Eurovision fans in Brighton and Hove will have to party in front of a screen next year because the event will not be returning to the city.
Brighton and Hove faced its own Waterloo as the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest drew up their shortlist for the location. The seven shortlisted cities are believed to be Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield. A formal announcement is due in the morning.
Unfortunately for Brighton and Hove, it lacks a big enough suitable venue to meet the BBC requirements to host the annual competition.
Britain is hosting the event for war-torn Ukraine which won the contest this year although the UK entry – Spaceman by Sam Ryder – which came second did win the initial jury vote.
But the popular vote meant that Ukraine’s entry – Stefania by the Kalush Orchestra – soared into first place.
Eurovision was held in Brighton – at the Dome – in 1974 after Luxembourg declined to host it two years in a row.
Abba won with Waterloo – and the UK’s entry, Long Live Love, was performed by Olivia Newton-John who died this week aged 73.
Katie Boyle hosted the event, with 17 countries taking part. British judges awarded Abba nil points, prompting claims of tactical voting to try to engineer a British victory.
Today up to 50 countries can take part in the competition which has two qualifying semi-finals as well as the grand final viewed by millions around the world.
According to Eurovision World, the host city must be served by an international airport with a venue large enough to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators, a press centre for 1,500 journalists, and hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators.
Green council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “We have now received information from the BBC on hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Unfortunately, we don’t have the infrastructure the BBC requires.
“But we love Eurovision and are still determined to support the event. Our Visit Brighton team will be working with our partner businesses – venues, hotels, restaurants and shops – to encourage them to show their support for Eurovision in any way they can.
“This is a city that knows how to celebrate and have fun. So we’ll be inviting people everywhere to come and soak up the Eurovision party atmosphere here in one of the UK’s most popular, free-thinking and cosmopolitan cities.”
Conservative councillor Alistair McNair, whose wife is Ukrainian, wrote recently for Brighton and Hove News: “Eurovision 2023 must be hosted by Ukrainians, produced by Ukrainians and directed by Ukrainians – with Ukrainians … taking centre stage.”
Read his article in full here.