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Bristol launches bid to host Eurovision 2023

The Mayor of Bristol launched the campaign at Bristol Pride on Saturday evening

The city of Bristol has launched their #ThisIsBristolCalling campaign, as they vie to become the hosts of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees launched the bid during Bristol Pride yesterday with the YTL Arena put forward as a potential host venue.

Bristol becomes the sixteenth British city to put their name forward as potential hosts of next year’s contest, which could be held in the UK after the EBU announced that 2022 winners Ukraine would not be able to host the contest. London, Glasgow and Birmingham are among the other cities who have announced their intentions to make a bid to host.

Mayor of Bristol: An “opportunity for Bristol to come together”

Announcing Bristol’s bid, Mayor Marvin Rees said that hosting Eurovision would be an “opportunity for Bristol to come together”. Making a nod to this year’s UK entry, the Mayor added that the city has “the Space, Man” to host the contest in a custom-built site at the Brabazon Hangars.

He launched the city’s #ThisIsBristolCalling bid ahead of Carly Rae Jepsen’s set at Bristol Pride and across his mayoral social media platforms yesterday evening. Pride attendees were urged to share the message of Bristol’s “really strong bid” on social media by sharing the post and using the campaign hashtag.

From aircraft hangars to arena

Bristol’s bid puts forward the Brabazon Hangars as their potential host venue, working in partnership with YTL Arena Bristol. The former aircraft hangars are currently being transformed into the new arena set to open in 2024, which will have a capacity of 17,000. The venue’s website says that the YTL Arena will become “the number one live destination in the South West”.

When constructed, the arena is set to become a mixed-use development hosting music, comedy, sports and entertainment events. Sustainability is also a key part of the arena’s plans, with the aim of becoming Europe’s most sustainable arena being carbon neutral from opening. £3.1 million is also being invested in local transport infrastructure to support public transport connections to the arena.

The YTL Arena site has recently been used for rehearsals of Queen + Adam Lambert’s Rhapsody Tour and their performance at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert. The group said they would have been “delighted” to have performed at the arena had it been fully operational this year.

It wouldn’t be the first time that hangars were used as a host venue for the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2014, the contest was held in Copenhagen’s B&W Hallerne which was previously the site of shipyard hangars. The temporary nature of the purpose-built venue means it can be fully dismantled after the contest.

UK’s interest in Eurovision 2023: what do we know so far?

Last 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.

Sixteen cities and towns across the UK have expressed their interest in hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. British newspaper The Guardian has also suggested that the EU could be preparing a rival bid to host in Brussels. The Belgian capital 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.

The potential runners and riders to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom

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