As we near the end of another action-packed year in Liverpool, we look ahead to the array of arts and cultural events already announced for 2023.
It’s going to be an unforgettable year of music in Liverpool due to the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as festivals and more live music events happening across the city.
Boiler Room (28 January 2023)
In the club scene, the famous Boiler Room is coming to Liverpool on the 28 January for their first UK party of the year. Boiler Room put on iconic events connecting club culture with the rest of the world through film and parties. The line-up is yet to be announced but is sure to include many Bolier Room favourites.
Sound City Music Festival (28 – 30 April 2023)
The much-loved Sound City music festival returns in 2023 to showcase local, popular, and new music on the scene. It takes to music venues all across the city of Liverpool from the 28 – 30 April. Including a variety of artists ranging from dark electronic hip-hop sounds from rapper Finn Foxell, native Liverpool guitar band Reginmaker, to artists such as Maisie Peters who racks up around half a billion streams globally and will headline the festival.
Sound City also offers opportunities for young people between the age of 16-24 looking to start a career in the music industry to gain valuable experience. The applications are open now for Sound City Launch Training. This is a 10-week programme that will run again in February 2023; it offers essential information to get your foot in the door in the music industry. The training course has been the foundation for countless successful careers in music, from artist & producers to label execs and journalists.
The Eurovision Song Contest (9 – 13 May 2023)
Surely we can’t talk about music events happening in Liverpool without mentioning The Eurovision Song Contest! The 67th Eurovision Song Contest will be hosted at the Liverpool Arena in May, on behalf of Ukraine. The Semi-Finals will take place on Tuesday 9 and Thursday 11 May, with the prestigious Grand Final taking place on Saturday 13 May.
Liverpool was chosen following a strong city bid process that examined facilities at the venue; the ability to accommodate thousands of visiting delegations, crew, fans and journalists; infrastructure; and the cultural offer of the Host City in reflecting Ukraine’s win in 2022.
Liverpool will be running a cultural programme in the lead up to the event, working in collaboration with Ukrainian artists, to mark the occasion. There will be several events, to be announced soon, which will highlight the city working with Ukrainian creatives, street artists, fashion designers and more to build a programme of events. It’s not all about the main event either, there are tickets up for grabs for 9 shows that week. This includes the Live TV show for each of the Semi-Finals and Final, Jury Shows which is a full run through of the show that takes place the night before the Live show takes place, and the Family show which serves as another full run through but is much more convenient for those who wish to bring young Eurovision fans.
For tickets, sign up the official Eurovision Song Contest newsletter and subscribe to their social media channels to be the first to find out how to secure tickets for the contest.
Pete Tong (16 June 2023)
Later in the year Pete Tong is making his debut at Aintree Racecourse, playing a whole host of Ibiza Classics live after racing on Friday 16 June.
Creamfields (24 – 27 August 2023)
Creamfields, the world’s leading dance festival, is taking place again on the August Bank Holiday Weekend just outside of Liverpool in Daresbury, Warrington. This year’s headliners are Tiesto, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia, as well as many others. The festival is already sold out despite only the first phase acts being released, proving its longstanding popularity as a summer music festival.
Liverpool’s array of exhibition space is being put to good use again in 2023.
Art of The Terraces (Until 12 March 2023)
The Walker Gallery is taking inspiration from art that is grounded in the culture of our everyday lives. Running from now until 12 March 2023 the exhibition, Art of the Terraces is an exhibition about football and the longstanding culture that comes along with the sport. It encapsulates ‘Terrace Culture’ and the fashion, music and art that emerged and was associated with it from the years 1970 to 1990. Showcasing vintage pieces from Adidas and other sports brands which recapitulate the football ‘casuals’ style, the exhibition celebrates a cultural scene which the traditional art world has often overlooked.
JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters (Until 4 June 2023)
The Tate Liverpool presents JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters from now until 4 June 2023. This is a collaborative exhibition, combining the works of Romantic painter JMW Turner with the more contemporary artist and musician Lamin Fofana. This fusion of artists from polar centuries creates a sound to accompany the depiction of the dynamism of the sea making this an immersive experience. £10 and free to university students in Liverpool.
Flower Fairies TM (15 April – 5 November 2023)
This exhibition is dedicated to the 100-year anniversary of Cicely Mary Barker’s first book in her Flower Fairy Collection. The Lady Lever Art Gallery will be showcasing 45 of her original, beautiful illustrations, in may forms including through digital projections and costumes inspired by Vin Burnham.
Photie Man: 50 Years of Tom Wood (20 May 2023 – 7 January 2024)
To celebrate 50 years of the work of Irish artist, Tom Wood, the Walker Art Gallery are exhibiting the first major retrospective of his work in Liverpool. Wood has dedicated much of his career to the people and places of Liverpool and Merseyside to create an intimate, diverse and knowing portrait of the city and the surrounding area, and his pioneering photographs capture a definitive phase in the social and political history of the region. Known fondly as ‘Photieman’, Wood is one of the most influential photographers working today.
Liverpool Biennial (10 June – 17 September 2023)
Liverpool Biennial 2023: The Sacred Return of Lost Things returns to Tate Liverpool from 10 June – 17 September 2023. The largest visual arts festival in the UK, the festival ‘explores the ways in which people and objects have the potential to manifest power as they move across the world, while acknowledging the continued losses of the past. It draws a line from the ongoing catastrophes caused by colonialism towards an insistence on being truly alive.’
Happiness! (14 July 2023 – 3 March 2024)
Happiness! is an exhibition coming to Liverpool in Summer 2023 and is filled with fun and humour, celebrating one of Liverpool’s iconic comedians, Sir Ken Dodd. The exhibition charts the life and career of the legendary Liverpool comedian and his connection to today’s comedic stars. Using memorabilia from Ken Dodd’s personal archive, this show will explore Ken’s career and how his comedic approach continues to be used and adopted by some of the UK’s most well-known and emerging comedians.
There are some fantastic shows coming up across Liverpool’s theatres in 2023.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (21 – 25 March)
Based on the Sunday Times bestseller which inspired one of this century’s most treasured films, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey to India with an eclectic group of British retirees as they embark on a new life. Catch the production at the Playhouse Theatre in the Spring.
Sister Act (15 – 20 May)
The Empire Theatre will welcome the eagerly anticipated brand new production of the Broadway and UK smash hit musical Sister Act direct from London. Featuring original music by Tony® and 8-time Oscar® award-winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted) and songs inspired by Motown, soul and disco, this heavenly musical is joyous and uplifting in equal measures.
Much Ado About Nothing (14 – 17 June)
Prescot’s wonderful Shakespeare North Playhouse will be hosting The Handlebards and their unique brand of Shakespeare at the Cockpit Theatre in June,for an unhinged and bonkers, laugh-out-loud version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. With music, mayhem and more costume changes than you can shake a spear at, expect the HandleBards usual irreverent, charming and hilarious style to come bursting onto the stage.
STARS (22 – 24 June)
STARS is an Afrofuturist Space Odyssey heading to the Everyman Theatre in June. Told through one woman and a live DJ, with projected animation and captions, STARS is a moving and joyful, sensitive yet funny, Afrofuturist odyssey accessible for all.
So, 2023 is set to be a huge year for Liverpool with a diverse collection of music, art, and cultural events which will see our city bursting with life.
To find more events happening across the Liverpool City Region in 2023 check out our What’s On listings.
Contributions by Eden Wilkinson & Edward D’arcy Hatton.