Weeks before the U.K. was confirmed as the host country for Eurovision 2023, Aberdeen had already put its neck out as a potential host city. And now that the BBC has officially accepted hosting duties, the city council in Scotland’s third largest city is busy getting the world out that it’s ready to welcome the world.
An Aberdeen city council spokeswoman said: “We were disappointed to learn that Eurovision 2023 cannot take place in Ukraine.”
“Aberdeen has a track record of delivering major international events and now that the EBU has confirmed that the BBC will host the 2023 Eurovision song contest, we will look at the next steps in terms of the shortlisting process.”
“The council has already instructed officers to continue the dialogue with relevant stakeholders and to look at the implications for the council of hosting this international event and its huge fanbase.”
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a massive event with a worldwide audience.”
“We have the city, the people and infrastructure to support international events such as this and it would provide a major boost to the Aberdeen and Scottish economies and raise the city’s profile with potential investors and visitors.”
The city’s definitely got the venue. P&J Live is the largest indoor arena in Scotland — and the fifth largest arena in the U.K. It can welcome up to 15,000 people. It will host Westlife this November, with Justin Bieber and Elton John performing next February and June.
P&J Live tweeted a mock-up image of how it might look if the city won the right to host. Besides slapping the Eurovision logo across the front of the venue, it also raised the flags of both the U.K. and Ukraine.
Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart has previously pointed out that “Aberdeen has a bold ambition to be the Net Zero capital of Europe, which makes Aberdeen an even more poignant choice for the international event.”
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Could Aberdeen be Eurovision 2023 host city? (10 Facts)
The venue, access to an international airport and hotel rooms are the main concerns for the BBC as it decides which city should host. But if we look beyond that there is a lot to love about Aberdeen. Let’s take a look…
1. Aberdeen is home to a record number of whiskey distilleries
Eurovision is one big party and drinks tend to flow freely. That certainly won’t be a problem in Aberdeen, which is home to 17 whiskey distilleries. This can either be a great way to spend a day before the big shows or to stock up before the acts take centre stage. Ice is optional.
2. Check out the castles in and around Aberdeen
There are no shortage of castles in the United Kingdom and you can see some of the best in Aberdeenshire. Just south of Aberdeen is Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven. Heading further north, you can find Slains Castle and Old Slains Castle, on the way to Peterhead. If you head northwest, you can find the likes of Balquhain Castle and Huntly Castle. History buffs can fill more than a few days between the Eurovision shows with trips to these spots, some of which were frequented by the likes of Mary, Queen of Scots.
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3. The history of Aberdeen FC
Anyone familiar with Scottish football will know that the competition is dominated by the Old Firm — Celtic and Rangers — both based in Glasgow. It’s worth noting, however, that Aberdeen FC were the last team outside those two to win the league. That happened all the way back in the 1984-85 season, under the managerial reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex Ferguson would go on to become arguably the greatest manager in the English Premier League, overseeing Manchester United between 1986 and 2013.
4. Check out the Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Aberdeen has a long maritime history, being the largest settlement on Scotland’s east coast. In the past, fishing was a way of life here. Nowadays, the oil industry is prominent here. The Aberdeen Maritime Museum allows visitors to learn about the city’s maritime links and how the city has evolved over time.
5. Spot dolphins and other marine life off the coast
Aberdeen is a popular location for dolphin spotting. They can sometimes be seen from the waterfront, particularly on warm days. If the temperamental British weather cooperates, an afternoon of dolphin spotting can be a great way to spend a few hours before the big shows. There are many other species of marine life in the waters around Aberdeen — you might even see basking sharks.
6. Aberdeen is often ranked as one of the UK’s safest cities
Safety has, understandably, been a big discussion point when it comes to hosting Eurovision 2023. In Aberdeen, this is unlikely to be a problem. Aberdeen is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s safest cities based on varying reports considering a plethora of relevant metrics.
7. Get your shopping done along Aberdeen’s Granite Mile
Head to Union Street for a wide assortment of shops. Stock up on all the essentials and fill your suitcases during the day along this famous stretch of road. Aberdeen is known as the Granite City, with granite from the area used on many of the buildings here. Granite from Aberdeen has also been used elsewhere in the UK, including all the way down in London.
8. Aberdeen is a great place to get close to nature
We’ve already discussed the marine life around Aberdeen but there’s plenty to see on land too. One of the many options for animal enthusiasts is the North East Falconry Centre, where you can meet birds of prey and even feed some deer. You might not be able to give that wolf a banana here but it’s a great way to see some wildlife.
9. Aberdeen is home to the fifth oldest university in the English-speaking world
A visit to Aberdeen wouldn’t be complete without a stroll around some of its educational institutions, marvelling at the architecture on display. The University of Aberdeen dates back all the way to 1495, with only universities at Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and Glasgow being around longer in the UK. The intricately designed Marischal College is well worth seeing as an example of the granite architecture in town.
10. Aberdeen has no shortage of parks and gardens
If you’re looking for some May sunshine, Aberdeen’s parks are a great place to find it, if the weather cooperates. There are many parks to choose from throughout the city, including Duthie Park, Seaton Park and Hazlehead Park. Head north from the city to find Pitmedden Garden and its excellent collection of topiary.
What do you think of Aberdeen? Would you like to see Eurovision hosted in the eastern Scottish city? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.