Eurovision in Liverpool was an astounding success. A welcoming party city hosting a party event was always going to work. Here’s what Liverpool City Council’s director of communications Camilla Mankabady made of it all.
Standing by the banks of the River Mersey, with the sun beating down and the Three Graces enveloped by the azure sky, I was listening to the most sublime sound.
The English National Opera in full voice as they breathed new life into Eurovision classics from Australia, Austria and Sweden. Alongside them, the ENO Chorus and Orchestra, and in front of them thousands of people wrapped in flags, fancy dress and the largest of smiles.
It’s an image I could not have imagined, even in the most extreme and exaggerated version of the desired outcomes for my Communications campaign.
For six months, Communications colleagues from across Liverpool City Council and the city have been planning for Eurovision. We have met, we have discussed, we have written, we have navigated and we have planned. We planned for the worst – that’s what you do as a seasoned Communications professional – and we planned for the best. But no one could have foreseen the reality that was to pass.
The positivity and warmth of Liverpool became the narrative as many journalists and influencers started to rewrite their own view of the city and its people. Hosting a global event brings with it risks, but when you get it right, it brings with it untold benefits.
Thousands of people visited our city for the first time; they will be back. Thousands of others saw our city on their social feeds, or on their TV screens, and many of them will be choosing Liverpool as their next mini break destination. Thousands of others were too busy attending the Eurovision shows to see much of the city, they too will be back, to explore our city some more.
Their experiences, their photos and their testimonies are the most effective communications and marketing campaign anyone could have wished for. There is no commercial price that can be placed on that campaign.
We’re working hard on our next steps, we want to understand the social, cultural and economic impact of hosting Eurovision in our city. Early indicators reveal that residents are feeling more positive now than before the song contest arrived in our city, that businesses prospered and that our identity as a UNESCO City of music has been deepened.
Many more Eurovision-inspired events and installations are planned in the coming weeks so that we can build on the positivity we have all experienced.
But for now, the critics, the visitors and the organisers are united in praise and thanks: ‘Thanks to all of you for an amazing time’, ‘The best production and host city we have ever seen’, ‘Please can Liverpool host every year’ and ’Douze points goes to Liverpool’.
We truly have been United by Music in Liverpool and across the Liverpool City Region.
Camilla Mankabady is director of commuications at Liverpool City Council.