Armed Presence - Drones will be restricted from flying above Liverpool during Eurovision, as police in Merseyside prepare for their biggest ever operation. Merseyside Police said restrictions affecting drones would be in place from 23:00 BST until 14 May, the day after the competition final. A "visible armed presence" was also expected as about 100,000 extra visitors are set to travel to the city.
Liverpool is preparing to host the UK's first Eurovision Song Contest for more than 20 years. Two semi-finals and a final will take place at the M&S Bank Arena between 9 and 13 May. Ch Insp Iain Wyke said: "Our policing plans for the Eurovision Song Contest take land, sea and air into consideration and these airspace restrictions, just like other security measures such as road closures or patrols on the River Mersey, are aimed at keeping people safe."
Short List - The English National Opera has narrowed down its search for a new home to five cities, after being forced to move its headquarters out of London. The opera company has been told by Arts Council England to relocate from the capital or lose its public funding. Birmingham, Bristol, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham are on the shortlist.
"All the cities have brilliant stuff going for them," ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy told the BBC. "But there'll be different versions of the ENO depending on which city we go to." In November, the ENO was told to move its HQ from London after the Arts Council was instructed by the government to spread more money beyond the capital.
Feast of Culture - Soul II Soul and Bombay Bicycle Club will play at Womad festival. This year's World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival takes place from 27 to 30 July in Charlton Park in Wiltshire. Organisers said as ever it would feature a diverse musical line-up with inspiring talent from around the world, as well as yoga sessions, dance lessons and a spa for visitors to enjoy. Started by musician Peter Gabriel in 1982, organisers said attendees would be treated to a "feast of culture". It began at the Bath and West Showground and has always showcased music from around the globe. It has also taken place in various countries in the past.
Open Arms - Liverpool has welcomed Ukrainian people "with open arms", a representative for the community and refugees in the city has said. Anna Ekvist, 36, said it was "heart-warming" to see how the city had embraced her nation's culture ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. "Liverpool people have been so friendly and it has had a big impact," she said. "To see people support and respect our culture, we don't feel so lonely. We feel part of the Liverpool family."
Picture Book - The National Theatre has created its first picture book to introduce children to theatre by taking them behind the scenes. It has collaborated with publishers Walker Books to launch Lola Saves the Show. The book has been written by Katherine Halligan and is illustrated by Guilherme Karsten. It has been described as being “packed with backstage drama, laugh-out-loud moments and references to theatre and the departments within it". A family tour will also be put on at the theatre’s South Bank home to celebrate the book, which will take audiences behind the scenes and have interactive elements.
Hall of Fame - Kate Bush and George Michael are among the artists who will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at this year's ceremony, it has been announced. The stars will be joined on the roll of honour by country singer Willie Nelson and singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow. Artists are eligible to enter the hall 25 years after their first single. Bush had been nominated three times before - in 2018, 2021 and 2022. While she has not released new music since 2011, she has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the use of Running Up That Hill in hit drama Stranger Things.
Farewell - Singer-songwriter Linda Lewis, whose career spanned more than four decades, has died at the age of 72, her family has announced. The British musician was known for a five-octave vocal range and provided backing vocals for the likes of David Bowie and Rod Stewart. She also enjoyed solo success in the 1970s with songs including Rock-A-Doodle-Doo. Paying tribute, fellow musician Midge Ure said she had sung "beautifully". A self-taught guitarist and keyboard player, she appeared at the first ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970 and had four top-40 hits over the next decade. RIP.
(Jim Evans)
9 May 2023

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