To the people of Liverpool,
Thank you for embracing Eurovision with all of it’s absurdities and idiosyncracies for the previous few weeks, especially the last eight days. I know with my few past attendances I’d never seen anything like it previously, but even colleagues and friends who’ve been doing this for decades agreed, this was something special. We spent the week marveling at your warmth and hospitality.
From the moment I got off the bus on the Saturday before the Contest a scouse grandma approached, greeting me with a “Not leaving so soon are you love?”. Once I reassured her that I had, in fact, just arrived and why I was there she was delighted and wished me a nice time in the city. A warmer and friendlier welcome, I could not have asked for.
My taxi driver taking me to my AirBnB was full of recommendations for the area. Naturally, I’d have no time for such explorations, with all things Eurovision filling the week, but I was so thankful that he made the effort. The taxi drivers all week were curious and asking questions, even in the early hours of the morning. As most folks will know, we Eurofans are happy to talk all things Contest at any time.
The scale of the events taking place throughout the city was unfathomable. There was just no possible way for one person to do it all. Eurovision events, Ukrainian culture, Liverpool music and cultural celebrations…there really was something for everyone. And whilst there may have been some serious organisational issues the welcome concert put on by The National Lottery was a great start to the festivities.
I’ve seen Stockholm and Lisbon welcome the Contest, as well as living in a city that’s home to a month long cultural festival every August. I’ve seen and felt the fatigue one experiences when these major events take place in a city. That feeling when the novelty wears a little thinner and the everyday practicalities are so much harder. Never once did I get that feeling from the wonderful scoursers.
Being a proud Scot it was naturally a tremendous disappoint when Glasgow wasn’t chosen. In fact, it hurt. But in reality, no other city could do what Liverpool did. No other city could welcome the thousands with open arms in the same way as our hosts. It’s no wonder that Eurovision boss Martin Osterdahl wants Liverpool to host every year, it really was the perfect city.
Over to you, Stockholm.