Inspired by the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, we travelled by train to England in March. Combining ESC host city Liverpool with the industrial heritage of Manchester. Manchester to Liverpool was also the first steam railway line ever. A perfect pretext to travel to The North.
The Eurovision Song Contest inspired us to go to Liverpool. So logically, we went to check out the main venues.
1: M&S Bank Arena
In Belgium we associate Marks & Spencer with British food, with Christmas cards and with fashion for more people over let’s say 40 or 50. But there’s also an M&S Bank, which name sponsors the arena where the actual song contest will take place.
The M&S Bank Arena has 7,513 permanent seats around three sides of a central floor suitable for hosting indoor sports events, Wikipedia learns. The capacity for end-stage and in-the-round concerts is 10,600 including floor seating. With floor standing, the overall capacity of the arena is increased to 11,000. There are several corporate boxes situated around the sides of the arena.
It opened 2008 and was expanded in 2012 – 2017. The address is 16 Monarchs Quay Liverpool L3 4FP, England and its King’s Dock makes the Arena centrally located. It’s adjacent to the River Mersey.
2: Eurovision Village
The Eurovision Village is the Fan Zone or Fan Village of the Eurovision Song Contest, to cater to the many fans in between recordings and those didn’t get a ticket but want to feel the Eurovision vibe and experience in all-but-name pride event.
The Eurovision Village will be located at Pier Head, a stone’s throw away from the M&S Bank Arena.
You can expect a large stage and big screens. Food and merchandise stalls will sell you all you need.
“The Liverpool City Council’s Eurovision team is all set to work with Ukrainian street artists and fashion designers to create a special Ukraine / Liverpool community educational program and developing a Eurovision trail which will involve the 1993 British Eurovision act Sonia, who hails from Liverpool”, ESC Today says.
The Pier Head, properly the George’s Pier Head, was part of the former Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was inscribed in 2004, but revoked in 2021. As well as a collection of landmark buildings, recreational open space, and a number of memorials, the Pier Head was (and for some traffic still is) the landing site for passenger ships travelling to and from the city.
“From 8 till 13 May everyone will be able to experience six unique nights in the EuroClub in Liverpool”, EuroClub advertises its activities.
The EuroClub will house at Camp and Furnace, 67 Greenland St, Liverpool L1 0BY, right in the are called Baltic Triangle.
The parties are organised by the Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l’Eurovision (OGAE), which is made up of 42 fan clubs from across the world.
Expect this to be a big festival area featuring performances, dancing and flirting.
In its announcement, Simon Bennett, president of OGAE International, said: “After three years with no official or OGAE party venue, I am thrilled that there will be a EuroClub organised by OGAE in Liverpool. I am particularly grateful to the city council for their enthusiastic support and cooperation. The city is really embracing the Eurovision spirit and is making exciting plans to welcome fans next May. The EuroClub will be a real highlight of Eurovision week and it will be wonderful for the OGAE family to finally be able to come together again for a great party.”
EuroClub has booked quite a few ESC celebrities:
- Charlotte Nielssen / Perrelli, winner ESC 1999 for Sweden;
- Conchita Wurst, winner ESC 2014 for Austria;
- Jedward, ESC 2011 and 2012 for Ireland;
- Joker Out, ESC 2023 for Slovenia;
- Keiino, ESC 2019 for Norway;
- Linda Martin, winner ESC 1992 for Ireland.
EUROfansCLUB is nót EuroClub. Even its website is Euroclub.tv (and EuroClub2023.co.uk for the EuroClub). EUROfansCLUB is a concept by Menuditas Factory from Catalonia organising Eurovision themed parties in Spain, Turin (2022) and now Liverpool. Their website lacks an ‘about’ page.
From 8 to 13 May, they organise themed parties at Fusion, 17 Fleet Street.
Their line-up include:
- The Roop (Lithuania 2020 & 2021);
- James Newman (United Kingdom, 2021);
- Rasmussen (Denmark 2018);
- Kate Ryan (Belgium 2016);
- Anxhela Peristeri (Albania 2021);
- Destiny (Malta 2015 and 2021);
- Susanne Georgi (Andorra 2009);
- Katrina And The Waves (UK, 1987).
In some participating countries, Eurovision is a fiercely gay affair. Stanley Street is the main ‘pink’ area of Liverpool, equivalent to Manchester‘s Canal Street.
So here are a few LGBTQIA+ venues for some queer action.
- Heaven, after-hours nightclub.
- Superstar Boudoir, underground basement club.
- Gbar, underground nightclub.
- Garlands, gay dance club with big drag queen vibe.
- Dorothy Showbar Liverpool, ft. drag acts.
- OMG Liverpool, gay dance club and party venue.
- The Lisbon, more of a pub.
- The Masquerade, ‘Liverpool’s friendliest gay bar’.
- The Navy Bar, party bar.
- Jupiter’s Bar, a cosy pub.
- Poste House, gay-friendly, welcoming all.
- Dolphin Sauna, for some hot action.
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