Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Fans are expected to flock to Liverpool from across Europe and beyond
Tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May have sold out, leaving thousands of fans disappointed.
Grand final tickets sold out inside 36 minutes on Tuesday. Around an hour later organisers said the other public shows were also fully booked.
There will be six public dress rehearsals, as well as two live televised semi-finals and the final.
Fans across Europe faced long queues on the Ticketmaster UK website in the hope of securing a spot at one of the shows.
The standard ticket prices ranged from £30 to £380. Some tickets soon appeared on secondary ticketing sites, such as Viagogo, for around £9,000.
However, fans have been warned to be cautious about buying from unofficial resellers, as the tickets may not be genuine.
This will be the first time the UK has hosted the contest for 25 years, and it is doing so on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine.
Last month, it was announced that 3,000 tickets would be distributed to Ukrainians living in the UK through a ticket ballot, at a subsidised price of £20.
Why the arena won’t be at full capacity
There may be 160 million people around the world who will watch the song contest at home, but seats in the M&S Bank Arena are much more limited.
Roughly 6,000 fans will be at each show – fewer than most would predict for the biggest entertainment show in the world.
Eurovision organisers said last year that its venue normally needs to have space for 10,000 spectators – which Liverpool’s arena usually does. But because of the stage set-up, as well as other production elements, that will be reduced.
Image caption, A mock-up of how Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena is expected to look hosting the Eurovision Song Contest
It was inevitable that many fans would be disappointed not to get tickets because it wasn’t just those in the UK grappling with Ticketmaster’s website – people travel from all over the world for Eurovision each year.
Last year’s event in Turin had 7,500 for each show, and at times that felt quite intimate inside.
It means those who do have tickets will get a close view of everything going on, from camera operators running around to artists getting points (or not).
Talk now will move to what next for those who were unsuccessful, and also who the UK act is.
What if I didn’t get a ticket?
The semi-finals and grand final will be broadcast on BBC TV and radio, with extensive coverage online.
There will also be lots going on in Liverpool beyond the arena. A two-week cultural festival will take place from 1 May, including a submarine street parade, a rave that will take place simultaneously in Kyiv, and an outdoor operatic Eurovision concert.
Image source, Liverpool City Council
Image caption, Liverpool’s Pier Head will host the official Eurovision village
Close to the arena will be the Eurovision village, the official fan zone, for 25,000 people.
During the televised live shows, fans will be able to watch on big screens there, and it’s also where some of the acts will perform on stage across the week.
There will also be more big screens and viewing parties at venues across the city.
Who might represent the UK?
Image source, CORINNE CUMMING / EBU
Image caption, Sam Ryder came second last year for the UK at Eurovision
There’s a Eurovision deadline next week, when all 37 competing broadcasters have to confirm the song and artists they’re sending.
Possible names being reported for the UK include Rina Sawayama, Birdy and Mimi Webb. All three are past Brit Award nominees, showing it’s being taken seriously. As in recent years, there is no televised national selection show.
Whoever gets picked will hope to replicate the success of Sam Ryder, who achieved the UK’s best Eurovision result for 25 years when he came second in 2022.
Most of the other 36 participating countries have now revealed their artists and songs.
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