Could Eurovision be on the cards for one of our beloved Northern cities?
The North can and should be celebrated for lots of things. Two out of five of the Spice Girls, words like scran and angin, Vic Reeves, the Industrial Revolution, chips and gravy, David Beckham’s right foot, David Beckham’s left foot. However, one achievement that would truly be the Maraschino cherry on top of a Manchester tart would be hosting the one and only Eurovision Song Contest.
Which city do you think should host Eurovision 2023?
Fortunately, the shortlist of UK cities set to host the contest has been released and the three cities Confidentials represents: Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester are all in the running for a 2023 extravaganza.
Twenty different cities all expressed interest in hosting the event after the UK was declared Eurovision's next home due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Our three Northern gems, therefore, pipped spots like London and Belfast to the post with Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield making up the rest of the list (shoutout to Sheffield, woo!). As the contest sets out to find a city that has “the capacity, capability and experience to host an event of this scale and complexity”, we weigh up the pros of having a Northern Eurovision in any one of Confidentials' favourite cities.
Will Eurovision love Manchester as its host city to groove with in 2023?
We’re not biased or ‘owt, but with legendary music history and the biggest arena in the UK, it's easy to understand why Manchester is a serious contender for Eurovision 2023. We've got an even bigger arena coming soon too, but we don't think she'll be ready in time. With a capacity of 21 thousand Manchester’s AO Arena has already played host to massive events like the Big Night of Musicals, as well as some major sporting events and a constant stream of world tours and international performers. When it comes to accessibility and local amenities, the AO Arena is right by Victoria train station with plenty of hotels and restaurants nearby. Eurovision even moved its home for TV coverage to dock10 in Salford's MediaCity in 2022.
Manchester's music credentials need no introduction, with a disproportionate number of seminal bands. The Smiths, Joy Division and The Stone Roses and their ilk paved the way for modern indie darlings like Blossoms. Two rap artists from Manchester have represented the UK at Eurovision in the past: the 90s AF Love City Groove performed their eponymous banger in 1995. You may remember the hook “In the morning when the sun shines on your body I know we’re really making love now” - cringe! Daz Samson also had a go in 2006 with a backup troupe of cockney schoolgirls.
Eurovision is also keen to ensure that whoever hosts the contest strongly acknowledges and embraces Ukrainian heritage and culture as a nod to the competition's original host country. Manchester has the largest Ukrainian population outside of London, and thanks to organisations like The Royal Exchange, we have a thriving Ukrainian Cultural Centre right in the heart of Cheetham Hill that has promoted Ukrainian culture, education and tradition for over 60 years.
One Day Like This Manchester could host the world's campest singing contest.
Better the devil you know, could Eurovision be hosted by Liverpool?
Liverpool is a beautiful city architecturally, has a unique personality and is a hugely important place for music. UNESCO's only City of Music in England, you really don’t need us to tell you about the importance of The Beatles and Merseybeat but the city continues to churn out popular indie bands to this day with The Zutons being on notable example. It’s even in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the world capital of pop. Liverpudlian musicians have represented the UK at Eurovision too, from Jemini who came in for a bashing when their song Cry Baby got nul points in 2003 to Stock Aitken and Waterman darling Sonia who came second by a nail-biting 13 points in 1993 with her classic Better The Devil You Know.
The M&S Bank Arena would be the likely host with its 11 thousand capacity, easy transport links and history of successfully hosting other awards ceremonies like the MTV Europe Music Awards and the MOBO awards. Controversially, there’s also a strong argument that Liverpool’s John Lennon airport would be best able to serve the influx of visitors. Does Liverpool also win the friendliest city vote? You tell us.
Is Leeds a dark horse when it comes to Eurovision bids?
Leeds is perhaps best known for its goth music roots with bands like The Mission and Sisters of Mercy flying the crushed velvet flag for music in the city for decades but there have been plenty of modern indie bands from the city too, with the Kaiser Chiefs being the obvious one to mention. It also hosts the hugely popular Leeds Festival every year which Eurovision winners for 2021 Maneskin have unfortunately just pulled out of - hopefully not a bad omen. Leeds’ own Mike Moran repped the UK in 1977 along with Londoner Lynsey de Paul. Their song Rock Bottom was pipped to the top spot by France’s entry. The only other admittedly tenuous link we can find to Leeds is that Greek rapper Mihalis Exarhos AKA Stereo Mike who represented his home country in 2011 studied music tech at Leeds Met Uni.
Leeds is gearing up for its self-styled year of culture in 2023 having been thwarted by Brexit from gaining European Capital of Culture status so hosting Eurovision would be a great addition to the celebrations. It’s a brilliant city with a food and drink scene that punches well above its weight and it would be good to see the city’s many charms celebrated by being chosen. Leeds’ First Direct Arena has a capacity of over 13 thousand and has hosted the MOBOs, the ARIAS and The X Factor before so we know it can handle a big awards bash. The arena is only a 15-minute walk from Leeds Station too, which is a bonus when you’re staggering back caterwauling Bucks Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up.
Confidentials has a stake in three out of the seven shortlisted cities, so these are the ones we're rooting for. Which city do you think should host Eurovision 2023?
Main Image: Eurovision by David Jones via Wikicommons