What was it like to attend Eurovision in Lisbon

Eurovision 2018 was on fire – literally, but luckily it was held in a city where it could cool off – Lisbon.

The high from attending the Eurovision Song Contest is far from over despite the jewelled bodysuit being put back in the wardrobe, the Dracula like coffin slammed shut and the fireworks all but fizzled out.

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 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.

Eurovision Lisbon
My friend Phil and I getting amongst the action at the Australian Embassy party in Lisbon.

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 headpieces (Yep, did spot a DIY Sydney Opera House hat in the mix) and people were dressed 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.

Eurovision 2018
Presenting Eurovision 2009’s winner, Norway’s Alexander Rybak on the Blue Carpet- he gets number one in the cute stakes.

Check out – What it was like to attend Eurovision in Kiev

The contest offers people many chances to see all performances throughout the week. People can choose to see them perform 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.

Eurovision 2018
Moldova – you outdo yourself every year!

Eurovision is for all vision

I would enter the semi-live show loving cutesy Moldovan pop only to come out of this musical vortex and be loving Balkan beats. I also came out of the first semi-final 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!)

Eurovision Lisbon
Get ready for Danish Vikings domination.

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

Eurovision Lisbon
With my amigos at the Eurovision Grand Final rehearsal.

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!

Each host city makes sure that Eurovision fever is spread throughout the city. Besides the arena itself, there is Eurovillage. It is 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.

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

Eurovision Lisbon
A happy bunch of Eurovision lovers.

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. Eurovision is certainly an experience that is quite like nothing else!

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