Business Boost - Liverpool businesses have described "footfall like Christmas" thanks to an estimated influx of 500,000 visitors during Eurovision events in the city. Hotels, restaurants and shops enjoyed a huge boost as Liverpool hosted what city region mayor said was the "most successful Eurovision Song Contest".
Sweden's Loreen won the honours in the grand final on Saturday. But Liverpool is also a winner with up to £250m in economic benefits over the next two years, Steve Rotheram said. Up to 500,000 extra visitors flocked to the city during the EuroFestival between 1-13 May, according to early footfall data and figures from Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council said.
The city council said Liverpool ONE saw a 32% growth in numbers compared to the same period last year - with some days seeing increases as high as 53% - and more than 500,000 people visiting the shopping centre last week, making it the busiest week of the year so far.
Support Package - Arts Council England has awarded a support package totalling £19m to organisations that received cuts or are no longer part of its 2023-6 national portfolio. The money has been awarded through two programmes, called Transform and Transition, to help organisations respond to changes in the level of investment they are receiving.
Following an application and assessment process, £8.5m has been awarded through the Transform programme, to support 15 organisations that are receiving less funding than they did in the previous national portfolio to develop new business models and ways of working. These include Welsh National Opera, which was awarded £3.25 million, Dance Consortium and London Philharmonic Orchestra.
A further £10.4m was awarded to 82 organisations who applied for financial support through the Transition programme, which supports organisations that were part of the 2018-23 portfolio but did not join the 2023-26 cohort. ACE has not specified which organisations were awarded the Transition funding.
ACE chief executive Darren Henley says: “We received a record number of applications to our latest investment round, and many more good applications than we could support; as a result we had to make difficult decisions which meant some organisations had to leave the portfolio, and we had to ask others to manage with less.”
Premiere - The musical Hadestown is to return to London and make its West End premiere at the Lyric Theatre. Having run at London’s National Theatre in 2018, Hadestown will begin performances at the Lyric in February 2024. Anaïs Mitchell’s musical has won eight Tony awards - including best musical - and a Grammy award for best musical theatre album. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the musical is about a journey to the underworld and back, blending modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz.
Inspired Release - A midwife helping displaced women and babies in Ukraine says it is "amazing" to have inspired 1967 Eurovision Song Contest winner Sandie Shaw to re-release her hit song, Puppet on a String for charity. Wendy Warrington, of Bury, Greater Manchester, has also been near the front-line to deliver aid and has had to shelter from Russian bombs. Singer Shaw heard the grandmother-of-five on BBC Radio 4, saying it was "devastating listening".
Shaw's move came as the Eurovision Song Contest was being held in Liverpool this weekend on behalf of Ukraine, which won the contest in 2022. Shaw, 76, told BBC1's The One Show that "something that struck me from this incredible woman's interview was the huge amount of emotional and physical burden that has been put on the mothers of Ukraine".
Name Change - Canadian pop star The Weeknd has reverted to his birth name Abel Tesfaye on his social media accounts. The singer asked his fans on Twitter in April if he should make the change. "ABEL formally known as The Weeknd?" he asked his fans in a tweet that received over one hundred thousand likes. The name change comes after the award winning artist revealed he wanted to "kill The Weeknd". "I'm going through a cathartic path right now" he said. "It's getting to a place and time where I'm getting ready to close The Weeknd chapter."
(Jim Evans)
16 May 2023

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