Eurovision Song Contest ‘a celebration of Ukraine tinged with bitterness of war’

A festival to accompany the Eurovision Song Contest will be a celebration of Ukraine “tinged with bitterness” as the war continues in the European country.

EuroFestival, a two-week series of events in Liverpool, has announced 24 cultural commissions for May, including a performance by Ukrainian Eurovision Song Contest winner Jamala and collaborations between British and Ukrainian artists.

Tetyana Filevska, creative director of the Ukrainian Institute, told the PA news agency at the British Music Experience in Liverpool, during the show’s launch on Tuesday, that celebrating their culture is a form of “resistance.”

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Tetyana Filevska speaks at the launch of the EuroFestival (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Filevska, who has worked with organizations such as the British Council on the festival’s content, added: “I think while a lot of artists decided to go and fight for Ukraine, we just can’t afford to let them down and kind.” to stop looking at what they’re fighting for, because they’re fighting so we can belong and get on with our lives.

“I know a lot of soldiers…on the front line and…they’re calling or texting saying, ‘You should feel good, going to a museum or seeing the movie, because that’s what we’re here for, we’re defending the front line. so that you can enjoy and continue your life’.

“So, of course, there is a bitter feeling because we remember every moment that there is someone (on) the front line who was just killed a moment ago, by us, but at the same time, we understand that (we cannot) stop everything. .”

He added that EuroFestival is “celebrating culture, celebrating music and arts and cooperation” and taking into account the “devastating” Russian invasion.

Key festival installations include the placement of over 2,500 sandbags at Liverpool’s Nelson Memorial to replicate the way statues in Ukraine are protected from bombing, and an immersive audio experience accessed via QR codes located throughout the city that follow the stories of top Ukrainian artists.

The UK stepped in to host Eurovision after last year’s winner Ukraine was unable to do so due to the invasion.

Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew told PA: “The reality is that this should be held in the Ukraine and the fact that it can’t be is heartbreaking.

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Stuart Andrew at the British Music Experience in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“But what we’re seeing here is… the culture that the Russians are trying to destroy is actually going to be celebrated here.

“We are going to recognize the importance of that culture and make sure that more than 160 million people around the world see that great partnership between our two countries.

“So where is that tragedy, we actually bring a glimmer of hope, I guess.”

Andrew said he “probably has the best job in government” and praised the BBC and Liverpool for putting together this “amazing festival”.

The Pudsey MP for West Yorkshire added: “I would probably say my partner is a much, much bigger (Eurovision) fan.

“Usually we have the Eurovision Song Contest parties at home, usually he is in the living room watching it and I am in the kitchen.

“But it would be nice to see all these people coming to Liverpool to celebrate. It’s going to be wonderful.

EuroFest takes place from May 1 to 14 throughout Liverpool.


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