With the United Kingdom officially confirmed as the host country for Eurovision 2023, cities across the country have started expressing their desire to host the song contest. The south west English city of Bristol is one such candidate, having thrown their hat into the ring before the UK was officially announced as the host country.
Part of the Bristol proposal is to convert the city’s old airport hangars into a pop-up venue. While this may sound like a big undertaking, the proposal is not dissimilar to Eurovision 2014. Nearly a decade ago, Copenhagen repurposed its old shipyard into a Eurovision venue, which looked spectacular on TV.
We should point out that Bristol is much further along in its efforts to repurpose the site than Copenhagen was in 2014. In fact, work has already begun to convert the Brabazon Hangers into a 17,000-seat arena. The site has already hosted Massive Attack and was recently used by Queen to rehearse for their world tour. Here’s a video from two months ago that shows the ball is already rolling.
Before a decision is made, we’re looking at all of the potential host city options. Now we turn our attention to Bristol. You may have heard of its waterfront dining, massive annual balloon fiesta and gorgeous Arnolfini Gallery. But here are 10 more facts for your consideration…
10 Facts about Bristol: Eurovision 2023 host city bid
1. Go up in space, man!
Where better to start than the Aerospace Bristol — Bristol’s own museum of aeronautical and space technology? Fitting the theme of the song which brought the UK its best result of the century, a visit to Bristol would be incomplete without a stop here. Visitors can check out the last Concorde to ever fly, as well as exploring 100 years of aviation history here. The city has plenty of connections to outer space, with moon dust samples collected by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin sent to Bristol University to be studied. You can also check out We The Curious for the UK’s first 3D planetarium if you want to continue your intergalactic adventure.
2. Bristol is the birthplace of bungee jumping
The extreme activity of bungee jumping can be done all around the world. However, the first ever bungee jump took place in Bristol in 1979. Back then, the world’s first bungee jumper leapt off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The rest, as they say, is history.
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3. Bristol was home to the pirate Blackbeard
Many famous faces can be traced back to Bristol. This includes the pirate Blackbeard, one of the most famous pirates who ever lived. Born in 1680 as Edward Teach, not much is known about Blackbeard’s early life in Bristol. If the contest does take place in Bristol, you won’t need to head to Latvia for your annual fix of Eurovision pirates.
4. The chocolate Easter egg was invented in Bristol
Bristol has no shortage of world famous inventions. One that everyone would be familiar with is the chocolate Easter egg, first produced in 1873 when local company Fry’s discovered a recipe to make the eggs hollow. If you plan to travel to Eurovision 2023, be warned — the contest takes place in May and there may still be some eggs lying around.
5. Bristol has its own leaning tower
Eurovision 2022 took place in Italy, home to the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Now that the contest is moving to the UK, it could be taking place in the vicinity of another leaning tower. The tower, part of the complex at Temple Church, leans at 2.7 degrees, approximately 1 degree less than that of its counterpart in Italy.
6. IMDb was created in Bristol
Another famous invention from Bristol — and a much more recent one — is IMDb, the online database for information related to films, television and other media. It was launched all the way back in 1990 by Colin Needham, who was working in Bristol at the time.
7. Banksy is from Bristol
We’ve already mentioned Blackbeard but the famous faces from Bristol don’t end there. Fast forward a few centuries and you’ll find Banksy, whose real identity remains unconfirmed. The street artist began his work within the Bristol underground scene, though he has worked in various places around the world since. Visitors to Bristol can explore the city and find some of Banksy’s works around town.
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8. Bristol had its own time zone, which you can still see at The Exchange building
Prior to the proliferation of railways in the nineteenth century, Bristol had its own time zone. Bristol Time was about ten minutes behind GMT, with many in the city resisting the change. As a result, Bristol only adopted the standardised time five years after its inception. If you head to The Exchange on Corn Street, the clock face will tell you both GMT and Bristol Time, bearing an additional minute hand to simultaneously display both times.
9. Bristol has many links to the world of literature
From pirates to street art, Bristol certainly has its fair share of history. This extends to literature, with several scenes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island set in Bristol. Visitors can follow the Treasure Island Trail to explore some of these locations. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was born and raised just outside Bristol and it is even claimed that a young boy in Bristol inspired the titular character.
10. Visit the steepest street in England
Not one for the faint-hearted, Bristol is home to Vale Street in Totterdown, said to be the steepest street in England. The street boasts an average incline of 22%, with the initial climb even higher. A jog up this street might be a good way to work off all of the chocolate we mentioned earlier.
What do you think of Bristol? Would you like to see Eurovision head to this part of the UK? Let us know in the comments below and vote in our poll for your choice of host city.
I’m a big fan of Stephen Merchant, and recently enjoyed his series The Outlaws, set in Bristol with many spots I recognise. Whilst I don’t think he’s interested in contest at all, I do remember two occasions he went on the Grahame Norton Show, he met Blue the first time and SuRie the next!
Bristol would be an excellent place for Eurovision, it is a very artsy, forward-thinking city, very open-minded and always looking to push boundaries. It suffers from not having an arena but if they can pull off the conversions of the hangars that would add another unique appeal.
Somerset is a beautiful part of the UK. It has everything a tourist could dream of from the hip city of Bristol to the historic town of Bath and obviously the amazing coastline.
However, I don’t think it’s Bristol’s time yet. They need to complete their stadium and then they can try hosting again in the future.
As much as I’d love Eurovision 2023 to be happening ten minutes drive from my house, it is not going to happen when there are already six likely bids with all the facilities in place. Why would the EBU/BBC/UA:PBC want any construction worries for ten months when Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester etc already have Arena with 10k+ capacity and space for press etc?
UA:PBC aren’t involved in the organisation, the BBC are. The Ukranians will have input on show content, not the choice of city/venue…