Either Glasgow or Liverpool will host Eurovision 2023 after the shortlist of cities in contention was cut from seven to two. This means Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have missed out on the chance to host the competition next May.
Well, au revoir – the aforementioned English cities just aren’t cut from the same cloth as Glasgow.
The BBC will announce a final decision within weeks, after the UK replaced Ukraine to host the event after the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 competition in Italy, which would normally make Ukraine the 2023 host. However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) ruled the next contest could not be held safely in Ukraine.
I confess – I’m from Glasgow.
What was once known as the second city of the empire used to be an industrial powerhouse. Now, it’s the Scottish epicentre of good vibes and great tunes. A city with a reputation for being “rough” is far from it. It’s just a distorted perception that outsiders formulate about the greatest city in the UK.
It’s a charming city that has nurtured musical talent from DJs and producers to bands and solo artists. If Glasgow was good enough to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Cop 26 climate conference, why can’t it host Eurovision?
The city certainly has hotels to accommodate tourists and contestants. They are only 97 hotels in Liverpool, but Glasgow has 98. Although we win that battle by the skin of our teeth, there is one critical reason which to my mind makes Glasgow the best candidate to host this international competition: Glasgow is a creative and cultural hub; renowned for its clubbing, legendary music scene with iconic venues and a thrilling calendar of world-class festivals and events.
As a UNESCO city of music, Glasgow is home to all but one of Scotland’s national performing arts organisations. The second city of the empire is head and shoulders above the competition – and not only for the culture. Public transport is cheaper compared to Liverpool. Glasgow is colder, but residents earn more, which could suggest more money will be invested in the area. Glasgow is home to the largest cultural infrastructure outside of London.
The BBC said the two remaining cities have “the strongest overall offer”, as both possess riverside arena venues. M&S Bank Arena is Liverpool’s largest entertainment hub with an 11,000 capacity. The OVO Hydro Arena is reminiscent of a giant spacecraft that’s landed on the River Clyde. It’s a magnificent venue and the largest multi-entertainment venue in Scotland, with a maximum capacity of 14,300.
When you exit the venue you can see the moonlight reflect on the river Clyde. Who wouldn’t want to see that beautiful river view after watching their country rise or fall? The green light that illuminates the Hydro projects is a relaxing aura. The Clyde is cleaner than the Thames, but that isn’t saying much. Glasgow has a certain aura and charm that other Scottish cities just don’t have.
To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here
People in Glasgow have an attitude, but a friendly attitude. It possesses the “je ne sais quoi” that Liverpool lacks. (That’s what I’m calling it, anyway.)
Some of my earliest gigging memories were spent awkwardly shuffling around the Hydro, thinking I knew how to two-step when I was quite mistaken.The largest venue in Scotland is more than an appropriate location for this competition. Glasgow is the beating heart of music, the arts and entertainment in Scotland, so it’s logical for the city to host Eurovision 2023.
(Just so we are clear, I have never spent more than five minutes watching Eurovision.) But if it was hosted in Glasgow, I would. I would even beg my editors to send me back home to cover the whole thing. So come on – let’s make it happen!