Southport BID has hailed the success of the Southport Calling event as people gathered to celebrate the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in style.
Hundreds of people were attracted into Southport town centre on Saturday to enjoy a full, free festival of top quality local entertainment, all organised by the BID.
It was also an opportunity for Southport BID charity partner Compassion Acts, which operates local services including Southport Foodbank, to raise funds and awareness.
Southport Calling was hosted by the team from Sandgrounder Radio.
Eurovision themed events were held at venues around the town while numerous bars and pubs screened the Eurovision final on Saturday night.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said:
“The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest was a unique opportunity to have the eyes of millions of people around the world on the Liverpool City Region at its very best.
“It is so important for Southport to play its part in huge events like this and we were delighted to see so many people come into the town centre to enjoy Southport Calling.
“It was the perfect way for everyone to get warmed up and in the mood for the Eurovision final on Saturday night!
“We were pleased to see so many venues in Southport also staging their own Eurovision events and being part of such a diverse celebration of music from across Europe.
“We would like to thank everyone who came and enjoyed Southport Calling, everyone who performed, to the volunteers from Compassion Acts, the DJs from Sandgrounder Radio, and to local businesses such as The Vincent Hotel which supported the event on the day.”
The fun in and around the Lord Street Bandstand began with two hours of Family Fun.
The cast of Joseph from Birkdale Orpheus Society Musical Theatre Company opened with songs from their upcoming show, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat.
That was followed by singing and dancing from Holy Trinity Primary School and Choir.
Holy Trinity had previously worked with Southport BID to record iconic ABBA 1974 Eurovision-winning song Waterloo, in seven different languages, all spoken by children at the school.
That was followed by dance routines from Express Performing Arts, DBA School of Dance, and Magic Movers while The Atkinson Wellbeing Choir sang a repertoire of Eurovision hits and classics.
Next came Sing For Southport, which saw seven superb local singers performing in front of a panel of four judges (Hayley Murray, Jenny Wren, Andrew Brown and Claire Kelly) with members of the public able to cast their votes via the Southport BID website.
The contest was won by Kyle Shaw, who won the £1,000 first prize, while the runner-up was Gabriel Amundsen, who won the £250 second prize.
Talented students from Central Dance Studios wowed the audience with their dance numbers throughout the contest.
Finally, visitors enjoyed an evening of live music thanks to Southport Strings Ensemble; Coopers House Jazz Band; ConeHeads, The Kowloons, and The Frank Flight Band.
Southport BID also organised the Eurovision Family Trail, with a number of local businesses taking part.
Twelve venues across the town centre had Eurovision illustrations or activities displayed in their windows. Families were invited to find them all to be in with the chance of winning an iPad or British Music Experience tickets.
Southport Market staged a Eurovision Bloopers show, while Southport Coaster held a Marie La Rae Eurovision Special and The Bold Hotel welcomed people to an Abba Disco Bingo Eurovision Special.
The Atkinson invited people to a Eurovision Craft Workshop, an 80s Mania Multi-Tribute Concert and a Ukrainian Photography Inspiring UK Words installation.
A Eurovision themed event took place at Southport Pleasureland, while Eurovision quizzes were staged at The Windmill pub and the Southport Coaster pub.
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