Glitterball jellyfish and blue and yellow submarines for Liverpool's Eurovision cultural festival

The Liver Building was lit up in celebration of Liverpool becoming Eurovision hosts Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

A huge glitterball jellyfish and blue and yellow submarines will parade through the streets of Liverpool as the birthplace of The Beatles prepares to host Eurovision.

The first details of the city's fortnight-long cultural EuroFest have been unveiled with 24 brand new commissions, many collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists.

Liverpool was selected in October 2022 to host the song contest on behalf of last year's winners Ukraine, giving organisers just seven months to plan the build-up and the event itself.

Claire McColgan CBE, Director of Culture Liverpool, said, "A programme like this with its complexities and depth would take at least a year in development.

"A huge amount of credit needs to be given to the artists from the UK and Ukraine who understand the speed at which we are working, and have opened their hearts and minds to create something truly brilliant."

The Kazimier worked with Culture Liverpool to create this installation for the 2022 River of Light festival

Running from Monday 1 to Sunday 14 May 2023, the festival will transform the city as fans from across the world descend on Liverpool for the contest.

Details of four headline commissions have been released alongside the names of all of the organisations taking part.

Inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan United by Music, The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier is a huge outdoor underwater sea disco.

The mass participation event promises to include hundreds of performers and incredible music.

The English National Opera does Eurovision will bring together two very different musical worlds into one epic outdoor performance with live chorus and orchestra.

On a more poignant note, Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska will transform Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland.

She said, "For many the train is the only means to escape war. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country.

"Izyum to Liverpool is about the fragility of our environment, our lives and of the landscape surrounding us."

Finally, Rave Ukraine aims deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv which will be streamed across the world.

The commission is a celebration of the uniting power of music and the resilience of Ukrainians throughout the last year to keep making music, dancing and celebrating culture.

Nearly 700 people and organisations responded to an initial call for ideas in December.

The final commissions were chosen through a process which included the BBC, British Council, Ukrainian Institute and Liverpool City Council's cultural service Culture Liverpool.

Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko said, "I am thrilled to see so many talented Ukrainian artists collaborating with their British counterparts to create unique and inspiring projects celebrating our shared love of music and culture.

"As we continue to build up closer ties between Ukraine and the UK, events like EuroFest will help to deepen our cultural connections and foster greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s traditions and heritage."

The festival has received support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

More details around the schools and community programme, plans for the EuroVillage and other Eurovision specific events will be made public in the coming weeks.

The list of collaborators taking part in EuroFest which can be revealed are:

  • Amigo & Amigo, Svitlana Reinish, Anton Dehtiarov, M3 Industries, Black_Box

  • Artists on the Frontline and Parade-Fest

  • BBC Storyville Live

  • Black Gold Arts, First Take, Homotopia, Hackney Showroom and RubyLemon

  • Bluecoat and The Jam Factory, Lviv

  • English National Opera

  • Go Fly Your Kite and the Junior Academy of Science Kyiv

  • Invisible Wind Factory

  • Jamala

  • Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture

  • Liverpool Cathedral and Katya Buchatska

  • Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Sheep Soup

  • Port and Katya Taylor

  • Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep, Krapka;KOMA and Helleroid

  • National Museums Liverpool

  • Northern Town and Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates

  • Open Eye Gallery

  • The Reading Agency and BBC Arts

  • Slukh.Media, Sonia Chapman and Perfectionist.London

  • Tate Liverpool

  • Unity Theatre and Yurii Radionov

  • Whispered Tales and Denys Kashchei