Eurovision 2023: EuroFest festival to take over Liverpool with raves and parades

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The two-week cultural festival will include an underwater sea disco and a Rave Ukraine show.

A two-week cultural festival will take over Liverpool in the run up to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

From Monday 1 to Sunday May 14, the city will play host to EuroFest, featuring 24 commissions – 19 of which are collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists – and will transform the city as fans from across the world descend on Liverpool. Organisers have now revealed headline plans ahead of the full details being announced later this month.

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Among the attractions will be a huge outdoor underwater sea disco which will make its way through the city to kick off the Eurovision party. The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier will work with UK and Ukrainian designers, musicians and community groups to bring together hundreds of performers, music and a glitterball jellyfish.

The English National Opera is also getting in on the act with English National Opera does Eurovision, bringing together two very different musical worlds as part of an outdoor performance complete with live chorus and orchestra. The city’s iconic cathedral is to be transformed into a train carriage to replicate the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland as part of Izyum to Liverpool.

Filmed in real time, this piece will offer an insight into the landscape of Ukraine as it is today and a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people. Katya Buchatska, who has created the commission, said: “For many the train is the only means to escape war. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country.

Izyum to Liverpool is about the fragility of our environment, our lives and of the landscape surrounding us. It is about the loss of certainties, of home, without knowing if you will ever be able to return.

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“It is a one-way journey. It provokes a shift in the state of mind. Even if you are farther away from the front line, and in a safer environment, this feeling of loss and uncertainty stays with you.”

The final headliner will deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv that will be streamed around the world. Rave Ukraine is a collaboration between producer Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture.

The host city of Liverpool was given the ‘keys to Eurovision’ during a special ceremony on 31 January. (Credit: PA)The host city of Liverpool was given the ‘keys to Eurovision’ during a special ceremony on 31 January. (Credit: PA)
The host city of Liverpool was given the ‘keys to Eurovision’ during a special ceremony on 31 January. (Credit: PA)

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. EuroFest has been made possible through support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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Further details about the fan park on the Pier Head and further events throughout the month of May will be released in due course.

The list of collaborators taking part in EuroFest which can be revealed 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 Yurii Radionov
  • Whispered Tales and Denys Kashchei

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “For Liverpool, Eurovision is much more than the Grand Final on 13 May. This amazing collection of artists 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.

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 Across more than 450 square metres of staging, the stunning Eurovision stage in Liverpool will bring together another 220 square metres of independently moving and turning video screens, as well as over 700 video tiles integrated into the floor and more than 1500 metres of LED lights. Pic: BBC. Across more than 450 square metres of staging, the stunning Eurovision stage in Liverpool will bring together another 220 square metres of independently moving and turning video screens, as well as over 700 video tiles integrated into the floor and more than 1500 metres of LED lights. Pic: BBC.
Across more than 450 square metres of staging, the stunning Eurovision stage in Liverpool will bring together another 220 square metres of independently moving and turning video screens, as well as over 700 video tiles integrated into the floor and more than 1500 metres of LED lights. Pic: BBC.

“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.” Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, added: “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.”

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