final run-off. The event was originally due to be held in Ukraine but this had to be shelved due to the Russian invasion.

Culture Liverpool, part of the city council, masterminded the successful bid. Now it is issuing a call out to artists, creatives, makers, musicians and performers to help create a cultural festival in Liverpool in the days leading up to Eurovision.

This festival will include a series of commissions, events and installations which will celebrate UK music, Eurovision and most importantly, act as a platform for showcasing modern Ukraine. Culture Liverpool wants all the competing Eurovision countries to take part.

Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan, said: “These commissions will fulfil our promise to Ukraine and also enable artists to engage in Eurovision in a completely new way.

“We always wanted to do more than what you see on screen and this free festival will give thousands of people the opportunity to engage with brilliance from artists around the world.”

The commissioning call out is in three categories:

UK and Ukraine

These commissions will bring together Ukrainian and UK-based artists and producers to collaborate on creating new projects which capture the ambition and energy of modern Ukraine.

Each commission must bring together a Ukrainian artist, creative or collective with a UK counterpart. Applications from Ukrainian nationals living in Ukraine or outside of the UK are welcome.

Music United

These commissions will celebrate the power of music to bring communities together. They will encapsulate the “joy and congregation” which music can bring across boundaries, ages and backgrounds.

Eurovision in Liverpool

These commissions will be a celebration of the “joy, diversity of spirit, plurality of opinion and sheer fabulousness” of Eurovision. They may draw on the history of the competition, or look to its future, or simply revel in what it stands for.

Anyone interested must in applying to one of the categories must: 

  • Have a history of creating high quality work of scale, ambition and accessibility.
  • Be willing to work in collaboration with other artists and producers.
  • Deliver breathtaking work in a short timeframe.

Applications are welcome from creatives who live in the nations competing in Eurovision 2023 and in particular from artists from Ukraine and from the Liverpool city region.

Deadline for expressions of interest is midday Monday, December 12. Those successful in this first stage will be given an initial £2,000 funding to formally develop their proposal.

The Cultural Festival has been made possible through support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and will include partners the Ukrainian Institute and British Council in the commissioning process.

For full details and information on how to apply, visit the Culture Liverpool website.


Kalush Orchestra
Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023. Picture from Eurovision


Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:  “It’s been a whirlwind six weeks since we found out that Liverpool has the honour of hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine. The cultural festival was one of the highlights of our bid.

“Liverpool’s track record of curating innovative, high-quality artistic events combined with our ambition and determination to pay tribute to our Ukrainian friends stood out to the judges.

“It demonstrated a real understanding of the importance of collaboration and what unforgettable moments can be created when we work together.”

Volodymyr Sheiko, director general of the Ukrainian Institute, also said: “The cultural festival to take place alongside Eurovision in Liverpool is a major opportunity to showcase Ukrainian culture to UK and global audiences.

“I hope the commissions will reflect the resilience, creativity, hope, and diversity of today’s Ukraine and the powerful voices of its artists and creatives.”

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