Some have expressed an interest already; others are biding their time, but you sense Eurovision ambitions lurking within them. We take a look at both the bookies’ odds for whether they will host and what musical claim they have to be the site of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
N.B. we obviously don’t encourage betting…
Acts to have emerged from there: Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Texas, Simple Minds, Lewis Capaldi
The bookies’ favourites, it seems, Glasgow was in fact the first UK city to be named the UNESCO City of Music in 2008. Now, almost a decade-and-a-half later, they could be host to the most beloved of all music shows. Scotland’s largest city and a cheaper, more fun time than its fancier brother Edinburgh (where Eurovision took place in 1972), let’s not lie: Glasgow would be a right laugh. And the odds are in its favour – keep the heid!
Acts to have emerged from there: The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses, New Order, Joy Division, Everything Everything, Doves
Okay, so the Madchester and Britpop years which Manchester helped spawn don’t exactly chime with the sanitised pop that’s typical of Eurovision, but who cares? The city that’s been home to some of the biggest acts of our time would surely be happy to host – and it might even unite, if only briefly, the bitter divisions that normally sweeps the city between City and United, red and blue, The Red Devils and The Citizens. The BBC’s studios in Salford are also less than four miles from the city centre so, if anything, it’s convenient for our national broadcaster.
Acts to have emerged from there: Queen, David Bowie, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Pink Floyd, Blur, Stormzy
No doubt it could easily host, with a few venues that could easily put on a show, from The O2 to Wembley. But, you feel, it would be an unpopular choice to grant the capital this prestigious honour; amidst the many phrases we’ve been bombarded with by this government in recent years, “levelling-up” seems to have been an entirely valid one. (Albeit if it’s been ill-defined in practice). Nonetheless, London remains fairly high up on the list with the bookmakers.
Acts to have emerged from there: Black Sabbath, UB40, Duran Duran, Electric Light Orchestra, M1llionz, The Streets
We have two Brums at whynow HQ, not least Simon Brew, aka Brewdog, aka Brew-meister, aka the Bard of Brum, so we might be ever-so-slightly bias with this. Nonetheless, Birmingham has a strong claim to be host having done the job before in 1998, after Katrina & the Waves won the event the year prior. Birmingham’s show turned out to be a taboo-breaking one at that, with transsexual Israeli singer Dana International going on to be crowned champion. The UK came in second once more.
Acts to have emerged from there: The Beatles, The La’s, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Zutons, The Wombats, Atomic Kitten
A city with one of the biggest pieces of musical heritage on this list, but most likely, as in football, any victory here to host Eurovision and we probably wouldn’t hear the end of it for months. Eurovision already has plenty of chatter around it – just imagine if it were held in Liverpool. That said, Liverpool often gets a hard time from people outside it; once you’re on the inside, it’s a city that knows how to have a good time.
Acts to have emerged from there: Super Furry Animals, Stereophonics, Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church, Catatonia, Kids in Glass Houses, Mclusky
Given next year’s celebrations will also be in support of Ukraine (who would have hosted following their victory earlier this year), there are very strong links between Wales and Ukraine. In fact, the city of Donetsk was initially founded by Welshman John Hughes and as such was named Hughesovka. The Principality Stadium beckons. And if you don’t take my word for it, just follow our very own Grant Tucker on Twitter – he’ll convince you soon enough.
Acts to have emerged from there: Annie Lennox, Emeli Sandé, The Shamen, Lizzie Higgins
The second Scottish city on this list, Aberdeen boasts Scotland’s largest indoor venue, P&J Live, which is also conveniently near an airport and hosted the BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year ceremony in 2019. In fact, the Beeb’s director-general, Tim Davie, even reportedly said earlier this month that there was a “strong case” for it being in Aberdeen. Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart, meanwhile, tried to chuck everything at it, saying that as “the oil and gas capital of Europe with an ambition to be the net zero capital of Europe,” it would be “particularly fitting as the world’s attention is fixed on meeting climate change goals.”
Acts to have emerged from there: Van Morrison, Bicep, Oppenheimer, Window Seats
The only Northern Irish city on the list, Belfast is the ambassador for this part of the UK as a whole (and realistically the only really viable host there – unless Derry or Newtownabbey suddenly build arenas). To be fair, Belfast became a UNESCO City of Music last year – the most recent place on the list to be awarded such an accolade. And in a clear case of well-he-would-say-that-wouldn’t-he, Simon Hamilton, former DUP Economy Minister and chief executive of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, has said “Belfast would be perfect city for hosting Eurovision.” Maybe we should just relax and take his word for it.
Acts to have emerged from there: Kaiser Chiefs, Yard Act, Soft Cell, alt-J, Hood
The city of Leeds has confirmed it will “actively pursue” hosting next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, with the First Direct Arena touted as the city’s venue of choice. Given that neighbouring Bradford will be midway through its run as the UK City of Culture, local leaders say that Leeds hosting Eurovision would come at the perfect time for the city. “We are extremely disappointed that Ukraine will be unable to host in 2023,” council leader James Lewis and Cllr Jonathan Pryor said in a joint statement, “but it would be an honour to host on behalf of them, especially given that West Yorkshire is home to a large number of Ukrainians. If we are successful with our bid, we will be looking to get the local Ukrainian community involved with our plans as much as possible.”
Acts to have emerged from there: Sam Fender (well, North Shields), Sting, Cheryl Cole, Lighthouse Family
Another city to throw its hat into the ring early on, or at least confirm more subtly that it was “exploring” options to host the competition, Newcastle is an option. Its 11,000-capacity venue Utilita Arena could be ideal (the EBU are looking for venues with a capacity of more than 10,000), whilst pints are notoriously cheap there. It always helps. Councillor Alex Hay, cabinet member for tourism, said: “Newcastle is a welcoming, well-connected and ambitious city with a proven track record of staging world class events… we believe [it] would be a perfect host city.”
Acts to have emerged from there: Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Def Leppard, The Human League, Bring Me the Horizon
Sheffield has likewise entered the fray to be host. Twinned with the Ukrainian City of Donetsk (remember, the city that was originally founded by a Welshman), the city boasts its own Utilita Arena – this time with a maximum capacity of 13,600. The fact Sam Ryder performed at Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival over the weekend could be a win for the city; perhaps he fell in love with the place so much, he’ll simply demand next year’s Eurovision be hosted there.
Acts to have emerged from there: The Kooks, ArrDee, Conor Maynard, The Go! Team
Yet another previous host on the list, the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 took place in Brighton. The winner was a little-known band called ABBA, who were crowned champions with ‘Waterloo’. So by that logic, host in Brighton again and maybe a supergroup will once more emerge as champions, bringing us lifelong tunes and virtual reality pop stars to boot. The city’s well-known, thriving LGBT+ community, too, will no doubt know how to throw a good Eurovision party. The odds aren’t massively in the city’s favour, though.
Acts to have emerged from there: Young Fathers, The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall
Having previously hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972, Edinburgh could well be a contender – and probably won’t be enjoying the strong odds currently being given to its noisy neighbour (sort of), in Glasgow. Interestingly, Edinburgh has in fact been a sister city with the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, for over thirty years, so if anyone at European Broadcasting Union feels strongly about that initiative, then Edinburgh may well be in with a shout. MSP Miles Briggs seems to think it’s enough.
It is understandable that sadly Ukraine cannot plan to host Eurovision 2023.
Edinburgh successfully hosted the 17th Eurovision Song Contest in 1972.
Edinburgh and Kyiv have been sister cities for over 30 years and would be the perfect UK city to host the 2023 contest.🇬🇧🇺🇦🏴 1/2 https://t.co/Cs176hypEP
— Miles Briggs MSP (@Miles4Lothian) June 17, 2022
Acts to have emerged from there: Bent, Jake Bugg, London Grammar, Crazy P
Nottingham perhaps isn’t best known for its musical history (cue angry Nottinghamshire resident sending in their hate mail – by all means, I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise), but could this city pull of a Robin Hood-style robbery of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor? Of taking away the much-coveted role of Eurovision host from those higher up on this list, and giving it to the pop-deprived, celebratory residents of Nottingham. Probably not, but I’ve shoehorned a Nottingham-based analogy for you there.
Acts to have emerged from there: Massive Attack, IDLES, Portishead, Roni Size, Eats Everything
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has made a quite a deal on social media about why Bristol should be the host of next year’s Eurovision, saying that as a City of Sanctuary, it would make for the ideal “caretaker” host for Ukraine and put on a show that would “put Ukraine at the heart”. No doubt these are heartfelt intentions; given Bristol recently voted to scrap its mayoral role, and Mr. Rees is now seeing out his term until 2024, it would also make for a nice send-off for him.
Acts to have emerged from there: Kasabian, Easy Life, Engelbert Humperdinck
Stranger things have happened. Not least in Leicester, where the main football team were 5000/1 to be crowned Premier League champions. This by comparison, then, must surely be a doddle. Maybe the Leicester Eurovision Planning Committee – a name I’ve just completely made up – should rehire Claudio Ranieri to mastermind the city’s bid to host. Maybe then we can all finally have that party for Jamie Vardy.