Let The Music Move You (Around England)
March 2023 – Liverpool is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine this May, providing the perfect opportunity to celebrate England’s musical heritage, tourism experiences and trails. Whether you fancy singing along with Boy George at the British Music Experience; joining an underwater sea disco parade at EuroFestival or dancing the night away at a new coastal festival in Northumberland, here’s a round-up of some of our favourite new music experiences from across the country – along with some iconic fan favourites.
Liverpool is United in Music
Submarine Parades, Rave Ukraine and English National Opera at EuroFestival, Liverpool
1 – 14 May 2023
Liverpool is the place to be this May. EuroFestival takes over the city for two-weeks in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest. Liverpool will play host to 24 brand new commissions set to transform the city – 19 of which are collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists – inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan ‘United in Music’. Some highlights will include The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier, a huge outdoor underwater sea disco complete with a glitterball jellyfish, and Rave Ukraine, 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. Other key moments will include an epic outdoor performance of English National Opera does Eurovision and a poignant commission from Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, who will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage, replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland as a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.
Explore the UNESCO City of Music at year-round festivals, trails and experiences
Whether you make it to Eurovision or not, as England’s only UNESCO City of Music, Liverpool is a must-visit for music lovers year-round. The spring season kicks off with Liverpool Sound City (28 – 30 April), a music festival and industry conference that captures the vibrancy of the city with gigs across different venues. Headlined by Maisie Peters, the three-day festival will also showcase new local and international talent. On the Waterfront Festival returns to the city’s famous Pier Head (29 June – 1 July) showcasing world-class talent such as Liverpool natives Jamie Webster and CamelPhat. And of course, Liverpool’s most famous musical export have their own festival in the form of International BeatleWeek Festival (23 – 29 August 2023), which celebrates the music of the most famous pop group the world has ever known in the rock band’s birthplace. Plus to get under the skin of the city’s music scene, britmusictours has plans for a new Liverpool Music Icons Tour from April – taking guests off the tourist trail – with tours led by either a member of the group ‘The Farm’ or ‘Frankie goes to Hollywood’.
Update your pop and rock knowledge at the British Music Experience, Liverpool
A must-visit for any music lover, the British Music Experience is embracing Eurovision in style with the jumpsuit Sam Ryder wore during the 2022 contest now on display. Whenever you visit, the interactive space is home to some of British music history’s most iconic memorabilia – from The Beatles to the Spice Girls – and there’s even the chance to get hands on in the Gibson Interactive Studio. Plus, a ticket is valid for a year from purchase meaning you can visit multiple times.
Embrace Eurovision with a stay at INNSiDE Hotel, Liverpool
An official Hotel Partner for Eurovision, INNSiDE Hotel, Liverpool is offering guests and visitors the chance to fully embrace the spirit of the event with a number of experiences on offer in the run up to and during Eurovision. Live DJs will play Eurovision anthems in the reception and the Gino D'Acampo 360 Sky Bar areas; there’ll be private streaming and karaoke party spaces to book; a bespoke Eurovision Cocktail menu, special afternoon tea and more. The reception will see the 'Stay Curious' wall transformed and adorned with beautiful blue and yellow flowers; a proud nod to Ukraine, last year's Eurovision winning nation.
New Music Hotspots and Events across England
Celebrate music at LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, Yorkshire
With 365 days of cultural activity planned across all 33 of the city’s wards, LEEDS 2023 has been designed to unleash creativity in a three-part epic programme to ‘let culture loose’ across the whole city. The year-long event will be punctuated by 12 major signature projects and will include hundreds of local events and activities, many of them developed in partnership with local, national and international partners. There’ll be plenty on offer for music lovers, from a World Island Presents event at Belgrave Music Hall curated by Giles Peterson (26 May) to ‘As you Are’ a free or pay as you feel interactive 30-minute soundscape walk across the city curated by Abel Selaocoe inspired by his Leeds and African heritage (30 March – 29 April 2023)
Dance the night away at the new Canvas Yard, Leeds
From April 2023
A brand-new outdoors events space in the city of Leeds opens its doors in April. Canvas Yard will be the largest open-air events space in the city centre and will play host to live music events throughout the warmer months. A stellar line-up has already been announced; with FAC51 Hacienda (30 April) and The Garden Party (27 and 28 May) just two of the events raring to go. FAC51 Hacienda will see Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Derrick Carter and Graeme Park entertain the masses, and although the line-up for The Garden Party is yet to be announced, last year’s sell out event saw some of the world’s best DJs perform. A must-visit for ravers old and new, Canvas Yard is set to be one of the best music venues in the city.
Eurovision at Stanmer Park, Brighton
13 May 2023
Brighton will be fully embracing the spirit of Eurovision with an open-air screening at Stanmer Park and parties across the city. Watch the drama unfold on a giant screen and dance the night away under the stars with the resident DJ playing the cheesiest of tunes.
Coastella Festival to debut for 2023, Northumberland
30 June – 2 July 2023
There’s a brand-new coastal music festival on the scene for 2023, nestled in the heart of North Shields. Headliner act Futureheads are confirmed with more local and national acts to be announced. Day tickets and weekend passes are available.
New exhibition DIVA to launch at V&A South Kensington, London
24 June 2023 – 7 April 2024
DIVA celebrates the power and creativity of iconic performers, from Victorian opera goddesses to today’s global megastars. Through fashion, photography, design, costumes, music and live performance, the exhibition looks at what it means to be a diva and how divas have driven societal change through the ages.
North’s new flagship cultural centre Factory International, Manchester
This game-changing, highly anticipated venue on the old Granada Studios site will be the North’s flagship cultural centre, capturing the depth and creativity of Manchester’s thriving cultural life. Representing the largest investment in a national cultural project since the Tate Modern, Factory International will host everything from concerts, theatre, music and opera to major exhibitions. It will also become the permanent home of Manchester International Festival and form the centrepiece of the 2023 MIF (29 June – 16 July), hosting You, Me and the Balloons, an immersive environment featuring huge works by renowned Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. The opening production will be Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance directed by Danny Boyle, based on The Matrix films, and presented across the huge building’s ultra-flexible spaces (18 October – 5 November 2023).
Back to the streets for St Pauls Carnival, Bristol
1 July 2023
This summer, St Pauls Carnival will finally return to the streets of Bristol celebrating African and Caribbean culture for the first time in three years. The theme will be ‘Learning from Legends’ to honour legends from the past, present and future. The iconic one-day celebration will be a fusion of carnival culture and heritage with talented musicians, delicious food, creative costumes and much more.
Brand new Bradford Live, Yorkshire
A magnificently renovated art deco building – formerly the Bradford Odeon – will re-open as a grand new entertainment venue with a 3,800-person capacity. Originally built in 1930 and overlooking City Park, Bradford Live is billing itself as a “world-class leisure and business destination” that’s “bringing the beat back to Bradford”. As well as music, the events venue will host a full-to-bursting calendar of comedy and family entertainment, making it a vibrant cultural centre for Bradford and beyond. Bradford will be UK City of Culture in 2025.
Transformation for Bristol Beacon
Formerly Colston Hall, Bristol’s largest concert hall will open in autumn 2023 following a £48.8m transformation. Bristol Beacon has undergone a complete refurbishment and redevelopment, turning the venue into one of Europe’s best performance and music learning spaces.
UK’s greenest live music venue Co-op Live to open in Manchester
The UK’s first purpose-driven arena will be the UK’s greenest live music venue in the UK. The state-of-the-art, 23,500 capacity Co-op Live arena will host international music, sport, charity and business events, creating over 4,000 new jobs along the way. The arena promises to embody the Co-op’s values: supporting local communities; offering exclusives to its colleagues and members; and generating £1m a year for community causes. With solar panels the size of two football pitches, rainwater collection, air source heat pumps and a new diversity ring, sustainability is core to its ethos. Manchester-born Harry Styles was involved with designs for behind the scenes and artist residencies.
Music legends back in Sheffield
Sheffield is known for breeding top-musical talent and the summer of 2023 is the year some of its greatest idols return to play in their hometown. Kicking off in Hillsborough Park in June, the legendary Artic Monkeys will play a duo of outdoor shows in the anniversary year of their ‘AM’ album. In July Utilita Arena Sheffield will play host to iconic Pulp as they strut back onto the Steel City scene for their first gigs in over 10 years, with special Sheffield-guest Richard Hawley as support. Circling back to Hillsborough Park for the pinnacle of summer music in the form of Tramlines Festival, with fellow northern headliners Richard Ashcroft, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, and the Courteeners – tickets still available.
Fan Favourites – Explore a City with your Dancing Shoes On
The Manchester Music Walkabout
This tour follows a route past the venues and locations that formed the backdrop to the city’s lyrical legacy – with Manchester musical icons including The Bee Gees, Oasis and The Smiths. Upon booking, every guest receives a playlist so they can get in the mood before they join and sample the tunes of the city’s music legacy names as they walk from one legendary stop to the next.
Hard Rock London Morning Tour
Explore the story of rock across London’s musical milestones. Led by an expert rock guide, the experience includes VIP exclusive access to ‘The Vault’ – London’s only rock ‘n’ roll museum. Visit the famous Abbey Road zebra-crossing and recording studios, as well as other homes of legendary rock stars and explore six decades of London’s monumental rock ‘n’ roll touchstones.
Bristol Rock and Roll Walking Tour
Take a trip down memory lane and stroll around the city’s iconic music venues in this fully outdoor tour. Visit much-loved venues and locations in over 20 stops, passing The Locarno, Hippodrome, Louisiana, The Fleece- and hear all about the famous acts who played there, including The Beatles, Sinatra, to Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Stop by Dug Out on Park Row where in the mid-80s, the Bristol music scene kicked off with Wild Bunch and Daddy G. The tour will be led by rock fan and former music manager, John, who knows all the inside stories behind the greatest rock’n’roll venues in town. Find out how these legendary venues helped shape Bristol today.
Notes to editors:
• VisitEngland’s comprehensive What’s New in England 2023 overview can be downloaded here. Password is England2023.
• Accompanying images can be downloaded here. Registration to the from the VisitBritain asset library is required to download images. Register here.