Eurovision: Glasgow bids to be back-up host venue for music contest

Glasgow is to launch a bid to host the Eurovision song contest next year if Ukraine is unable due to the ongoing Russian invasion.

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SNP council leader Susan Aitken revealed officials had started “informal” and “hypothetical” talks about the Scottish city playing host to the event at a full council meeting today.

Green councillor Leodhas Massie lodged a motion calling for Glasgow to step forward as a host, highlighting the city’s experience at holding events including COP26 and the Commonwealth Games.

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Pointing out the idea has cross party support, Councillor Massie said: “It is our wish that Ukraine is in the position to hold the competition next May.”

But he called for conversations to take place with Government ministers about the possibility of Scotland’s largest city hosting the event if Ukraine cannot.

Sam Ryder, representing the UK, onstage at the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 held in May this year in Turin. (Photo by Marco Bertorello/Getty Images)

The motion, which was seconded by Green Councillor Anthony Carroll, pointed out the European Broadcasting Union has announced talks with the BBC about holding the Eurovision in second place UK due to the ongoing war.

The Green motion also congratulated Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra for their “emphatic win” at last month’s Eurovision.

Councillor Aitken said “Glasgow is extremely well placed and should clearly be the frontrunner in the UK. However Ukraine does still seek to host the Eurovision song contest if they are able and I think they need to be given the time and space to explore that as much as possible.”

Councillor Aitken said in an accepted amendment: “Council understands that although early discussions have taken place about the possibility of Glasgow acting as host or co-host of the 2023 contest should a replacement city be necessary, these must remain hypothetical and high level until such a time as it may be confirmed that Ukraine is not in a position to host. If that is confirmed and the UK government seeks expressions of interest from potential hosts, council instructs the chief executive to submit on Glasgow’s behalf.”

Labour Councillor Patricia Ferguson said: “The Labour group stands wholeheartedly behind the intention of this motion and the amendment.”

Councillor Ferguson added: “We look forward to working on a cross party basis with others in the council to make this happen.”

Describing himself as a “lifelong fan” of Eurovision, Conservative councillor John Daly said: “It is a wonderful privilege for the city of Glasgow to step up to support the people of Ukraine by hosting the Eurovision song contest.”