Eurovision: Glasgow confirms bid and says it will be 'the safest of safe pairs of hands'

Glasgow has officially entered the race to host the Eurovision Song Contest after organisers confirmed the musical event would be staged in the UK next year due to the war in Ukraine.

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 8:26 am

The city has declared it is “the safest of safe pair of hands” after hosting climate summit COP26 last year.

An official announcement confirmed Glasgow had been “working hard” on a bid since it emerged last month the UK could be asked to step in as hosts.

The council said Glasgow met all the “technical requirements” for the event, which could be worth more than £20 million for its economy, but could face competition from Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with both cities exploring potential bids.

The OVO Hydro in Glasgow was used for the filming of a Netlix movie featuring Eurovision, even though the story was actually set in Edinburgh.

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    Glasgow would appear to be the Scottish favourite, thanks to the 14,000-capacity of the OVO Hydro, the world’s second busiest music venue in 2019.

    The venue has already played host to the MOBO Awards, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and the MTV Europe Music Awards.

    London, Manchester and Sheffield have also announced bids to host Eurovision.

    When confirmation of talks between the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC first emerged last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared her support for the event being staged in Glasgow, stating: "I can think of a perfect venue on the banks of the River Clyde.”

    The OVO Hydro arena in Glasgow is expected to be at the heart of the city's bid to host Eurovision next year.

    The OVO Hydro was used for the filming of a Eurovision-inspired Netflix movie largely set in Edinburgh. The Scottish capital, which is twinned with Kyiv, may look to capitalise on its Eurovision heritage after hosting the 1972 contest at the Usher Hall.

    Aberdeen could be a contender thanks to the facilities at the 15,000-capacity P&J Arena.

    A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “Since it became a possibility that the UK might host on behalf of Ukraine, we’ve been working hard on our bid.

    “We know we meet all the technical requirements, and we know Glaswegians are desperate to welcome the world with open arms.

    “Time is now really short to organise the contest and, having recently hosted COP, we know Glasgow is the safest of safe pairs of hands.”

    Council leader Susan Aitken previously declared it was a “complete no-brainer” for Glasgow to host Eurovision, adding: “Glasgow stands ready to welcome all Eurovision fans to their true spiritual home. We are mentioned in an ABBA song, after all. It’s meant to be.”

    An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: "Aberdeen has a track record of delivering major international events and now that the European Broadcasting Union has confirmed that the BBC will host the 2023 Eurovision song contest, we will look at the next steps in terms of the shortlisting process.

    "The council has already instructed officers to continue the dialogue with relevant stakeholders and to look at the implications of hosting this international event and its huge fanbase.

    “Eurovision is a massive event with a worldwide audience. We have the city, people and infrastructure to support international events such as this, which would provide a major boost to the Aberdeen and Scottish economies, and raise the city’s profile."

    Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day said: "Edinburgh had the pleasure of hosting Eurovision 50 years ago at our very own Usher Hall.

    "Of course, I’d far rather the event was being held in Kyiv, but, as its sister city and new home to many thousands of Ukrainians, Edinburgh would be a fitting host.

    “Clearly, the scale of the event has grown since 1972, but we’ll look at all options and make a decision on whether to bid as soon as we can.”

    A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Whilst it is very disappointing that Ukraine cannot host the Eurovision Song Contest next year, we are pleased that it will be hosted in the United Kingdom.

    “It’s down to local authorities across the country to bid, which is, of course, a great honour for any city and country. We look forward to seeing how plans for next year’s contest develop.”

    Alister Jack, Scottish Secretary in the UK Government, said: “It’s a privilege for the UK to host Eurovision 2023, which will honour the people, culture and creativity of Ukraine.“With our rich musical history, great venues and friendly spirit, Scotland would be a fantastic place to hold the contest."