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EuroFestival will take over Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision

Liverpool has unveiled a pre-party to end all pre-parties as details are revealed of a unique, never-before-seen cultural festival, EuroFestival, that will take over the city in May.

EuroFestival will take place from 1-14 and is a first for a Eurovision host city, as it presents 24 commissions – 19 of which are collaborative projects between UK and Ukrainian artists – to showcase the uniting power of music and art.

EuroFestival will take over Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision

One of the most ambitious projects, Soloveiko Songbirds, will see 12, large scale, light-up nightingales located around the city. Each songbird will be designed with unique plumage and accompanied by bespoke audio soundscapes to represent different regions of Ukraine. When viewed collectively, the songbirds will make up a beautiful trail that can be followed by the public over the two-week festival.

EuroFestival will take over Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision

Surrounded by thousands of sandbags to replicate the way statues in Ukraine are being protected from bombardment, the Nelson Monument, located in Exchange Flags, will host Protect the Beats. Within the structure will be screens premiering a new short documentary that highlights how live music and performance continued throughout last year, showing in one piece the protection of both physical and musical culture.

Working with 450 children from Ukraine and 450 children from across Merseyside, Land & Sky, Home & Dreams, will connect both groups of children in a simultaneous mass participation event. The kites, which the children have designed and painted themselves, will be flown in New Brighton and in four other locations across Ukraine.

EuroFestival will take over Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision

Tapping into Eurovision’s United by Music ethos will be Welcome to Eurotopia – a ‘Supergroup’ made up of Liverpool musicians collaborating with Ukrainian artists. The group will perform a mix of original and existing music, in off-the-charts Euro-typical costume and glamour. Highlights from the line-up include Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep, She Drew The Gun’s Lou Roach and Ukrainian artists Krapka KomaIryna Muha and Helleroid among many more.

EuroFestival will take over Liverpool in the run-up to Eurovision

Ukrainian Eurovision Song Contest winner and singer-songwriter Jamala will also premiere an extraordinary and poignant new album of music based around Crimean Tatar folk songs and accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as part of QIRIM on 11 May.

With Fire and Rage is an immersive audio experience (accessed via QR codes located around the city) following the stories of artists on the frontline in Ukraine. Combining testimony with video, visual art, poetry and music, this smartphone adventure explores the powerful role creativity plays in the face of invasion. The journey leads viewers from music concerts in metro stations during air raids, to smuggling artworks out of cities as rockets fall, to puppet shows live-streamed out of bomb shelters. Set against the backdrop of Liverpool, public locations will take on new meaning as audiences engage with acts of cultural resilience and the stories of the people behind them. 

The Unity Theatre will also act as a hub for various theatre performances engaging Ukrainian artists across theatre pieces, poetry and food offerings. Some of the commissions within this strand of the festival programme will be performed at partner venues including the Invisible Wind Factory. At Unity, Ukrainian theatre director, writer and actor Yurii Radionov will present UKRLAND: Stories from Ukraine, and the world premiere of the newly commissioned Maria, featuring five refugee Ukrainian actors from across the UK. The Invisible Wind Factory will be the location for the critically acclaimed contemporary media-opera Chornobyldorf.

Elsewhere, fans will be able to experience EuroCamp presents…, an LGBTQI+ focussed three-day festival in Chavasse Park featuring drag, performance, choreography, vogue, music, carnival, circus and more. Xpressia Festival, an underground counterculture festival, will be brought to life in several locations across Liverpool. Storyville Live, will see the award-winning documentary series stage its first ever film festival at the Everyman Cinema, celebrating both Ukrainian and music documentaries, whilst HOME will showcase Ukrainian photographers examining the concept of ‘Home’ at the Open Eye Gallery, accompanied by a new collection of poetry from leading names. Over the course of the two week period there will also be Queerovision, an online commission showing digital video reportage of Liverpool’s Queer Fringe throughout the festival period, and The People’s Flag, a mass participation dance event. The Big Eurovision Read, is a national project with The Reading Agency choosing a shortlist of books inspired by the theme of ‘United by Music’. 

In collaboration with Ukrainian curator Olena Kasperovych, the Dialogues project will be an evolving exhibition taking place at The Bluecoat. Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze will work alongside Liverpool-based artist Ellie Hoskins. Over the course of the Eurovision festival, prints and other artworks will gradually fill the galleries, charting the relationship between the collaborators. Sound of Freedom will also see large scale mural commissions from Ukrainian and UK artists placed around the city in high visibility spots. Late at Tate: The Spirit of EurovisionNational Museums Liverpool x Eurovision, and You’re a Vision! at theEveryman will also house activity across the two-week celebration.

The commissions announced today join a string of exciting projects already announced for EuroFestival including The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier, English National Opera does Eurovision, Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska and Rave UKraine.

EuroFestival has been made possible thanks to support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as well as The British Council, Spirit of 2012 and Arts Council England. The content partners are The Ukrainian Institute, the BBC, Liverpool ONE, The Liverpool BID and Royal Liverpool Albert Dock. 

For full details about EuroFestival visit the official Visit Liverpool website

READ MORE: Liverpool ONE kick-starts its Eurovision celebrations

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