Each of the seven cities on the BBC’s host city short list have begun crafting their formal bids to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. As each city looks to make their case, some are choosing to keep details tightly under wraps, such as Leeds, who has simply promised, “Eurovision in Leeds for Ukraine will be outstanding” according to Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council member, while others are taking a more public approach.
Birmingham, which hosted the contest in 1998, has engaged a group of Ukrainian creatives to design the city’s bid logo through public workshops in partnership with Centrala Space, a multicultural community center for Central and Eastern European art and artists. The initial workshop was hosted at the Birmingham Council House with an emphasis on Ukrainian art, music, and culture. It appears as though Centrala Space’s creative involvement will be ongoing throughout the bid process with Birmingham City Council Leader Councillor Ian Ward stating: “Birmingham has long been home to a proud Ukrainian community and, thanks to our partners at Centrala Space, our bid to host Eurovision 2023 will reflect the city’s Ukrainian culture.”
Birmingham’s bid also received support on social media from Ukrainian band Antytila, who previously performed with Ed Sheeran in Birmingham and took to TikTok in a now viral video saying, “In Ukraine everyone knows Birmingham is a good city in the UK”.
Birmingham isn’t the only city looking to boast its Ukrainian connections. Sheffield has also publicly indicated their intent to lean into their connection to music, art, and Ukraine. In response to the BBC’s announcement, Councillor Martin Smith, Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee Chair for the Sheffield City Council stated, “It’s an exciting step closer in our collaboration on this, and we plan to work with our Ukrainian communities and partners, bringing cultures together in solidarity.” He also added, “We are putting ourselves forward to host Eurovision 2023 to do its people proud. Music runs through our blood and we put on a good show.”
Both Sheffield and Birmingham have twin cities in Ukraine (Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia respectively), and plan to lean on messages of solidarity, as well as their established community platforms for art, culture, and music.
Cities such as Manchester, Newcastle, and Glasgow have released relatively few details about their bids, though the details available suggest that they are leaning towards developing bids that showcase their technical capacities. Regardless of who is selected to host, the EBU has made it clear that representatives from UA: PBC, the Ukrainian broadcaster, will work with the BBC to develop and implement the Ukrainian elements of next year’s shows.
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