Liverpool has announced its cultural and musical festival to celebrate hosting this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of war torn Ukraine.
A series of events EuroFest, are set to run from Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 14 and will see a tie-up between both UK and Ukrainian artistes – that will transform the city into a colourful spectacle for fans and visitors arriving from across the world.
The majority of the work being produced has been inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan ‘United by Music’, none more so than The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by Art Collective Kazimier – a huge outdoor underwater sea disco, which will make its way through the city to kickstart the Eurovision Party.
Although full details of all of the commissions will not be announced until late March, organisers have revealed headline plans for four of the projects, along with the names of all of the organisations taking part.
Working with UK and Ukrainian designers, musicians and community groups, expect hundreds of performers, incredible music and a huge glitterball jellyfish.
This is a mass participation event and more details on how to get involved are set to be announced in the coming weeks.
The English National Opera does Eurovision is being created by the English National Opera and will be a unique show bringing together two very different musical worlds into one epic outdoor performance with live chorus and orchestra. Joyful, moving and loud, this project promises to perfectly capture the spirit of Eurovision.
On a more poignant note, Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland. Filmed in real time, the piece offers an extraordinary window into the landscape of Ukraine as it is today and also serves as a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.
Rave Ukraine is a collaboration between producer Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture to deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv which will be streamed across the world. This commission is a celebration of the uniting power of music and the resilience of Ukrainians throughout the last year to keep making music, dancing and celebrating culture.
The list of collaborators taking part in EuroFest are set to include:
Amigo& Amigo, Svitlana Reinish, Anton Dehtiarov, M3 Industries, Black_Box
Artists on the Frontline and Parade-Fest
BBC Storyville Live
BlackGold Arts, First Take, Homotopia, Hackney Showroom and Ruby Lemon
Bluecoat and The Jam Factory, Lviv
English National Opera
Go Fly Your Kite and the Junior Academy of Science Kyiv
Invisible Wind Factory
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
The Reading Agency and BBC Arts
Slukh.Media ,Sonia Chapman and Perfectionist.London
Unity Theatre and Yurii Radionov
Whispered Tales and Denys Kashchei
The chosen commissions were selected through a process which included the BBC, British Council, Ukrainian Institute and Culture Liverpool. An initial call-out in December attracted almost 700 responses of which 50 were shortlisted and supported in the development of their idea. The names announced today are the artists who have been selected for EuroFest from that shortlist.
More details around the schools and community programme, plans for the EuroVillage and other Eurovision specific events will be made public in the coming weeks.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: ”For Liverpool, Eurovision is much more than the Grand Final on 13 May. This amazing collection of artistes will ensure that everyone who wants to be part of the Eurovision journey can do so for a whole fortnight leading up to the big day.
“The planned projects are joyful, hopeful, ambitious and moving - as you would expect from the unique circumstances in which we are hosting this event. Once again, Liverpool is using its incredible creative credentials to tell a story, and in doing so, engage a wide audience in a narrative that impacts us all.
“I am particularly proud that we are able to provide a platform for so many brilliant Ukrainian artists and musicians and that our local cultural sector has welcomed them with such warmth and spirit.”
Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko said; “The EuroFest cultural festival is an excellent opportunity to showcase Ukrainian culture and creativity to the world. I am thrilled to see so many talented Ukrainian artists collaborating with their British counterparts to create unique and inspiring projects celebrating our shared love of music and culture.
“As we continue to build up closer ties between Ukraine and the UK, events like EuroFest will help to deepen our cultural connections and foster greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s traditions and heritage.”
Header Image: Liverpool's Waterfront (Ant Clausen/Marketing Liverpool)