Sheffield is ready to host Eurovision and show off the best of the region – Oliver Coppard
We have the places, the heritage and the passion that Eurovision deserves. Ours is a bid supported by the entire region. So let’s open this Bucks Fizz and bring the 2023 Song Contest to South Yorkshire.
I can’t think of a city and region that epitomizes Eurovision more. I don’t need to remind you of our incredible musical heritage, its breadth, genres and decades – Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Human League, Self Esteem, Def Leppard, Joe Cocker…
And of course, we have an exceptional track record in organizing world events – World Snooker, the Women’s Euro, the Tour de France. In all respects, there is only one choice, and that is South Yorkshire.
But we must not forget that the 2023 contest is not ordinary. This year’s winners, the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra, performed in Turin amid brutal Russian bombardment of their home country. It is in these dire circumstances that the legitimate hosts cannot guarantee that their country will be safe enough to put on Eurovision, so the baton has been passed to us, the finalists to hold it on their behalf.
As the 2022 finalist, Briton Sam Ryder said, it’s Ukraine’s Day, we just invite them to hold it at our house. And Sheffield is the obvious home for this particular holiday.
South Yorkshire has strong ties to Ukraine. Sheffield is twinned with the eastern city of Donetsk, a city that unfortunately saw some of the most brutal battles of the war. Our families here have welcomed hundreds of refugees fleeing the fighting. Sheffield was the UK’s first sanctuary city, a place proud of the welcome it offers to refugees and those seeking safety.
And it’s not just Sheffield that will be hosting this party – don’t get me wrong, Sheffield has more than enough on offer to rival the biggest cities in the UK – but it’s an offer backed by all of the region. South Yorkshire has come together, with every corner of our region working in partnership to make this happen here. We also – and above all – work closely with our Ukrainian communities, to ensure that our offer reflects the culture of the country and represents Ukraine in the best possible way. It’s their party here.
And nobody throws a party like in South Yorkshire.
We are home to Tramlines, Europe’s largest city center music festival. Typical of South Yorkshire’s innovative, do-it-yourself attitude, the festival began as a free event covering Sheffield’s iconic music venues, but has since grown into a major festival attracting some of the area’s biggest artists. His spirit remains in the Fringe at Tramlines – a free music program spreading the atmosphere throughout the city.
We all watched and cheered on the Lionesses this summer as Sheffield transformed into a football festival. We welcomed fans from the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, we danced with them on Devonshire Green, we clapped and sang with them as they walked down Bramall Lane. Our communities embraced the colour, music and joy they brought to South Yorkshire, the home of football.
This is South Yorkshire’s time to shine. We are home to a vibrant popular cultural scene and have the experience of hosting world-class international events like the World Snooker Championships every year. Our cultural offering rivals any in the country, with the largest theater scene outside of London. Ours is a region of creators and makers, we are full of talented people who can shake things up, who break the mold and push boundaries
South Yorkshire is my home, I was born and raised here. I know we have been beaten and bruised by the decline of industry, our confidence shaken, undermined by austerity. We hesitated to shout about ourselves, to stand up and show the world what we are capable of. For too long things have been done in South Yorkshire, it’s time we did things for South Yorkshire.
It’s Ukraine Day, and we will welcome them, with them into our home and in solidarity with their fight.
It would mean the world for South Yorkshire to host Eurovision 2023 in Ukraine. Sheffield is the birthplace of music and we really throw one hell of a house party.