Things to do in Liverpool as Eurovision Rolls Into Town
By Richard Jones
Named European Capital of Culture in 2008, the last 15 years have seen Liverpool enjoy a renaissance, and it’s it now one of the best places in the UK for a city break.
Merseyside is known for its football teams, the Albert Docks, friendly Scousers, and perhaps above all, its music.
Therefore, when Britain was chosen to host the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine this year, it was fitting that home of the Beatles was selected as the location.
Here are a few music experiences to enjoy in Liverpool before during and after Eurovision.
EuroFestival (until 14 May)
Liverpool is playing host to 24 new and thought-provoking commissions – 19 of which are collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists and inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan ‘United in Music’. Highlights include The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier, a huge outdoor underwater sea disco complete with drumming octopus, skating jellyfish and disco ball angler fish. Plus, there’s Rave Ukraine, a collaboration between producer Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture, and Eurotopia featuring OMD’s Andy McCluskey, Red Rum Club, Jane Weaver, She Drew The Guns, Lou Roach and Mic Lowry.
Eurovision Village 2023: Liverpool Pier Head (until May 13)
Taking over the iconic Pier Head in Liverpool, the Eurovision Village is the official fan zone and promises to be one huge party. Running every day until the Grand Final, the village will offer a mix of incredible one-off shows, live performances, DJ sets and special guest appearances. A special area – Discover Ukraine – is dedicated to the country’s amazing producers and artisans, and other key moments will include an epic outdoor performance of English National Opera Does Eurovision and a poignant commission from Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, who will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage, replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland.
The British Music Experience
A must-visit for any music lover, the British Music Experience is embracing Eurovision in style. Championing Ukraine and defying the tragedy of war, Kalush Orchestra appeared at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin and swept to victory. Their outfits they wore will go on public display as part of the celebrations. But whenever you visit, the interactive space at the BME is home to some of British music history’s most iconic memorabilia – from The Beatles to the Spice Girls – and there’s even the chance to get hands on in the Gibson Interactive Studio. A ticket for the BME is valid for a year from purchase meaning you can visit multiple times.
On the Waterfront Festival (29 June-1 July)
After Eurovision has departed the city, the On the Waterfront Festival is returning to its famous Pier Head. First up on stage is the phenomenon that is Jamie Webster who has gone from a modern-day local folk hero to an established solo artist in his own right. Next up and following on from their iconic sell out performance at last year’s inaugural event, is the return of mighty Grammy nominated Liverpool duo Camelphat. Finally, Manchester legends James’s performance coincides with the band’s 40th-anniversary tour and features a full orchestra and gospel choir.
International Beatle Week (23-29 August)
This annual festival celebrates the music of the most famous pop group the world has ever known, The Beatles, in the city where it all began. With bands and fans from all over the globe, there is so much to do and see that you don’t need to be a Fab Four fan to enjoy. The various packages include accommodation at a wide choice of city centre hotels and tickets to events. And no trip to Liverpool is complete without a visit to the most famous club in the world – the Cavern Club. Its three venues – the Cavern Club, Cavern Live Lounge and the Cavern Pub showcase the incredible legacy of The Beatles, and also new up-and-coming bands and established artists.
Liverpool Music Icons Tour
Get under the skin of Merseyside’s music scene with this all-new tour which takes guests off the tourist trail, with personally curated and gently paced walks led by either Keith Mullin or Pete Hooton of The Farm or Brian ‘Nasher’ Nash, lead guitarist with Frankie goes to Hollywood. You will discover little-known secrets of the city from someone who was at the beating heart of it in the 1980s and 90s and learn about their personal musical journey to fame. There’s also a fantastic opportunity to take a selfie with the music icon. Oh, and there’s a free drink at the end of the tour.
Where to stay
An official Hotel Partner for Eurovision, Innside Hotel, Liverpool is offering guests and visitors the chance to fully embrace the spirit of the event with a number of experiences in the run up to and during Eurovision. Live DJs will play Eurovision anthems in the reception and the Gino D’Acampo 360 Sky Bar areas. Plus, there’s private streaming and karaoke party spaces, a bespoke Eurovision Cocktail menu, special afternoon tea and more. The reception will see the Stay Curious wall transformed and adorned with beautiful blue and yellow flowers in a nod to Ukraine.