By Joe Vickers
On Saturday 13 May, Liverpool will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
The maritime city will host the contest on behalf of 2022 victors Ukraine, due to ongoing conflicts in the region caused by the Russian invasion.
In the build up to the actual event, a fan zone – Eurovision Village – has appeared at the Royal Albert Docks, running until May 12.
The event features live performances from past Eurovision contestants, live DJ sets, one-off performances, and special guest appearances.
Entry is free for all, and tickets are not required, apart from the Grand Final, which has already sold out.
Once the venue reaches maximum capacity, a one-in one-out process is in place to prevent the crowd exceeding capacity. (Bags are permitted in the venue, however the bag must be A4 in size or smaller).
Each day of the Eurovision Village features a different theme and the Village is already bright and bouncing when The Cat visits, ahead of the actual final. If you still have time to get down, you will find the following:
On Thursday 11 May, ‘Jamala Presents QIRIM’, is the theme, featuring performances of historic Crimean songs, as well as other performances from 2023 Eurovision entries.
On Friday 12 May, the theme is ‘EuroEve’, with performances from artists such as Sophie Ellis Bextor and Fleur East.
The venue also features various stalls that sell foods from around the world, and Eurovision merchandise. What is particularly of interest on our visit, located next to the venue exit, is ‘Discover Ukraine’, a collection of exhibitions and market stalls that allow you to experience and learn about Ukrainian culture through food, exhibitions, merchandise, and brands, alongside an exhibition that features information about Ukrainian history, art and music.
Ukrainian chef Levgen Klopotenko brings traditional dishes such as borshch, chebureki and surnuk to the village. Market stalls also sell merchandise such as clothes from Ukrainian brands, and Ukrainian books and flags. Proceeds from sales made at Discover Ukraine will go to charities supporting Ukraine.
Entry to the Eurovision Village is free all week and entrances can be found on Water Street.
Photo credit: Joe Vickers