Liverpool people 'friendly' and 'welcoming' as city becomes 'national leader' in hosting large-scale events

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A new report into Liverpool's hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest praises the 'friendliness' of local people.

The people of Liverpool have been praised for their 'friendliness' in a major report into the city's hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Commissioned by the British Council, in partnership with Liverpool City Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the report uses extensive research, case studies and an international survey to explore the impact of Eurovision, not only Liverpool's visitor numbers, but also on the reputation of Liverpool, the UK and cultural relations.

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The UK hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in May last year, on behalf of 2022's winners, Ukraine. Liverpool was chosen as the host city and, as well as hosting live shows at the M&S Bank Area, created a Eurovision Festival and EuroVillage that 'went above and beyond' what is required by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

In considering Liverpool’s approach to hosting the competition on behalf of Ukraine, the report says Liverpool’s vision 'redefined the event’s politics of place in ways that can inspire future hosts' and created a blueprint for future hosts to consider.

According to the report, 'many interviewees commented that a key attribute of this year’s event was Liverpool’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere' with those interviewed by the UK and EBU commenting on the city's 'incredible atmosphere and welcome in general'.

One interviewee told the EBU: "Everybody felt welcomed. In shops, businesses, they embraced the contest. The friendliness of everyone in the city was remarked on by everyone who visited."

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Liverpool’s EuroVillage. Liverpool’s EuroVillage.
Liverpool’s EuroVillage. | emma dukes

With another adding: "Liverpool produced an amazing atmosphere and celebration. The friendliness of everyone locally who worked on the event and those in the city itself was remarked on by all who attended.’

The report praises the collaboration between Liverpool and Ukrainian communities, and the reiteration that Liverpool was hosting the contest 'on behalf' of Ukraine.

Ukrainian interviewees noted details which had made them feel 'specifically welcomed', such as the flying of the Ukrainian flag over St George’s Hall during the city handover ceremony.

According to the report, Liverpool sought more input from the Eurovision Song Contest fan network OGAE UK than any other bidder, helping to create a fantastic atmosphere.

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Local communities in Liverpool are also cited as a 'cultural asset' with the report noting that 'people-centred thinking in Liverpool’s approach was decisive in creating the event’s acclaimed atmosphere'.

Noting that Liverpool is continuing to 'build its reputation as a national leader in hosting large-scale events' the report recommends that the Liverpool City Region 'will need to ensure it still supports the grassroots counter-cultural creative sector' with some parts of the region (such as Wirral) having stronger reach than other boroughs.

A Eurovision super-fan arrives at Lime Street Station as host city Liverpool prepares to throw a memorable party. Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty ImagesA Eurovision super-fan arrives at Lime Street Station as host city Liverpool prepares to throw a memorable party. Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
A Eurovision super-fan arrives at Lime Street Station as host city Liverpool prepares to throw a memorable party. Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

Discussing the report, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said Eurovision 2023 was 'an incredible display of unity and creativity that showcased the very best of our area’s values' adding 'we showed them all the real Liverpool'.

He continued: “While I think the key to our success was in the warmth and creativity of our people - I’m looking forward to leading the delegation to Sweden next week to officially handover the contest to Malmö.

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"Our time in the spotlight might be coming to a close, however, I am more confident than ever that the legacy we have built will live long in people’s hearts and minds. Eurovision didn’t just change Liverpool, Liverpool changed Eurovision - and that’s exactly what this report shows.”

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