The seven cities that are in the running to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year have just been announced – and two of the prospective cities are in Yorkshire!
Sheffield and Leeds join Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham as candidates to host the 2023 event.
Eurovision in Yorkshire?
It will not be the first time the contest has been held in Yorkshire. Harrogate hosted the 1982 contest following the win the previous year with Bucks Fizz and their winning song, Making Your Mind Up.
The BBC had expressions of interest from 20 cities, across all four nations of the UK. All applicants demonstrated how they would reflect Ukrainian culture, music and communities to mark the fact that Ukraine are the winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The final decision on the winning host city will be determined by which city or region scores highest against an agreed evaluation criteria, assessed by the BBC.
How will the host city be decided?
The criteria for deciding the host city include:
- Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the song contest – around 10,000 spectators must be catered for.
- Having the necessary infrastructure – as a city and region – to hosting the event, including an international airport nearby, a good city-wide transport network, hotel capacity for around 2,000 guests, and additional venues for things like the Eurovision village, press centre and opening ceremony event.
- The strength of the cultural offer, such as off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music.
- Alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster – providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.
Kate Phillips, BBC’s director unscripted content says:
“We would like to thank all of the cities and regions that submitted bids to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We have seven fantastic cities who we are taking through to the next round.
“Congratulations to Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield – it’s exciting to see such a breadth of bids going through from across the UK. We are committed to delivering a truly unique song contest that celebrates wonderful Ukraine and champions British music and creativity in all its diversity.”
Sheffield’s bid to be host city
The Sheffield bid has been put together by Sheffield Council, together with Sheffield City Trust, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, and Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham councils. The proposed venue would be Utilita Sheffield Arena. Councillor Julie Grocutt, deputy chair of the strategy and resources committee, said:
“Sheffield would be a fantastic host city and it would be exciting to work with our partners across the region on a huge celebration of Ukrainian and South Yorkshire culture and music. It would undoubtedly benefit the whole region and our Ukraine communities. We would be proud to bring the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 to the region in solidarity with Ukraine.”
In response to the announcement, South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard said:
“Crack open the bucks fizz, Eurovision are making their minds up – and the only correct choice is Sheffield and South Yorkshire! I’ve previously said that Sheffield seemed the obvious choice to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, you’d have to be a spaceman not to.
“But I will say it again – we have the venues, the heritage, the track record and the passion that Eurovision deserves in such an important year for the contest, that would be held in solidarity with our friends and partners in Ukraine.”
Leeds’ bid to be host city
Leeds City Council submitted the bid for West Yorkshire, with the First Direct Arena as the venue. Leeds already plans to celebrate next year as the LEEDS2023 year of culture, so hosting the song contest on behalf of Ukraine would be the perfect fit.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor called the shortlist announcement “fantastic news!”. He said:
“We’re keeping the details of our entry tightly under wraps for now, as the competition heats up, but I can say that Eurovision in Leeds for Ukraine will be outstanding, a celebration of Ukraine, our city and the incredible Eurovision ability to bring everyone together.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Leeds has been shortlisted to host Eurovision 2023 – it’s an amazing city, bursting at the seams with vibrant creativity and would shine given the chance to host this event. The whole West Yorkshire region is a beacon of culture – from Bradford’s City of Culture in 2025, to Kirklees Year of Music in 2023.
“Since the tragic events unfolded in Ukraine, we have opened our arms to offer solidarity, support and shelter to the people of Ukraine. And I hope that Leeds, and the whole of West Yorkshire, will be given the honour of hosting Eurovision in their name.”
Winning announcement in the autumn
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event and has been running since 1956. The winning city will be announced in the autumn.