Eurovision 2023: Expert gives assessment on Bristol’s chances of hosting song contest

Bristol joins Liverpool, Glasgow and Leeds in bidding to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest

The team behind Bristol’s bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year will need to be ‘really creative’ to stand a chance, a competition expert has warned.

On Saturday, Mayor Marvin Rees announced the bid to bring the world famous show to the city at Bristol Pride. He said the event would be held at the iconic Brabazon Hangars in Filton.

The council is now working in partnership with YTL Arena Bristol, which has longer term plans to turn the hangars site into an arena by 2024.

And it is the turning of an industrial site into a pop-up music event attended by thousands of people which could provide a challenge for the city in its bid, said William Lee Adams, founder of Wiwibloggs, the world’s most-followed independent Eurovision website.

Speaking with Claire Cavanagh on BBC Radio Bristol this morning (July 11), Mr Lee Adams said he wanted the ‘Olympics of music’ to come to the city, but warned that the task will be harder without the arena yet built.

Sam Ryder, representing the United Kingdom, performs on stage during the Grand Final show of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest at Pala Alpitour . Picture: Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images

He said: “The most important thing is to nail the venue - I think if the YTL arena was already complete it would be a no-brainer, it a vast - but in the plan they are talking about repurposing hangars for a pop-up venue.

“Now, something like this has been done in the past so you can pull it off but I think what’s critical is making it clear you can turn those abandoned hangars into a pop-up music event space.”

He added: “[In] Copenhagen back in 2013, they used an abandoned shipyard with large hangars and they turned it into a musical space and it looked amazing on TV.

People were saying it was one of the best TV moments in Eurovision history, they loved the stage and the atmosphere - so you can make it work but you have to be really creative because you don’t want people to know they are in this abandoned space, you want them to feel like they are in the O2, or Manchester Arena.”

Mr Lee Adams said it would take a full year to plan the event, and the city would have to show it had the hotel space, transport and track record in holding major events to win the the bid.

He said it would present a huge tourism opportunity for the city.

Bristol is up against the likes of Liverpool, Glasgow and Leeds.

The UK will host the event after it was deemed Ukraine, which won this year’s event, could not hold it next year due to the ongoing war with Russia.

The announcement by Mr Rees has been widely shared on social media.

He said: “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.”

BristolWorld has approached YTL Developments for comment.