We sit down with Faye Dyer, Chief Executive, of The ACC Liverpool Group, which wowed the world as the hosts of Eurovision this year.
The ACC Liverpool Group has recently been in the spotlight due to its position as this year’s Eurovision Song Contest host on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. The company had to pull together preparations quickly for the huge international event at the M&S Bank Arena, but it rose to the challenge as Chief Executive, Faye Dyer, reports: “The planning period was much shorter than for previous Eurovisions due to Liverpool only being announced as the host city in October so effective teamwork was key. The build schedule was over five weeks, in comparison to the typical one to two days. We continued to host other events across our campus alongside this which was challenging logistically, but we managed to deliver this without compromising any events.”
Despite the short timing the series of Eurovision events were all a massive success: “All teams involved did a fantastic job and we were delighted with how the whole event went – not just the grand final but all nine of the public shows and the vast array of events and activities across the city region that we successfully serviced through Ticket Quarter, our in-house ticketing agency.
It was an incredible operational task and the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from both those attending in person and those watching the three televised shows remotely speaks for itself. I couldn’t be more proud of team Liverpool.”
When asked what the highlight of the experience was for her, one stood out for Faye: “Our campus was transformed into something truly spectacular and the atmosphere inside was absolutely electric but my favourite moment was to stand at the doors of our arena at the end of each show and watch thousands of excited fans pour out. Seeing people with such joy and elation on their faces – many of them speaking to fellow fans from all corners of the globe – epitomises for me what live events are all about. They are about bringing people together with a shared experience, creating positive memories that will stay with them forever.”
Now in the aftermath of the big day, Faye is overjoyed with how the whole thing turned out: “Elated – it was a huge team effort across our venue; the city; the BBC; the EBU and the government. The grand final was the culmination of seven months of hard work by all parties involved. We successfully showcased
the Liverpool we all know and love, a city that’s welcoming, inclusive and accessible to all and rich in culture and music. We showed our extensive capabilities in hosting and amplifying the positive impact of large-scale global events; but most importantly, we hope we did Ukraine proud.”
Hosting Eurovision will leave a lasting legacy both for the events industry in Liverpool, and the UK as a whole: “Eurovision illustrated how important live events are, excitement for this incredible event gripped the world. One of our key aims is to maximise the positive legacy we leave on our communities, environment and the events industry. We aim to actively contribute to and encourage a repositioning of the industry as an attractive career, to overcome recruitment challenges and skills gaps.
“Eurovision has provided an opportunity for us to contribute towards a refreshed, recognisable modern brand for Destination Liverpool. We recently launched a legacy toolkit to assist event organisers with plans on how their events can leave a legacy and will be using our learnings to continue to develop the customer journey for clients and visitors, ensuring they have the best possible experience when they attend an event.”
Now that Eurovision is a fond memory, there are still exciting things coming up for The ACC Liverpool Group this year: “We’re celebrating our fifteenth anniversary this year and Eurovision symbolised our journey so far in delivering large-scale, complex, global events – both as a venue and as a wider city – including the MTV Europe Music Awards; MOBOs; Netball World Cup; World Gymnastics Championships; high-profile conferences including Labour Party and BBC Studios Showcase as well as international medical and academic conferences to name but a few.
“Now that we’re just about getting our breath back it’s back to the day job for our in-house team of events experts. Forthcoming highlights include Pet Shop Boys, Labour Party Conference, and UK Drum Show. We’ll continue to deliver great events with ambition, versatility, pride, and teamwork.”