Thousands of tickets will be made available for displaced Ukrainians to attend the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May.
The Government has agreed that around 3,000 tickets will be made available for those Ukrainians who have been forced from their homes and are living in the UK – meaning they can attend one of the live shows and help mark the Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra’s victory at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
While Ukraine won the competition in 2022 it is unable to host because of Russia’s illegal invasion. The UK, who finished second in last year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the track ‘Space Man’ from Sam Ryder, agreed to host and create an event which honoured Ukraine’s culture and people.
This ticket allocation will see thousands of Ukrainians attending the live shows and is another example of the UK’s steadfast support for Ukraine.
The news comes as the Government announces £10 million in funding to help ensure the event truly showcases Ukrainian culture. The money will support Liverpool City Council and the BBC’s partnerships with Ukrainian artists and performers to ensure a collaborative show celebrating music and how it unites people from around the world.
It will also support security, visa arrangements and other operational aspects of the contest, as well as Liverpool City Council’s schools, community and volunteering programmes.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“ Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine means the contest cannot be held where it should be. But we are honoured to be supporting the BBC and Liverpool in hosting it on their behalf, and are determined to make sure the Ukrainian people are at the heart of this event.
“ Today’s announcement means that thousands of tickets will be offered to those displaced by war, so that they can take part in a show honouring their homeland, their culture and their music. As always, we stand together with the Ukrainian people and their fight for freedom.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko said:
“ The allocation of almost 3,000 tickets to displaced Ukrainians for the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool will allow our compatriots here to enjoy the event and celebrate our country’s rich culture and music.
“ The UK’s steadfast support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion has been exemplary and this gesture is another example of that commitment. The £10 million in funding to showcase Ukrainian culture is also greatly appreciated and will help to put on a collaborative show bringing people from around the world closer to each other.
“ We are grateful to the UK Government, Liverpool City Council, and the BBC for their efforts to honour Ukraine’s culture and people through this event.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said:
“ Ukraine is at the heart of all our Eurovision host city plans.
“ Working with our Ukrainian community we are shaping a thought-provoking and powerful programme that is all-encompassing and representative of modern Ukraine – inspiring, poignant, funny, beautiful and moving.
“ We’re delighted with the news that displaced Ukrainians are being given the opportunity to come to the city in May – this is their Eurovision after all. Our team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes and we can’t wait to give them a warm Liverpool welcome and, fingers crossed, do them, the rest of the Ukraine and the UK proud.”
Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia a year ago, millions of Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, with many finding refuge in the UK.
Those who are based in the UK via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be able to apply for tickets. Tickets will be offered for all nine live shows, including the semi-finals, the preview shows and the live final on Saturday 13 May.
The announcement comes after President Zelenskyy visited the UK during which the Prime Minister underlined the country’s commitment to support Ukraine and help secure lasting peace.