Will Eurovision Boost Music In Liverpool?
Eurovision is almost upon us, and while it was Ukraine that carried away the trophy last year, the likely reason they did so - the overwhelming public vote based on sympathy after the Russian invasion - also meant it had to be held in the country that came second.
Thanks to Sam Ryder, that meant the UK, after years of mediocre songs and nil points, was staging the event for the first time since 1998.
As the Evening Standard reports, the fact that Liverpool won the race to host the event has sparked hopes that I could do more than just bring a week of attention for the city, which became a UNESCO City of Music in 2015.
Head of UNESCO City of Music at Culture Liverpool Kevin McManus said: “The Beatles were about Liverpool, they couldn’t have come from anywhere but Liverpool, but actually it’s a mistake to just focus on The Beatles because we’ve got such a rich music tradition.”
That’s not to say that a budding Ringo Starr should not be looking for drum accessories, but the notion that the city’s whole musical culture is wrapped up in just one band, however iconic, is commonly believed, while also being quite inaccurate.
As Mr McManus noted, every decade has seen new talent emerging from the city, observing: “We’re in the Guinness Book of Records as the pop music capital of the world - we’ve had more number ones than any other city.”
All that might suggest that Liverpool does not actually need any musical boost as a result of Eurovision coming to town. But Mr McManus said the event will be a “godsend” for organisations like the British Music Experience charitable trust.
Moreover, he predicted, the benefits will not be confined to the attention the city gets in mid-May, commenting: “I think the impact over the next two or three years in hospitality and music in the city, and tourism, will be absolutely immense.”
Similarly, general manager of The Beatles Story museum on Albert Dock Mary Chadwick said: “I think for artists in the city it’s really important.”
The UNESCO Word Music City status clearly matters to Liverpool, not least because the same organisation axed the World Heritage status of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City in 2021, 17 years after it was awarded, due to objections over the way the northern docklands were being redeveloped, not least the construction of Everton’s new football stadium.
It was a decision that inevitably sparked much anger in a city where football and the economic renewal of deprived areas are big issues, but the contribution music and the arts makes to Liverpool and its economy - and what it may make in the future - are the focus right now.
However, while Liverpool might gain as a city, it is also individuals inspired by Eurovision to pick up an instrument and learn to play it who may be the greatest beneficiaries of all. Indeed, they may be the ones responsible for bringing the event back to Britain one day in the future.