Since this year’s Eurovision winner Ukraine was deemed unable to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest and EBU turned their focus in the United Kingdom to take over the hosting honours, many cities across the country have shown interest in the task. Bristol is the latest addition to the list, with an offering they describe as ‘similar to Copenhagen 2014’.
Until today, a total of fifteen British cities so far have shown sincere interest in hosting next year’s edition of Europe’s favourite TV show. Bristol joins this unprecedentedly long list contenders as number fifteen. Lviv and Kyiv in Ukraine, Brussels in Belgium and several other countries informally suggested as possible stand-in host countries have also been in the running for the biggest ever contest to host the contest.
The proposed venue
Nothing less than the birthplace of the iconic supersonic Concorde aircraft, the Brabazon Hangars are proposed arena for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Plans are currently underway to transform said hangars into an indoor arena with a capacity of 17.000 spectators. For Eurovision the place is offered as a blank canvas for a custom build Eurovision arena. Much like what we saw with the former shipyard that set the stage for the 2014 Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Should Bristol be chosen from the ever-growing list of cities interested in becoming the 2023 Host City, construction of the YTL Arena Bristol may get delayed. Currently construction is scheduled to start this year and be completed in 2024.
The city of Bristol
Bristol is home to just under half a million people, roughly the same size as many recent host cities.
They are no stranger to hosting large events. Every year the city hosts over 200,000 people over the Harbour Festival weekend and half a million people attend the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Over 20,000 people attend Bristol Pride, 25,000 attend Tokyo World, and 30,000 attend Forwards Festival.
Connectivity is no issue either with an international airport just south of the city. As stated by the Bristol City Council, they have ‘ample hotel space’ too. In their own words: “We’ve got the Space, Man.”
Tourists may know, or get to know the city for Castle Park, where the ruins of the Norman Bristol Castle can be seen, the gothic churches Bristol Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe or the Aerospace Bristol museum.
The list of cities in the running to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest currently includes (in alphabetical order):
Why the United Kingdom will host the contest
It’s both tradition and a rule that whoever wins the Eurovision Song Contest hosts the contest the following year, if possible. Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest with the Stefania performed by Kalush Orchestra, which would have given them the hosting rights. However, with the Russian invasion still raging in the country today, the EBU concluded that they cannot live up security requirements.
Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC, alongside many prominent Ukrainians, still claim that they can provide a safe environment for the roughly 40-thousand people expected to visit the Eurovision Host City.
With last year’s winner unable to host, EBU initiated talks with BBC to host the contest in the United Kingdom. It has been stressed numerous times that the 2023 contest will be organized ‘with respect to Ukraine and Ukrainian culture’. Sentiment again repeated in the Bristol bid.
United Kingdom was 2022’s runner up, with Space Man performed by Sam Ryder.