Relationships between Liverpool and Ukraine to continue after Eurovision

Relationships between Liverpool and Ukraine will continue after the “incredible” Eurovision Song Contest, the city’s cultural director has said.

Liverpool will host the competition’s grand final on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine on Saturday night.

Director of Culture Liverpool Claire McColgan, who has led the cultural, community and educational programmes running alongside the contest, said: “I think it’s been the most incredible experience of my life ever.

Eurovision 2023
Claire McColgan, Bill Addy, chief executive at the Liverpool Bid Company and Faye Dyer, managing director of the ACC Group, outside Liverpool M&S Arena (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I think for lots of people in Liverpool and around the world, it will be the most incredible event that they’ve ever been part of, ever been to, ever looked at on the television, and I am hugely proud of this city, massively proud.”

She said that relationships forged with Ukraine, which was unable to host the contest because of the Russian invasion, would not end after Saturday’s final.

Ms McColgan said: “We have literally put Eurovision everywhere so no-one can not be affected by it and I think what people have seen, whether they like the Eurovision contest or not, is the kind of spirit of equality, the spirit of diversity, the spirit of compassion with our friends – our friends now – in Ukraine that is immeasurable.

“That is so powerful, and hopefully when this finishes one of the really great legacies will be those relationships in Ukraine, they’ll have a bit of Liverpool in their hearts.”

She said there would be legacy projects with artists in Ukraine following the “shared endeavour” of organising the competition.

The cultural director added: “Liverpool has reached out on behalf of this great country to show what this great country does and the best thing this country does is have a heart and compassion for people in distress.

“Hopefully that’s what we’ve shown over these two weeks in Liverpool.”

Ms McColgan said the key to making Eurovision a success for the area was involving everyone.

She said: “You can put an event in an arena and it’s great and loads of people watch it on screen and watch across the world.

“Unless you engage the residents of the city in that wider story, you’ve failed, I think.

“Hopefully it’s created a model for Eurovision in the future that will be taken by the next city that does it.”