When Eurovision came to Liverpool

At The Emergency Services Show, visitors learned that strong relationships built through the work of local resilience forums pay huge dividends when major events come calling. Hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine saw Liverpool at its very best as thousands of visitors converged on the city back in May 2023.

Speaking in the Lessons Learned Leaders’ Summit sponsored by Coventry University’s simulation centre, Sue Gibson, Head of City Events at Liverpool City Council, told the audience that it was a shock when they learned that they had won the honour of hosting Eurovision. Like most people, Sue thought that Eurovision was a one night affair but quickly learned that it would take over the city for 9 days and involve every agency imaginable.

Sue was joined on this fascinating panel by Jonathan Davies from Merseyside Police, Liam Phelan from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Mike Buratti from HM Coastguard.

Dealing with cyber attacks, rail strikes and protestors, Jonathan Davies and Liam Phelan shared the police’s experience of the lead up to Eurovision. He stressed that the agencies on this panel and the wider membership of the local resilience forum were well prepared to deal with a major event and used learning from exercises as well to ensure that the city’s population and visitors had an enjoyable and safe time.

The role of the coastguard was clear as Mike Buratti recalled his experience of planning for Eurovision. The city of Liverpool is on the River Mersey and the docks present particular risks. He said that the event was a good opportunity to share water safety advice and engage with visitors on land as well as providing a watching eye from the water itself.

While the visitors to The Emergency Services Show had the privilege of hearing first hand how Liverpool responded to the challenge of hosting Eurovision, there is another opportunity to do so with a special one day event hosted by Culture Liverpool called ‘Liverpool Calling and the results are in.’ The event hosted by StandOut Magazine at ACC Liverpool on 26 October sees Sue, Liam and Jonathan gathered together again but this time with Martin Green CBE, the MD of Eurovision Free tickets to attend are available from the link below.