EuroFestival during Eurovision: details of all 24 events announced

The British Council and the Ukrainian Institute have become partners of the EuroFestival: Liverpool unveils details of 24 cultural projects that will showcase Ukrainian culture to the British and world community.

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 which highlights how live music and performance continued throughout last year, showing in one piece the protection of both physical and musical culture. 

Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“EuroFestival will be a spectacular showcase of artistic and creative talent from the UK and Ukraine in a wonderful collaboration.  From installations and performances to 900 kites flown by British and Ukrainian children, this two week cultural festival will bring people together and create long-lasting memories for visitors to Liverpool as they get involved in the Eurovision Song Contest. This programme has Ukraine at its heart. It shows we are not only united by music but we are united in our support for our friends in Ukraine.” 

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 locations across Ukraine. 

Tapping into the 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.

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. 

Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director of the Ukrainian Institute, said:

“These commissions give a wonderful platform to celebrate intercultural cooperation and put Ukrainian culture and the Ukrainian language in the spotlight at a time when it is at threat. The more people know about Ukraine, the more we will be able to defend the free world and our common future.”

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, which premiered last November at hcmf//, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, as part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture.

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 the Everyman 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.

The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier – a huge outdoor underwater sea disco which will make its way through the city to kickstart the Eurovision Party. Working with UK and Ukrainian designers, musicians and community groups, expect hundreds of performers, incredible music and a huge glitterball jellyfish. This is a mass participation event and more details on how to get involved will be announced in the coming weeks.

The English National Opera does Eurovision is being created by the English National Opera and will be a unique show bringing together two very different musical worlds into one epic outdoor performance with live chorus and orchestra. Joyful, moving and loud, this project promises to perfectly capture the spirit of Eurovision.

On a more poignant note, Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland. Filmed in real time, this piece offers an extraordinary window into the landscape of Ukraine as it is today and also serves as a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Finally, Rave Ukraine is a collaboration between producer Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture to deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv which will be streamed across the world. This 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.

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