What it is really like to attend Eurovision

Eurovision

Although the jewelled bodysuit may be back in the wardrobe, the Dracula like coffin slammed shut and the fireworks fizzled out, the high from attending Eurovision is far from over.

This year marked my second Eurovision outing. I couldn’t resist not coming back to attend the world’s biggest song contest after Kiev last year made me literally feel high on life. It’s the Olympics of singing, the World Cup of dance. Life is a constant musical all Eurovision week long but not just from performers, but from fans too.

Just think of the crowd in attendance almost like Sydney Mardi Gras levels without all the peacock feathers, glitters and high boots. Eye-catching attire has been replaced with a sea of flags draped down the backs of many, bizarre head pieces (Yep, did spot a DIY Sydney Opera House hat in the mix) and people dressing up as their favourite past performers (cue ABBA wannabes). If you like your costume party, then this is the event for you! And although country pride is everywhere, the one thing that unites us all is the positive vibes that Eurovision gives with impromptu sing-alongs and dances with new friends a regular occurrence.

The Eurovision Song Contest itself is scattered across the week with many chances to see all performances – either in rehearsals, jury or semi live shows – it just depends on the Eurovision fanatic you are (hands are up here!) I maximised my Eurovision time as much as I could with scoring tickets to three events – leaving each with jellyfish-like legs afterwards from all the dancing on the main floor.

The music itself

Who knew I would enter the semi live show loving cutesy Moldovan pop only to come out of this elaborate musical vortex and be loving the sounds of Balkan medieval beats. Or I would be in high admiration for hipster Vikings seeking to claim Higher Ground (Once you see this bearded Danish boy band, you would be looking at next flight to Copenhagen I am sure!)

And if there had to be a Beyoncé of Eurovision, Eleni Foureira was it. Representing Cyprus, the Greek pop princess strutted the stage in towering heels and throwing 360 degree hair flips with her sexually charged performance. She set the stage and crowd on Feugo with everyone singing and dancing along to what is sure to be one of the biggest hits out of the contest. I’m sure she would have made Queen Bey proud.

What I love most about Eurovision is how much it can diversify your music tastes with seeing it come to life on stage. Italian Opera, Hungarian metal to Slovenian dance numbers – music I would never usually tune into and now here I am trying to mouth the words to an Albanian power ballad #Workinprogress

Not just about performances

It isn’t just about watching Eurovision unravel live on stage – and no that was not referencing the idiot mic-grabber during UK’s SuRie’s powerful performance (She really did weather a storm there!) Rather it’s the events that surround Eurovision that bolsters tolerance, acceptance (especially with LGBTQI) and sense of global community.

Parties and events oh my!

Eurovision fever itself is spread out throughout the host city every year. Besides the arena itself, there is Eurovillage – the hub of cultural activity where people who weren’t so lucky on the ticket front come together to watch it unravel live on the screen and check out live performances too. Then there is the exclusive late-night party – Euroclub where entrants unwind with those with media accreditation or super die-hard fan passes earned months in advance. During my constant Eurovision paparazzi watch, I managed to spot the Danish Vikings one evening, cruising their way into the club and possibly unearthing the taste of alcohol for the first time – a fine discovery indeed.

Other unofficial spaces pop up throughout each host city so Eurovision is really never out of mind, out of sight or out of ear shot (thank god!)

The last song

Eurovision is living proof that music can unite us through rhythms, melodies, catchy lyrics, soaring vocals and spectacular staging. Just to see how music from all genres, geographic backgrounds and creative forms can bring people together is quite something else – and one to experience on the Eurovision dance floor for yourself.

Originally published on WHIMN as What it is really like to attend Eurovision