Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan, reflects on the city’s incredible Eurovision experience…
Well, thank you Liverpool, our Ukrainian friends, the EBU and the brilliant BBC.
As all the sequins, disco balls and flags get packed away and the numbers regarding economic impact and the crunching of figures come out. I want to reflect on what this city has done well, because it is important.
In cities that aren’t London, it is easy to have one narrative, one story, a history that can dominate your present.
But Liverpool is different, Liverpool is complex. And that’s why I love it. It has highs and lows like nowhere else. It has a big outspoken heart and an opinion for basically everything. It is contrary and confrontational. Kind and emotional. And it loves to party.
That’s why Eurovision has supersized here. Everything that is brilliant about Eurovision, especially this special year that we are hosting it on behalf of Ukraine, fits with Liverpool.
The bonkers-ness, the brashness, the heart and the authenticity, everything we have done has had Ukraine in the centre of it, because that is who we are.
This has been different to any other event because this is an arts event. Not the Olympics, or the Commonwealth Games, it’s about music. And I think over the last two weeks in Liverpool we have shown the UK and the rest of the world that if you invest in culture properly, if you have the right people with the right attitude, magic can – and will – happen.
If councils across the country are looking at Liverpool now they will see the power of investing in culture over the long term.
Because this city learnt how to do this in 2008 and built on that success with great thought, great passion and great commitment through a sometimes stormy backdrop.
And the returns will come. If I was 18 choosing where to go to university, if I was a young investor wanting to locate my business, if I was a kid in a Liverpool school, I would look at this city and say, ‘I want to go there. I want to be there and most importantly I want to do that.’
So, here’s to the arts, because this is great art. Here’s to events. Here’s to the brilliant team in Culture Liverpool.
And finally here’s to my city. Liverpool take a bow. It’s been boss.
Claire McColgan CBE, Director of Culture, Liverpool City Council