The city of Liverpool is hard at work making preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest. And ahead of celebrations kicking off next month, Liverpool has announced the full lineup of its EuroFestival programme — a two-week long cultural festival celebrating the joy of Eurovision.
From 1 May – 14 May, a series of 24 cultural commissions will take over Liverpool as it embraces the song contest spirit. Of the 24 commissions, 19 are collaborative pieces between UK and Ukrainian artists.
Highlights from the programme include Soloveiko Songbirds, EuroCamp, and QIRIM — a new album experience by Eurovision 2016 champion Jamala featuring the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
EuroFestival: Liverpool announces full Eurovision cultural festival lineup
The full EuroFestival lineup has been announced.
- Big Eurovision Read: Liverpool Central Library, launching April
- Protect the Beats: Exchange Flags, 1 May – 14 May, 10:00 – 21:00
- Sound of Freedom: Tempest Hey Building, Liverpool, 1 May – 14 May
- National Museums Liverpool x Eurovision: National Museums Liverpool, 1 May – 14 May
- With Fire and Rage: Multiple sites throughout the city, trail starts at Everyman Theatre, 1 May – 14 May
- Soloveiko Songbirds: Across Liverpool city centre, 1 May – 14 May
- Queerovision: Online, 1 May – 14 May
- Dialogues: The Bluecoat, May 1 – 14
- Izyum to Liverpool: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, 1 May – 19 May
- Chornobyldorf: Invisible Wind Factory, 1 May – 2 May
- A Place of Hope: Unity Theatre, 2 May – 5 May and 9 May – 11 May
- Late at Tate Liverpool: The Spirit of Eurovision: Tate Liverpool, 4 May, 18:00 – 22:00
- Home: Open Eye Gallery, 5 May – July
- The People’s Flag: Online, 5 May
- The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade: Throughout city centre, 5 May, 18:00 – 21:00
- Welcome to Eurotopia: Pier Head, EurovisionVillage – Main Stage, 5 May
- Xpressia Festival: Various underground locations, TBC
- Rave UKraine: Content, 7 May
- Eurocamp presents…: Chavasse Park, Liverpool One, 8 May – 10 May, 13:00 – 21:00
- Jamala presents QIRIM to the world: Pier Head, EurovisionVillage – Main Stage, 11 May
- Storyville Live: Everyman Cinema, Metquarter, 11 May – 12 May
- You’re A Vision!: Liverpool Everyman Theatre, 12 May
- English National Opera does Eurovision: Pier Head, EurovisionVillage – Main Stage, 13 May
Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, said: “EuroFestival is unique in every sense. No other Eurovision host city has ever curated a creative programme of such scale and scope, paying homage to the culture and heritage of both Liverpool and Ukraine in the most unforgettable way.”
“Evocative, thought-provoking, joyous, celebratory, reflective, hopeful – these 24 commissions cover the whole gambit of emotions which will draw in the audience and make them really feel truly part of this Eurovision experience.”
“It’s a programme of glorious brilliance, made by artists with open hearts and the will and commitment to present a show in less than five months, to reach across countries and genres and to produce this Scouse/Ukrainian mashup of brilliance.”
“This is the spirit of Eurovision spilling onto our streets. Free for all. Accessible to all. Uniting us all.”
Scroll down to reach more about the highlights of EuroFestival.
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One of the most ambitious projects sees 12 large scale light-up nightingales located around the city. Each of the 12 songbirds represents a different region of Ukraine, symbolised by unique plumage and audio soundscapes. As a collective, the songbirds make up a trail which can be followed by the public over the two-week festival.
Svitlana Reinish, who worked on the project, said: “Soloveiko Songbird is an artistic interpretation of Ukraine I remember before the war: diverse, colourful, with its own history and traditions, with a song in people’s hearts.”
“I have worked with Amigo & Amigo to create twelve giant Soloveiko Songbirds that have flown to EuroFestival to bring songs from different regions of Ukraine and share them with the public of Liverpool. Each of the bird’s forms are inspired by the traditional clay whistle and feature unique patterns taken from Ukrainian embroidery. Anton Dehtiarov has created an original music composition connecting the past and present of Ukraine, transforming the traditional aesthetic of the Soloveiko into a modern context.”
“During this year the whole world learned a lot about Ukraine. We hope the people at EuroFestival feel inspired by the Soloveiko project. It’s a privilege to share the vision of my Homeland, which I’m sure will soon be free and independent again.”
Protect The Beats
The Nelson Monument, located in Exchange Flags, will host Protect the Beats. The statue will be surrounded by thousands of sandbags to replicate the way statues in Ukraine are being protected from Russian bombardment. Screens inside the structure will show a short documentary, highlighting live music and performance continuing in Ukraine against the shadow of war.
Land & Sky, Home & Dreams
Land & Sky, Home & Dreams, is a collaborative project with 450 children from Ukraine and 450 children from across Merseyside. The simultaneous mass participation event connects British and Ukrainian families as specially-designed kites are flown in New Brighton and in four locations across Ukraine.
Liverpudlian and Ukrainian artists come together to form a supergroup, who will perform an eclectic mix of music, donned in “Euro-typical costume and glamour”. On the British side, the project features the talents of Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep, She Drew The Gun’s Lou Roach, while Krapka Koma, Iryna Muha, and Helleroid represent Ukraine.
On 11 May, “1944” superstar and Eurovision 2016 champion Jamala will premiere a brand new album based around the folk music of her Crimean Tatar heritage, accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jamala said: “During these dark times for Ukraine, the presentation of the new album in Liverpool is an essential mission for me. Just like the most precious memories of our lives, we cherish our culture as the most valuable treasure.
“Accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, I will perform the full version of QIRIM for the first time. It is a record that my team and I literally saved from the rubble last year. An album that preserves the beauty and greatness of my home culture.”
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With Fire and Rage
The immersive audio experience With Fire and Rage is a digital storytelling project, following the stories of artists on the frontline in Ukraine. With Fire and Rage explores the role of creativity in the backdrop of war. It combines video, visual art, poetry and music, and will be accessible via QR codes located around the city. The experience includes stories of music concerts in metro stations, smuggling artworks out of cities to protect them from bombings, and puppet shows in bomb shelters.
The Unity Theatre presents UKRLAND
Ukrainian theatre director Yurii Radionov presents UKRLAND: Stories from Ukraine, hosted in collaboration with the Unity Theatre. The theatre will also act as a hub for various theatre performers, shining a spotlight on Ukrainian artists through theatre, poetry, and food.
The Invisible Wind Factory presents Chornobyldorf
Critically-acclaimed media opera Chornobyldorf comes to The Invisible Wind Factory.
EuroCamp presents… is a festival featuring drag, performance, choreography, vogue, music, carnival, circus and more. Chavasse Park — above the Liverpool ONE shopping centre — will host the festival celebrating Eurovision and LGBTQ+ culture.
The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier
A huge outdoor underwater sea mass-participation disco will make its way through the city to mark the start of the Eurovision celebrations. British and Ukrainian musicians and designers will come together for the parade, featuring hundreds of performers, incredible music and a huge glitterball jellyfish.
#Live | A parade but not as you know it. #EuroFestival will welcome ‘The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade’ this May, which will see an underwater vessel explore the city, making friends and spreading happiness along the way…. ??https://t.co/zBm3Zwte4B pic.twitter.com/t004JMUX8V— Culture Liverpool (@CultureLPool) March 28, 2023
An underground counterculture festival, Xpressia Festival makes its way to several locations across Liverpool.
The award-winning documentary series stages its first ever film festival at Liverpool’s independent Everyman Cinema, screening documentaries about Ukraine and music.
Izyum to Liverpool
Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska transforms the Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum, Ukraine, to Polish border. This real-time piece gives a poignant insight into the landscape of Ukraine at war, showcasing the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people.
The English National Opera does Eurovision
The English National Opera puts on a unique show bringing together the world of Eurovision and the world of Opera for one very special outdoor performance with a live chorus and orchestra.
HOME at the Open Eye Gallery
HOME puts Ukrainian photographers in the spotlight as the Open Eye Gallery’s Eurovision exhibit showcases snaps exploring the concepts, themes, and meanings of ‘home’, accompanied by a collection of poetry.
Theatre goes digital with Queerovision. The online commissions showcases digital video reportage of Liverpool’s Queer Fringe.
A simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv will be streamed across the world in this exciting collaborative project between Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture.
The People’s Flag
A mass participation dance event.
The Big Eurovision Read
Reaching out across the country, The Reading Agency creates a shortlist of books inspired by the theme of ‘United by Music’, encouraging the nation to take part in The Big Eurovision Read.
Dialogues at The Bluecoat
Ukranian artist Alevtina Kakhidze collaborated with Liverpudlian artist Ellie Hoskins in an exciting evolving exhibition at The Bluecoat. Throughout EuroFestival, the gallery will fill with new prints and artworks, representing the growing relationship between the two artists.
Sound of Freedom
EuroFestival’s Sound of Freedom will see murals from Ukrainian and UK artists pop up in some of the city’s most visible landmarks.
Late at Tate: The Spirit of Eurovision
Eurovision takes over the Liverpool TATE art gallery.
National Museums Liverpool x Eurovision
Liverpool’s museum collective will host a series of Eurovision galleries.
You’re a Vision! at the Everyman
More information coming soon.
What do you think of the EuroFestival lineup? Which events will you attend? Let us know in the comments below.