Wirral has been getting into the party spirit for this week’s Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, with a showstopping new look on the waterfront and a smorgasbord of celebrations across the borough.
One of the most striking landmarks on the Wirral waterfront – the iconic Woodside ventilation tower – has been lit up to showcase the borough to thousands of visitors in Liverpool, and a potential audience of millions across the globe.
The tower burst into colour for the first time on Monday 8 May, with an eye-catching projection and light show which will run every night this week after dark until late finishing with the contest’s grand final on Saturday 13 May.
The show features a celebration of Eurovision and another high-profile international event – The 151st Open which returns to Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake in July. It also shines a light on the regeneration of Birkenhead and the wider Left Bank.
David Hughes, Director of Regeneration and Place at Wirral Council said, “With the eyes of the world on our neighbours in Liverpool this week, this is an unmissable opportunity to direct attention across the Mersey and showcase Wirral’s own outstanding waterfront.”
The display, which runs on a 10-minute loop onto the side of the tower facing Liverpool, has been created by Birkenhead-based creative technology company Focal Studios.
It has been funded as part of Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s three-year, £44.4m UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “The chance to have a global spectacle like Eurovision on our doorstep is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often, which is why it’s fantastic to see different parts of our community pulling together to make it an unforgettable experience for locals and visitors alike.
“If anywhere is capable of putting on a show that visitors will remember for the rest of their lives, it’s the Liverpool City Region. Home to the Grand National Festival, the Eurovision Song Contest, the Battle of the Atlantic anniversary celebrations and The Open – we are undoubtedly the UK’s cultural capital!”
The best views of the display will be from the Eurovision Village at the Pier Head – www.visitliverpool.com
Whilst the show has not been primarily designed for audiences to view on the Birkenhead side of the river, anyone popping down for a glimpse after dark is asked to be considerate of others in the area and to park within marked bays or car parks within the vicinity of the waterfront. Images and film of the display will also feature on Wirral Council’s social media channels.
Dennis Outten from Focal Studios added, “We are delighted to have produced this show as part of Wirral’s Eurovision welcome. As a company we were born in Liverpool but made in Birkenhead.
“We can’t wait to showcase this incredible and historic building and fly the flag for creative technology businesses in the Liverpool City Region. A huge thanks to our production partners Adlib and the operations teams at Merseytravel, Peel Ports and Stena Line who have helped make it possible.”
Further up the Left Bank of the Mersey, The Dips in New Brighton have received a temporary makeover, with Wirral Council’s Parks and Countryside Service painting the Eurovision logo on the grass. At the Floral Pavilion, anyone who missed out on tickets for Saturday’s grand final in Liverpool can join in the excitement with a large-scale screening.
Across the borough, Wirral’s communities, venues and creative organisations have been staging events and screenings and taking part in various initiatives running across the Liverpool City Region in the build-up to the main events.
New Brighton hosted an inspiring EuroFestival event featuring 450 schoolchildren from across the Liverpool City Region on Friday 5 May. ‘Land of Sky, Hope and Dreams’ saw the children, including pupils from Woodlands Primary School, uniting with youngsters in Ukraine for a poignant kite-flying display, representing their soaring dreams and shared aspirations.
Williamson Art Gallery & Museum have been involved in a photography trail called ‘Home’ as part of EuroFestival – Liverpool’s two-week celebration of art, culture and powerful message. Hoylake-based artist Ling Warlow challenged herself to create the national flowers of all Eurovision participating countries using paper, which are now on display at the World Museum in Liverpool.
Children and young people across Wirral have been getting Eurovision-ready by participating in the EuroLearn programme, which has seen a variety of celebrations of music, poetry and theatre taking place in their schools and other educational settings.
Members of Ladymount Primary Choir were chosen to take part in the Mihi (mini in Ukranian) Eurovision celebration, where they joined up with a Ukrainian school to perform a song in their native language. Woodchurch Road Primary performed at Birkenhead Park’s Dancing in the Park event on Saturday 29 April, which brought together traditional dances from Ukraine, India and England.
Four Wirral Schools also worked with a local artist to design a Wirral Eurovision egg which is part of a public art trail currently on display at Liverpool ONE.
Eight Wirral-based community organisations have received funding from the EuroGrants scheme to run Eurovision-related activities, including Wirral Change, The Positivitree and Nightingales with Rek41.
In the lead up to Eurovision, Wirral Council has worked with participants of the Homes 4 Ukraine scheme to maximise the involvement of Ukrainians and their host families living in the borough with Eurovision and the wider celebrations.
David Hughes continued, “We are proud to be part of the Eurovision celebrations across the Liverpool City Region and have worked hard to give our communities the chance to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event. It has been fantastic to see the inspiring, heart-warming, and creative ways in which the borough has welcomed Eurovision and strengthened our connections with Ukraine.”