Friends Sinead Quinlan (left) and Eve O’Mahony, from Cork in Ireland, normally enjoy Eurovision on TV together. “We watch it every year at each other’s house,” Sinead says.

When Liverpool was named as host city, Sinead got tickets for the public rehearsals. But Eve now lives in Australia. “When I found I was coming here I was like, I can’t go without Eve.

“But she came over to surprise me for my birthday. She arrived last night. I was bawling crying, of course.”

The pair now are in the city for the whole week. “I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Eve adds.

French Eurovision fans Jean-Michel Juiot (left) and Jerome Dubois in Liverpool

“We love the city, it’s very friendly,” says Jerome Dubois (right), from Lot in France, who is having the full Eurovision experience over 10 days. “The accent is very strong, though,” he adds with a smile.

He has already immersed himself in local culture by going to nightclub institution Bingo Lingo, and has tickets for all three live shows, including the final.

That comes at a cost. The hotels, he says, are “very expensive”, explaining: “I have a Travelodge. Normally it’s about £35, and now it’s about £200. And it’s quite basic.”

But it’s worth it. “There’s loads of stuff to do. It’s very well organised,” he says. “In Turin [in 2022], the organisation was not so great. So no problem at all. We love it.”

Ukrainian Eurovision fans Liliia (left) and Serhii outside Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena

Flags and symbols of Ukraine are a common sight in Liverpool. The country should have hosted this year’s contest after winning last time, but was unable to because of the Russian invasion.

Serhii (right), 25 is originally from the city of Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine, and moved to London when the war started. He has now come to Liverpool.

“I’ve been here just for a couple of hours,” he says. “But from first sight I see many Ukrainian colours.”

Liverpool has said it is hosting the show on behalf of Ukraine. “We consider your country and your people as our friends so we believe we can share this event,” Serhii says.

Sharp family from Liverpool in homemade Beatles Sgt Pepper-style costumes in Liverpool

When the Sharp family from Liverpool got tickets for the first semi-final rehearsal, they wanted to make an effort. They thought about dressing as Eurovision legends Abba, but instead decided to form their own Sgt Pepper’s band.

Elaine Sharp (in green) made outfits for the family – a Fab Five including nine-month-old granddaughter Evelyn.

“We want to represent our city, that’s why we’re The Beatles,” she says.

It’s “great” that Liverpool is hosting, she says. “It’s a shame it can’t be you in Ukraine. But we’re very pleased to host it on their behalf.”

Australian Eurovision fans Michelle (left) and Sharon Stevenson in the Liverpool fan village

Michelle Stevenson (left) and wife Sharon normally host a party – which starts at 5am at their home on the Central Coast in Australia.

But this year they have come to Liverpool. “We love Eurovision,” Michelle says. “We have always been Eurovision fans.

“It’s the inclusivity. No matter what country you’re from, you just absorb it all, you appreciate every other country. There is never any bad feeling.”

Quoting this year’s slogan, she adds: “It’s such a positive thing and to be united by music is just fabulous.”


When Malta’s Eurovision group The Busker stepped on stage in the first semi-final on Tuesday, there was one particularly proud spectator in Liverpool’s arena – singer David Jr Meilak’s mum Jane.

She wasn’t a huge fan of the contest before. “My husband and son and one of my daughters always watch it together. I’m in the kitchen or somewhere around – listening, not watching, normally. They were very keen.”

But now she is a lot more interested. “Definitely,” she says, with the country’s flag draped around her shoulders before the semi.

Sadly, neither David Jr nor his mum will be back for the final on Saturday