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Stock up on sequins! Aberdeen councillors approve £30,000 Eurovision bid

An artist's impression of how majestic Aberdeen's P&J Live could look hosting Eurovision.
An artist's impression of how majestic Aberdeen's P&J Live could look hosting Eurovision.

Aberdeen councillors have shown their support for bringing one of the world’s biggest music and television events to Bucksburn, as a £30,000 Eurovision bid was approved.

Anticipation over who might get to host the mega event has been growing over the past two weeks, with Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham among the top contenders.

But many in the north-east have been hoping a successful Aberdeen bid could bring the sparkle and smoke machine spectacular back to Scotland for the first time since Edinburgh hosted in 1972.

Among those top Eurovision fanatics is the council’s Conservative group leader Ryan Houghton, who introduced a motion at Wednesday’s full meeting to commit tens of thousands of pounds towards bringing the show to the P&J Live.

The council promptly agreed to put the cash towards supporting the effort following a detailed report from chief officer for city growth Richard Sweetnam.

Aberdeen Council Conservative group leader Ryan Houghton.

Mr Houghton said: “I’m glad that council agreed to support a Eurovision bid which would be an incredible event for Aberdeen to host.

“The economic benefit would be significant and it’s imperative now that all our politicians get behind the city.”

The SNP have already shown their support for the bid, with the party’s MSPs and MPs writing a letter to BBC director general Tim Davie asking him to consider Aberdeen.

But didn’t Ukraine win Eurovision this year?

Well, yes, but it’s complicated.

Due to Russia’s invasion of the country in February and the continuing armed conflict, the European Broadcasting Union announced earlier this month that the 2023 contest would need to be held elsewhere.

In a tweet, the show’s organisers said responsibility for hosting would fall to the country that shockingly ended up in second place: the UK.

The announcement sparked a frenzy from the annual event’s British fanbase, who argued passionately for their local area to play host.

Even First Minister Nicola Sturgeon got involved, suggesting Glasgow’s Hydro could be an ideal spot for the Euro extravaganza.

However, it may not be that simple.

As Richard Sweetnam explained to the council, the UK Government still supports Ukraine’s position, which is that they will be completely capable of hosting the event by the time it rolls around next spring.

What are the next steps?

For the moment though, he said the European Broadcasting Union and BBC could issue a tender document to interested British cities as early as this week “and will require an exceptionally quick turnaround” due to the amount of preparation time needed.

The tender could ask for information on venue capacity and availability, as well as the city’s capability for accommodating 20 countries along with their respective delegations, production crews and fanbases.

As for cost, Mr Sweetnam explained that estimates vary from around £15 million to £25 million, so much thought will need to be dedicated to funding.

But he was confident Aberdeen might be in with a good shout.

He said: “For Aberdeen, anecdotal feedback on Sports Personality of the Year in 2019 has been very positive and the BBC is familiar with the venue, the team at P&J Live and also the city’s credentials.”

Making their minds up: Aberdeen councillors consider putting £30,000 towards Eurovision bid

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