Often called the campest competition in the world, the Eurovision Song Contest came to Liverpool this week, with tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ fans descending on the northern English city to spend big and play late.
Liverpool – which gave the world The Beatles – has embraced the kitsch annual show with zeal and its Pride Quarter, with more than 10 LGBTQ+ bars and clubs, expects a big boost from a slew of international visitors who identify as LGBTQ+. “Since Liverpool was announced [as host city], I’ve talked about it every time I DJ,” said Shaun McKenna, a drag performer and DJ who works at one of the city’s oldest gay bars. “I get everyone screaming for it.
About 50,000 people come for Liverpool Pride and that’s only one day (so this is) fantastic.” McKenna is spending most of the run-up week to Saturday’s grand final as his alter ego Lady Sian, a stalwart of the ever-popular Bar Lisbon. “Eurovision is the campest thing in the world,” 58-year-old McKenna told Openly from behind the ornate venue’s bar, currently kitted out with mega screens for a jam-packed schedule of Eurovision-themed events.
Liverpool was chosen to stage this year’s contest – with competitors from 37 nations – on behalf of last year’s winner Ukraine, whose war with Russia precluded it from hosting.