Eurovision tickets are never easy to come by. And with interest in this year’s contest already spiking with the imminent announcement of the Eurovision 2023 host city shortlist, folks are already thinking about potential flights, hotels and, of course, tickets.
Building on that, British Future — an independent think tank and registered charity that works for an inclusive Britain — is floating what it calling the “Welcomers Eurovision” Proposal. It’s encouraging the 2023 organisers to reserve tickets for Ukrainian refugees and the UK families who are hosting them.
Given that the United Kingdom is organising the contest on behalf of Ukraine — and in the name of pan-European unity — it makes a lot of sense. We’re publishing their full press release below.
CALL FOR 2023 TO BE A ‘WELCOMERS EUROVISION’ WITH UKRAINIAN REFUGEES AND THEIR UK HOSTS IN FRONT ROW (Press Release)
As the shortlist of cities in the running to host the 2023 Eurovision song contest is announced today (12 August), campaigners have called for next year’s event to be a ‘Welcomers Eurovision’, with priority tickets allocated to Ukrainian refugees in the UK and the host families who have offered them a place to stay under the popular ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.
Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield have all put in bids to be the host city for the Eurovision Song Contest contest next spring. The global music contest will be held in the UK after organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) ruled that it could be safely held in Ukraine, who won the 2022 Eurovision. The shortlist of prospective host cities will be announced on the BBC 2 Breakfast Show today (12 August).
Thinktank British Future, which is behind the ‘Welcomers Eurovision’ proposal, says that this would be the perfect moment to celebrate the warm welcome that people in Britain and many other European nations have offered to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Warm-up events, qualifying rounds and ‘fan zone’ events on the night could take place in locations around the country and take a similar approach, with Ukrainians and their hosts invited to take part.
Latest government figures show that 107,900 refugees have arrived in the UK under the Ukraine Scheme – the largest number of refugees to come to the UK from one country at one time since the First World War. More than 100,000 people in Britain offered homes to Ukrainian refugees in the first 24 hours after the government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme that allows families and individuals to bring people to the UK.
Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, said:
“The 2023 Eurovision is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the warm welcome that thousands of Brits have offered to Ukrainians fleeing the war.
“Britain is hosting the contest on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine – what better way to embody that than by inviting some of the thousands of citizens who are now hosting Ukrainian families in their homes? Nothing could be more in the Eurovision spirit of friendship and cooperation between European neighbours.
“The public’s response to the crisis in Ukraine – and indeed the thousands of others across the UK who are helping to welcome other new arrivals, from Hong Kong, Afghanistan and elsewhere – is something we can all be proud of.”
The ‘Welcomers Eurovision’ proposal is one of the recommendations in a new British Future report published today (12 August), ‘Seizing the moment: Why events matter for social connection and shared identity’, published as a submission to the ‘Power of Events Inquiry’ by London 2012 legacy organisation Spirit of 2012. The Inquiry examines how major events – from the Jubilee and Commonwealth Games to the Eurovision song contest next year – can have positive, lasting social impacts. Polling by Focaldata finds that 62% of people feel that major events like the Jubilee and sporting tournaments bring people from different backgrounds together. Some 23 million people in the UK joined in celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year.
The British Future report also examines in detail how major events can help to bridge divides and bring people together. It features further recommendations for activities to mark the 75th anniversary of the Windrush next year and how the Euro 2028 football tournament, which the UK and Ireland hope to host jointly, could be an important showcase for the power and potential of sport to help promote social contact between people from different backgrounds.