Organisers pledge to reflect “what Ukraine and its people deserve” as they host the 2023 contest.
Organisers of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool say they want to put on “the best show for Ukraine”.
Ukraine’s entrant Kalush Orchestra won May’s contest, however the event will not be staged in the country due to the Russian invasion.
It will be held instead in Liverpool following the UK’s selection as hosts after coming second with Sam Ryder.
Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, said the city would reflect “what Ukraine and its people deserve”.
“We’re just hosting it, it’s their party,” she told BBC Radio 4 Today.
The decision to host the event in Liverpool was announced during the BBC’s One Show on Friday. The city beat off competition from bookmakers’ favourite Glasgow and nearly 20 other cities in the UK.
Ms McColgan said: “This is a very different Eurovision, which is why were we’re so excited and keen to do this, because we know we can do the best show for Ukraine because that’s who this is for.”
She added organisers would use “intel and insight” from Liverpool’s twin city Odessa to celebrate the country’s culture during the broadcasts and cultural programmes.
Liverpool’s statues will be decorated with traditional Ukrainian headdresses and local schools will link up with counterparts in the war-torn country, which was invaded by Russia in February.
Ms McColgan said Liverpool wanted to “stand in solidarity with Ukraine and do them proud”, adding organisers had the “passion to support and wrap our arms around… we got you, let’s see how we can help you”.
She added they would “show how music and creativity can bring unity in times of just hideousness”.
Kalush Orchestra, who will perform at the Liverpool event, said they were “sad” Ukraine would not host the contest, but that “playing in the same place that The Beatles started out will be a moment we’ll never forget”.
They added: “We know that the people of Liverpool will be warm hosts and the organisers will be able to add a real Ukrainian flavour to Eurovision 2023.”
Taras Khomych, a priest in the city’s Ukrainian community, said: “Under the circumstances, local Ukrainians found [the announcement] very comforting.”
He said Eurovision could enable Ukrainian customs to become “more integrated” in the life of Liverpool and “develop our cultural clubs and choirs”.
📞 Liverpool City Region calling https://t.co/ij7gaeISMb— Mayor Steve Rotheram (@LCRMayor)
Demand has soared for the city’s accommodation during the events, which will be held in the week running up to the final on 13 May 2023, with the cheapest rooms available on the Booking.com website advertised for at least £600.
It is expected the wider north-west region will also see a boost, with previous contenders Manchester – about an hour’s commute – accommodating visitors.