Sheffield makes latest bid to host Eurovision 2023

Sheffield council said they want to host it to "stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine"

Sheffield has become the latest city to make a bid for next year’s Eurovision.

Earlier this week, The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that the BBC will be hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the UK on behalf of this year’s winners, Ukraine.

Organisers revealed last month that they were in talks with the BBC to bring the event to the UK. The winning country of the annual song competition usually hosts the following year’s event and despite Ukraine’s folk-rap entry Kalush Orchestra topping the table, it was announced earlier this month that the EBU would be looking for a different country to stage the event in 2023 due to the ongoing war with Russia.

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In a lengthy statement, EBU explained the reasons why Ukraine couldn’t host the 2023 event. “The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest cannot be staged in Ukraine, this year’s winning country,” the statement began.

“The decision was guided by the EBU’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country.”

Now, Sheffield has become the latest in a series of cities to put a bid in to host the contest following on from Newcastle earlier this month. Up to 17 cities in total are reportedly in talks to host the event, including Leeds and Manchester.

Sheffield City Council said it wanted to host the event “in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people”.

Councillor Martin Smith, from Sheffield City Council’s economic development and skills committee, said the city was “made for hosting Eurovision” (via the BBC).

“We have the infrastructure, the venues, the hospitality and the transport links. We also have one of the strongest creative and cultural sectors in the country,” he added.

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Sheffield has been twinned with the Ukrainian city of Donetsk since 1956. Smith said Sheffield “stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine”.

He 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.”

Eurovision
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra with their Eurovision trophy. CREDIT: Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images

“We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023,” Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor, said in a statement.

“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”

Ukraine, as the winning country of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, will automatically qualify to the 2023 Grand Final.

Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC added: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a Host City to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.”

The BBC previously hosted Eurovision in London in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977, Edinburgh in 1972, Brighton in 1974, Harrogate in 1982 and Birmingham in 1998. The host city will be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process.

In other news, Sheffield venue The Leadmill announced earlier this year that it’s facing threat of closure next year due to its landlord issuing a notice of eviction.

In March, the team behind the iconic venue announced that it would be closing next year due to its landlord issuing a notice of eviction. In the weeks that followed, it launched an official petition opposing the eviction, while stars from Sheffield and further afield have all shown support for the space.

Over the years the venue has played host to a number of artists who have gone on to have huge success, most notably the Arctic Monkeys – who helped raise over £100,000 for the venue to survive COVID closures last year by raffling off one of Alex Turner‘s guitars.

Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker is one of the numerous artists to have shown his support for the venue, sharing a piece of artwork on Instagram that includes the phrase: “You Can’t Buy The Leadmill.” The print is inspired by a teaser campaign that was used to promote Pulp’s 1995 single ‘Common People’.

 

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