Eurovision 2023: The City Of Liverpool Is 'United By Music'

8 May 2023 | 12:22 pm | Mallory Arbour

I have been in town for less than 24 hours but the excitement here is palpable.

(Pic by Mallory Arbour)

It seems as though the whole of Europe (and others) has flocked to Liverpool for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, including myself who travelled more than 30 hours to be here. A dream come true, as any fan will contest. 

While the iconic competition has yet to officially begin, Eurovision is everywhere and you can't escape it. As part of Eurofestival (May 1-14), Liverpool is ablaze with music. The streets are lined with local buskers, artists play at local cafes and restaurants, every second shop is playing Eurovision's greatest hits, and pianos around the city welcome people to jump on and play. 

With the UK co-hosting the event with last year's winners, Ukraine, there are also Ukrainian activities on offer as well, including my favourite, Soloveiko Songbird, an art display that sees 12 songbirds from different Ukrainian regions scattered all around town. Additionally, the city celebrates Ukrainian music, history and art over the two weeks, plus a local cafe is selling Ukrainian desserts that I cannot wait to try.  

Pic by Mallory Arbour

My first stop was the Official Eurovision Store which sells all kinds of merchandise, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, programmes, posters and even a mini replica Eurovision trophy (limited to 300 pieces each year). There was a huge line out the door when I was there so those short on time can head to the Eurovision stall on Strand Street, near the food trucks. It's open late and has most things for sale. I assume merchandise will be available for sale inside and outside the M&S Bank Arena during the live shows.  

As well as the trophy, I picked up some unique souvenirs from many shops and boutiques around Liverpool. I found the ones around Tate Liverpool and Liverpool ONE the most popular.  

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I have been in town for less than 24 hours but the excitement here is palpable. It's an incredible environment to be immersed in. To be surrounded by people from different countries with different accents, speaking different languages, the people here are indeed 'United By Music' as this year's slogan aptly suggests.  

Next up I headed to the Eurovision Village. There was nothing on yet as I was too early but located at Pier Head, Eurovision Village is the main hub to soak up the celebratory atmosphere of the Eurovision Song Contest. It offers a mix of one-off shows, live performances and DJ sets. Australia's Voyager, I hear, rocked the stage here on Saturday, May 6 too. I'll head back later but the official guide is available online. Playing here later this week is Sophie Ellis-Bextor and the Vengaboys, among others. 

Additionally, Eurocamp is centrally located and worth checking out. There are also afterparties, drag shows, Eurovision bingo, bottomless brunches, various screening parties, including party nights aboard Mersey Ferries, and more. So, those stuck on what to do aren't looking hard enough, including myself.  

As a lover of musicals, the Royal Court Theatre (1 Roe Street) is playing A Thong for Europe, a new musical full of Eurovision's hit songs, which I'm keen to check out. It's playing from May 9-27. 

Liverpool is a very walkable city with so much to do and see. I'm keen for more as the week goes on. Worth the journey so far? Absolutely!

Pic by Mallory Arbour