Manchester Eurovision

There is growing excitement and anticipation among music fans and businesses that Manchester could be about to host next year’s 67th Eurovision Song Contest.
May 31, 2022

Since the event was won by the Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra earlier this month in Turin, the European Broadcasting Union(EBU), which organises the event, has been scratching its collective head to try to determine how the war-ravaged country could safely host tens of thousands of fans from upwards of 40 countries within its borders.

Increasingly, it looks like the event will have to be held elsewhere, which is likely to mean that the BBC as runner’s up with Sam Ryder and his song Space Man, will be offered the first opportunity to host the contest in the UK.

This would not be the first time a winning country has forfeited the honour of hosting the event: The tiny principality of Monaco won in 1971 and handed hosting to the UK for the following year.

That event held at Edinburgh's Usher Hall in 1972, witnessed the then UK entrant The New Seekers with their song ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ compete and take the runner's-up spot.

Now half a century later, the group's lead singer, Wythenshawe born Lyn Paul, says that the possibility of hosting the event in Manchester is an incredible idea. She told Mag North: “At the same time, I think it’s terribly sad that next year’s Eurovision probably won’t be staged in Ukraine and my thoughts and prayers are with the people.

“However, Mancunians are accepting, friendly and very understanding of the horrors in Ukraine and would welcome all competitors with open arms.  I can’t think of a finer city than Manchester to take up the mantle.

“I would highly recommend Manchester, and as a true ‘Manc’ and past competitor, the pride would be immense.

Vaughan Staples proudly supporting UK at this year's Eurovision

She adds: “The amount of musical talent that has emerged from Manchester is phenomenal and as far as I’m concerned it is the musical capital of the country.” While the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council, are for the moment remaining tight lipped on any bid to stage next year’s contest,  one business organisation has welcomed the boost it could provide to the city and region, post Covid pandemic.

Robert Downes, spokesman for the Greater Manchester branch of Federation of Small Businesses said: “Love it or loathe it, the notion of the Eurovision party coming to Manchester would be a big deal and put international eyes and focus on what our great city region has to offer as a destination.

“After two miserable years of lock-down yo-yoing and the chilling effect the pandemic has had on businesses, this would be something to look forward to and get behind. Manchester has a rich history of music making, so it would be fantastic to get the Eurovision circus here, if this year’s winner’s Ukraine can’t host.

Ecstatic Eurovision fans

“Eurovision gets bigger every year and has a history of bringing with it a significant amount of money and spend in host cities, both before, during and after the event, and it would be a useful springboard for a wider ‘visit GM’ marketing push that we could really do with.

”He adds: “Hoteliers and other businesses in the food and beverage sector will be 100 per cent behind this after the past few years of difficult trading, but there’ll be wider, long terms benefits for the local economy if done right. Let’s make this happen!

”Vaughan Staples, president of the UK Eurovision fan club, which is the largest of all European countries, also welcomed the likely move to the UK, although he said other cities were still in the frame including Manchester.

He explains “If it comes to the UK. I think the contenders are currently Glasgow and Cardiff, but definitely with Manchester the frontrunner, mainly because Salford's Media City recently became home to the BBC Eurovision production team, which has all of the technical equipment and abilities needed for a host city.

“The city has the also the hotel capacity and an international airport to cope with the influx of visitors and delegations and the city's inclusive outlook, diversity and huge LGBT community, a huge support base for the contest makes it an ideal fit for Eurovision.

UK and Finnish fans embodying the Eurovision philosophy

“As a local and having Manchester as my previously adopted home, I would love it to come there and I have no doubt, this city would embrace it like no other.” When we contacted the EBU, a spokesman referred us to a statement put out by its Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl, who said they were working with Ukraine to find a solution as to where the competition would be staged next year. He added: “Obviously, there are unique challenges involved in hosting next year’s competition.  “However, as in any other year, we look forward to discussing all the requirements and responsibilities involved in hosting the competition with the Ukraine broadcaster and all other stakeholders to ensure we have the most suitable set-up for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.” Österdahl went on to confirm that rumours of a 'Gentleman's Agreement' with local government officials in Selby, North Yorkshire that they would host the event, were quote: "Wholly untrue".