Liverpool-based Noah Gudgeon admits he's never been much of a Eurovision fan, but with the song contest in town, he gets into the spirit of things.

Growing up, I confess I never cared much for the Eurovision Song Contest. I was aware of its existence, of course, but that's about as far as my enthusiasm stretched. It wasn't until last year that I finally decided it was high time I saw what all the fuss was about. Sitting in front of the TV, watching national treasure Sam Ryder jump for joy at his second-place ranking, I was completely unaware that my city of residence was poised to host the following edition of the much-beloved competition.

Watch (and judge) Eurovision 2023 together with RTL Today!

In an unexpected twist, I now find myself in the midst of a Liverpool bursting with Eurovision-themed festivities. Bustling crowds of flamboyant tourists, carefree buskers, and cheerful police officers fill the streets plastered with swirling stripes of blue, yellow, and pink. Children blow bubbles as parents queue outside food trucks, hopeful bands play obligatory Beatles covers on makeshift stages, and local drunks celebrate an excuse to splurge on pints.

The buzz in town is almost tangible - even as a Eurovision-neutral, you can't help but grin at all the excitement. This must be what medieval villagers felt like when the yearly fair came around, with people from distant lands convening to take part in a festival of song, dance, food, and drink.

A spectacle of this kind was sorely needed after the pandemic. When I first moved to Liverpool in the summer of 2020, the city was understandably muted, and I get the impression it never fully recovered. Being given the opportunity to host such an important event has been hugely beneficial, and it fills me with joy to see the once-abandoned streets now teeming with life.

If you're interested in statistics, an estimated 100,000 visitors have traveled to Merseyside for the world's biggest song contest - and it certainly feels that way. On Friday, I made my way down to the free "EuroVillage," a dedicated fan zone on Liverpool's Pier Head which promises to be one huge party. I don't believe I have been in a longer queue since choosing to climb the Eiffel Tower.

The sheer volume of people was astounding, and once I had passed security checks, it became clear why everyone was down at the docks: the promise of a huge party had been delivered. Bright lights, camp outfits, and pop-up stalls filled the grounds with an infectious energy you'd have to feel to believe, with fans from all around the world dancing to live music performed on a towering stage. Flags and banners fluttered in the warm breeze of a particularly cooperative Mersey climate, and the savoury smells of various exotic cuisines permeated the air.

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone at a loose end: from the Discover Ukraine area spotlighting all things Ukrainian to the meet-and-greets with Conchita Wurst, this program is an extensive one. Liverpool has done a fabulous job of embodying the spirit of Eurovision, and you can see how much time and effort has gone into it. I feel very lucky to have it all at my doorstep.

Making my way back home as the sunset spilled onto the streets, I chuckled to myself. Never would I have guessed I would be so immersed in an event I had been indifferent towards for so long. It's funny how it happens: one day you're scoffing at the TV, the next you're bobbing your head to ABBA renditions in the Eurovision fan zone. That's just fate, I suppose.