Eurovision 2023: Could it be held in Bristol, where might it be staged and when is it scheduled to take place?

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees announced that Bristol had bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 at the Bristol Pride Day Festival.

Bristol joined a number of fellow UK cities in revealing their bid to host next year’s iteration of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The popular competition was won by Ukraine in 2022, but due to the ongoing conflict with Russia the winners are unable to host it in 2023.

Therefore, that right has been passed on to the United Kingdom, who finished second with Sam Ryder’s performance of ‘Space Man’.

In terms of where in the country the song contest will take place is still up in the air, but what are the chances that Bristol’s bid will be accepted and does the city have what it takes to host Eurovision 2023? Here is everything you need to know.

What is Eurovision?

Ryder rose to TikTok fame during lockdown. Photo: Elektra Music Group.

The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) - known simply as Eurovision - is an international songwriting competition organised by the European Broadcasting Union.

The competition, which began in May 1956, gathers performers that represent each of the 66 participating European countries and pits them against each other.

26 countries make it to the grand finals of the event, with the winner being the country who received the most points from their competition, who judge and mark each live performance.

It attracts hundreds of millions of live viewers annually and creates a feverish cultural music extravaganza across the continent.

When is Eurovision 2023 scheduled to take place?

Eurovision 2023 is scheduled to take place in the month of May.

The exact dates are yet to be confirmed at the time of publication, but will be updated as soon as the information is made available.

Have Bristol bid to host Eurovision 2023?

Bristol Pride marches through the city centre. Photo by Dan Regan.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees announced that the city had placed a bid to host next year’s singing competition during the Bristol Pride Day Festival on Saturday, 9 July 2022.

The announcement was made via video message shortly preceding the headline performance of Carly Rae Jepsen at the festival.

In the video broadcasted in front of over 20,000 people in attendance at the LGBTQ+ event, Mr Rees said: “Hello Pride, this is Bristol calling”.

“It’s great that everyone is here, in person, for Bristol Pride and I’m excited to talk about another opportunity for Bristol to come together again.

"Despite winning the Eurovision Song Contest in May, incredibly sadly, Ukraine won’t host the contest in 2023 and the BBC have been asked to take on Eurovision next year.

"As a global and diverse City of Sanctuary, Bristol can be the caretaker of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We’re working in partnership with YTL Arena Bristol on a bid to bring Eurovision to the Brabazon Hangars.

"Bristol has the perfect site where we can custom build the perfect Eurovision Song Contest. We’ve got the Space, Man. You’ll see what I’ve done there,” he joked, referring to the Sam Ryder hit track ‘Space Man’ at this year’s competition.

"Bristol’s ready with a really strong bid and we need you to help us bring this home. We have posted this on social media - please share it.

"Tell the world how much you want Bristol to be the next home of Eurovision using our hashtag #ThisIsBristolCalling."

Which venues in the city could stage the event?

Bristol is a home to various venues, arenas and entertainment hubs that could host Eurovision shows and performances in 2023.

Ashton Gate Stadium - which despite being home to Bristol City Football Club - is already regularly used for musical gigs and concerts, with big names such as Elton John performing there recently.

The O2 Academy venue, which will almost definitely be too small and intimate, might be put forward by city officials.

Not only that, but the city has announced similar plans to that of Copenhagen in 2014, signalling the idea to turn old aeroplane hangers into pop-up venues.

The Brabazon Hangars, which will soon become the future home to the YTL Arena Bristol, will be a 17,000 seater arena which will provide the largest indoor facility in the region.

What are Bristol’s chances of hosting Eurovision in 2023?

On paper, Bristol as a city has everything that would make it an attractive prospect to host Eurovision in 2023 - aside from the venues.

Not only is the city one of the top cultural destinations in the UK, it also has a reputation of being able to host big events such as Bristol Pride (25,000 people), Bristol Harbourside Festival (200,000 people) and Bristol Balloon Fiesta (500,000 people).

The city has its own international airport, as well as close links to other major airports such as Cardiff, Heathrow and Birmingham.

Hotels are plenty to host the hundreds of thousands of people who will dash to the city to celebrate the event, whether that is by going to the venues to watch the competition directly or heading to a local pub or bar for a viewing or a party.

However, when you compare Bristol’s chances to that of other big UK cities that have put their names in consideration, the likes of Newcastle, Birmingham and the British capital of London, it is unlikely that the bid will be accepted as Bristol can not compare.

London for example has several stadiums, entertainment venues, arenas like Wembley, as well as having the status of being a capital city makes it a far more attractive prospect in comparison.

It has the space to host such a huge scale international event, when in comparison Bristol will not be able to match.