Members of the Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru) have backed a motion tabled by the Welsh Conservatives calling on Wales to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, should the contest be held in the UK next year.
The motion, which was supported by 40 out of the 60 Senedd members, calls on the Welsh Government to engage with the BBC and the EBU regarding the hosting of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Politicians, including the Welsh Conservatives leader and the leader of Cardiff Council, have previously expressed support for Eurovision to be held in the Welsh capital city Cardiff.
“Wales is the obvious home for the 2023 song contest”
In a debate regarding the issue in the Welsh Parliament yesterday, Conservative MP Tom Giffard said that Wales’ rich musical history meant that it made the country an “obvious” choice for hosting Eurovision. Venues such as Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and the newly-opened Swansea Arena were mentioned as potential host venues, despite the latter only having a capacity of 3,500.
We feel strongly that, as the land of song, Wales is the obvious home for the 2023 song contest[…]
Whilst the Eurovision Song Contest has traditionally been hosted in arenas […] we know the public in Wales and across the United Kingdom could easily sell out the Principality Stadium such is their enthusiasm and love for the event I know we could see 70,000 tickets for that event.– Tom Giffard MS, Welsh Conservatives Spokesperson for Culture, Sport and Tourism
Specification and costs would be considered
The Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, responded saying that the Welsh Government is open to the opportunity of hosting the contest with a new events strategy for Wales set to be released soon. She added that, if the contest cannot be held in Ukraine, then the Welsh Government would enter discussions regarding the specification and costs of hosting.
We recognise that Wales’s successful track record in hosting high-profile events in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium, which we understand would be the only venue in Wales capable of meeting the specifications for the event, places it in contention for providing a home for the 2023 edition of Eurovision, if it cannot be held in Ukraine.
Both Cardiff Council and the stadium have indicated their interest in staging the event, and if the event cannot be held in Ukraine, we would hold further discussions with both, and the BBC, in terms of the detailed specification and the potential costs, which we understand are likely to be multimillion. We would also be looking at the benefits and the potential contributions from those partners, the UK Government, and of course international partners.– Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport
Conservative MS Natasha Asghar, and Labour MS Rhianon Passmore also supported calls for the contest to be held in Wales. Passmore added that the contest being held in Wales would be a “show of solidarity” with Ukraine.
UK’s interest in Eurovision 2023: what do we know so far?
Earlier this month, the EBU issued a statement stating the 2023 contest cannot be held in Ukraine due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Talks began with the British broadcaster BBC, despite Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC calling on the EBU to continue discussions to host the contest in Ukraine.
Fifteen cities and towns across the UK have expressed their interest in hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest including London, Glasgow and Birmingham (who hosted the most recent contest in the UK in 1998).
British newspaper The Guardian has also suggested that the EU could be preparing a rival bid for Brussels to host the contest. Brussels has previously hosted the contest in 1987, following Sandra Kim’s victory in Bergen the year before.
BBC’s Eurovision commentator Graham Norton is among the favourites to host the contest next year with other names in the mix including Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and Bonnie Tyler.
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